In defense of freedom of conscience

On Saturday, November 13th at the Lounge of Sant Domènec of La Seu d’Urgell, the Association of Friends of the Road from Pallerols de Rialb to Andorra, organized the IV Conference of Freedom Roads through the Pyrenees, this year under the motto: “Liberty, Coexistence and Forgiveness during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939)”.
The event was opened by the President of the Association of Friends of the Road from Pallerols de Rialb to Andorra, Mr. Joaquim Manich, who introduced the Town Councillor of Tourism of La Seu d’Urgell, Mr. Miquel Caminal, and then the Monsignor Joan Enric Vives i Sicilia, Archbishop, Bishop d’Urgell and Co-Prince of Andorra.
Then began the speeches organized into 3 sessions, one in the morning and two in the afternoon.
The morning block was entitled: “Freedom, Coexistence and Forgiveness during the Civil War in Catalonia. The Church and the Civil War.” The speakers were: Josep Maria Martí i Bonet, Director of the Diocesan Archive of Barcelona; Jordi Alberti, author of the book “El silencio de las campanas” and Pere Joan Sureda, author of the book “Del bressol a la cuneta”.
In the afternoon, another two blocks: The first, entitled: “Freedom, Coexistence and Forgiveness during the Civil War and Second World War in the Area of the Pyrenees.” Participants of the first module were: Ferran Sánchez Agustí, author of over 10 books on expeditions to escape through the Pyrenees; Joan Pous, coauthor of “Anarquía y república en la Cerdanya”; Albert Pintat, ex-cap of the Government of Andorra, and Maite Garcia, author of “La guerra civil als Pallars”. Participants of the second module were: Josep Calvet, author of “Las Montañas de la Libertad” and Claudi Benet, Tourism and Trade Minister of the Government of Andorra, and author of “Guías, fugitivos y espías, Caminos de paso por Andorra durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial”.

Eduardo Garcia, from Cadiz, told of his grandfather’s experiences on an expedition to escape in December 1937. He praised the intervention of the guides and the owner of the house of the Coll de Creus, Joan Coll, for his generosity in welcoming people into his house.
Different presentations, with practical examples, highlighted the actions of many people, who, regardless of ideology or way of thinking, opted to respect freedom of conscience, coexistence and forgiveness in the midst of totalitarianism and acts of oppression.

Finally, the third block was dedicated to analyzing the subject of freedom, coexistence and forgiveness in the life of Saint Josemaría Escrivá. The speaker was Mn. Benito Badrinas, Postulator of the Cause of Canonization of St. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer.
Acting as moderators were: Daniel Arasa, journalist and writer, and, from the Association, Gloria Gratacós and Jordi Piferrer. Ignacio Forcada, vice president of the Association, made the closing act.
With this IV Conference, the Association of Friends of the Route from Pallerols de Rialb to Andorra wanted to help promote harmony among all men, regardless of their ideologies or ways of thinking, and to acknowledge all those who, like St. Josemaria, were unjustly persecuted both during the years of the civil war 1936-39, and in the later years of repression as well as during the Second World War, when, due to the Nazi occupation of southern France, many people also had to travel through the Pyrenees in search of freedom.

The timing of this IV Conference coincides precisely with the 73rd anniversary of the passage of Saint Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer through these lands of the Barony of Rialb and Alt Urgell, in November 1937, on his way to Andorra seeking the freedom that was denied him due to religious persecution at that time.

Note .- You can see an interesting video on respect for freedom, in the preaching of St. Josemaría Escrivá, published by the Communications Office of Opus Dei in Argentina.