Pope Francis has recognised a new Spanish Civil War martyr.
In a private audience on Wednesday with Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Pope Francis authorised the Congregation to promulgate a decree recognising Valentin Palencia Marquina as a martyr and a Servant of God.
Born in 1871, Valentin Palencia became a priest in 1898. He worked for the education of orphans and poor children. In 1925 the Spanish government granted him the Cross of Charity for his humanitarian work. During the civil war he was banned from celebrating Mass, and in January 1937 he was arrested and killed, along with four youths.
The official cause for his beatification was presented in Rome in 2003. Being recognised as a Servant of God is the first step towards beatification and canonisation.
Seven other people, five priests, a nun and a lay person, were recognised as Servants of God for their heroic virtues.