The Catholic Church is no stranger to scandal. They’ve attempted to systematically wipe out entire religions, and covered numerous sex crimes committed within their church, but one of the most unforgivable things the Catholic Church has ever done has been to take part in Spanish baby trafficking. Throughout the 20th century the Spanish arm of the Catholic Church would steal newborn babies from their mothers and sell them to the highest bidder. Keep reading to discover the truth behind the truly insane rumor that the Catholic Church sells stolen babies
It All Began In Post-War Spain
Following the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) General Francisco Franco became the head of the rebel Nationalist government and commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Under his rule Spain became a hermit nation similar to that of modern day North Korea. Anyone who fought against the Nationalists during the war or who held opposing viewpoints were punished – this includes anyone who wanted to have a child. These people were known as “undesirables” and Franco believed that anyone with an opposing viewpoint or who lived beneath a specific wage line wasn’t fit to raise a child. The task of taking babies away from single mothers and families who didn’t fit into Franco’s idea of ideal citizens was given to a network of Catholic priests and nuns who did their jobs efficiently and without asking any questions.
The Church Stole The Babies Shortly After They Were Born
Rather than snatch babies from cribs at night, the Catholic Church went straight to the source when they decided to kidnap children. Directly after childbirth many babies were whisked away under the guise of routine testing and later their mothers were told that the baby had died. One mother who experienced this first hand explained to the BBC that she fell for this trick because she had been raised to believe that the church was infallible and that they would have no reason to lie to her. “I couldn’t accuse them of lying. This was Franco’s Spain. A dictatorship. Even now we Spaniards tend not to question authority.”
The Babies Were Sold To Well-To-Do Families
After the newborns were stolen from their mothers most of them were immediately sold to couples who held beliefs more inline with Franco’s totalitarian and Catholic regime. These families didn’t just have the “right” set of core beliefs – they were also wealthy. Or at the very least they had enough money to buy a child in post World War II Spain. It’s likely that the adoptive parents weren’t aware that they were buying a child that had been stolen from its mother hours before, and many of the parents actually had their names placed on the child’s birth certificate. The Families were either led to believe that the child’s mother had died at child birth or the parents had given them up.
This Wasn’t A Small Time Operation
It may seem like it would be tough to carry out a country-wide, state-sanctioned, web of church backed kidnapping; but that’s where you’re wrong. These kidnappings started directly after the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939, continued through World War II, and didn’t end until the early ’90s. Spain may be a relatively small country but it must have been noticeable to someone that children were disappearing at an alarming rate. Maybe people who brought up the numbers were squashed by the local government, or it’s possible that the Franco’s regime simply didn’t care if they were called out on their horrible crimes. Whatever the case many people believe that this web of Catholic kidnapping accounted for 15% of the total adoptions that took place in Spain between 1960 and 1989.
The Accused Didn’t Face Charges Until 2018
Even though victims Juan Luis Moreno and Antonio Barroso brought the issue to light in 2011, it wasn’t until August 2018 that alleged perpetrators faced charges. Inés Madrigal, born in 1969 at San Ramon clinic in Madrid, claims a doctor kidnapped her and gave her away without her biological mother’s permission. On August 14, 2018, her accused kidnapper, obstetrician Eduardo Vela, stood trial and denied the allegations, telling a three-judge panel that he “never gave a girl to anybody.” In 2012, Madrigal’s adoptive mother (who passed in 2016) told CNN Vela gave her the baby.
The judges charged Vela with the illegal detention of a minor and forging a public document. Prosecutors are pushing for an 11-year jail sentence. Vela still denies “stealing” Madrigal and is pursuing a full acquittal.Over 2,000 people filed stolen children suits with prosecutors.