Torres Lloret, Pascual, Bl.
TORRES LLORET, PASCUAL, BL.
Lay martyr, builder; b. Jan. 23, 1885, Carcaixent (or Carcagente), Valencia, Spain; d. there, Sept. 6, 1936.
Following the February 1936 elections in Spain, the climate in Carcagente became increasingly hostile to the Church. In mid-May, the convents of the Dominicans, Franciscans, and Immaculatas were sacked and burned; parish churches were attacked and religious objects were destroyed. On May 14, when the Dominican convent was attacked, its cemetery was profaned, bodies taken and publicly exposed until nightfall without retribution by the civil authorities. Two days later, municipal authorities sent teams of masons to block the entrances to churches; priests were prohibited from wearing their clerical garb; and the Franciscan and Dominican religious were expelled from their houses. In the escalating violence following the July revolution, 115 Catholics were assassinated in Carcagente, including BB. María del Olvido Noguera Albelda, Juan Gonga Martínez, and Pascual Torres Lloret—all members of Catholic Action.
Torres Lloret, born into poverty, was baptized in Assumption Parish, Carcagente, two days after his birth. On Oct. 5, 1911, he married Leonor Pérez Canet with whom he raised four children: Pascual, Teresa, Leonor, and José María. He was known as a kind man, who fulfilled his familial duties. Although he had a family to support, his sense of social justice would not permit him to accept the tithe from the salaries of his construction workers to which he was entitled by custom. Torres was highly esteemed by his clients for his honesty and fairness.
Torres was a man of profound faith, who daily attended Mass, received Communion, and recited the rosary with his family. As a close collaborator with his pastor at Assumption Church, he participated frequently in Nocturnal Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. He served his parish as a catechist and social apostle, and belonged to various lay religious associations, including the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and Catholic Fathers of Families. In 1932 he helped establish the first branch of Catholic Action for youth.
At the time of the proclamation of the Second Republic in 1931, Torres was conscious of the likely persecution in store for the Church and her adherents. In July 1936, he redoubled his family prayers for peace, rather than seeking refuge in a safe haven. He remained at home and continued his religious activities even after it became dangerous to be identified as a Catholic.
After the expulsion of the religious from their convents, Torres took two sisters of the Immaculata into his home. When the churches were closed, he was privileged also to house the Blessed Sacrament. Throughout each night until his arrest, he and his wife took turns kneeling before the Eucharist in vigil. He himself also took the Eucharist to the sick. To prevent the profanation of sacred objects he used his skills as a builder to hide many of the church's treasures in a trench near the parish and in the walls of the rectory.
Both before and during the Revolution, he expressed his hope for martyrdom. This hope was fulfilled after the onset of the Spanish Civil War. Seven times he was questioned by the Committee, sometimes after being detained overnight. Yet he remained serene. He was first arrested with Juan Gonga while assisting at the Mass of Fr. Enrique Pelufo, vicar of Carcagente on July 25, and incarcerated for four days at the Colegio de María Inmaculada, whose chapel had been converted into a prison. On September 5 he was arrested in his home a second time. During the following night he was taken to the cemetery and shot to death. His body was thrown into a common grave. After the war it was translated to the cemetery in Valencia.
Pascual was beatified by Pope John Paul II with José Aparicio Sanz and 232 companions on March 11, 2001.
Feast: Sept. 22.
See Also: spain, the catholic church in.
Bibliography: v. cÁrcel ortÍ, Martires españoles del siglo XX (Madrid 1995). w. h. carroll, The Last Crusade (Front Royal, Va. 1996). j. pÉrez de urbel, Catholic Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War, tr. m. f. ingrams (Kansas City, Mo. 1993). r. royal, The Catholic Martyrs of the Twentieth Century (New York 2000). L'Osservatore Romano, Eng. 11 (March 14, 2001) 1–4, 12.
[k. i. rabenstein]