Families at War


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This is the true story of Juan Francisco Cortes from his birth in 1904 to his death in 1938 towards the end of the Spanish Civil War. In a village called Abdet about 25 km from Benidorm in southern Spain, a young couple, Felipe and Maria fall in love and as a result of their passions Maria becomes pregnant. Their parents and immediate family are horrified, as the young couple are not married. They turn to the church for advice, and Maria is sent to live with an aunt far from her home while Felipe is banished to the city of Valencia and set to work for a gang master.
Maria’s child is born, a young boy, but before Maria has a chance to name him he is stolen in the middle of the night. A paid employee of the Catholic Church takes the boy to the outskirts of a village some distance from Abdet and abandons the child where he knows he is likely to be found.
The church has convinced Maria and Emilio’s parents that it is the only way to preserve the family’s honour.
The boy is found suspended from an olive tree tucked up in a wicker basket. He is found by Vicente Cortes Ortuño who takes him back to the village and to his wife Fatima.
In time Vincent and Fatima formally adopt the boy and name him Juan Francisco Cortes.
In Valencia, after a couple of years Felipe escapes from his life of slavery and returns to Abdet to be with Maria. They spend the next twelve years searching for their lost son.
Juan Francisco Cortes is now a young man and ironically a priest with the Church as Civil War looms and he is posted to Seville to become one of Franco’s mobile blessing squad giving the last rights to those about to be executed by firing squad.
Towards the end of the Spanish Civil War Juan Francisco Cortes loses faith in the organisation he has dedicated his life to. Juan Francisco Cortes has been controlled for too long. He speaks out against the corruption and the way the church control the people from the cradle to grave. He tells of his disgust at the way they remove every last peseta from the pocket of the poor peasant. He questions the very existence of God and regrets his vow of chastity as he meets and falls in love with a beautiful woman.
Juan Francisco’s enemies are building by the day and local tongues are wagging and there are several men who believe the priest has stepped out of line once too often.

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Ken Scott







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