The Catholic Martyrs of the Twentieth Century

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The Catholic Martyrs of the Twentieth Century

A Comprehensive World History

Martyrdom is the ultimate test of faith, and in the 20th century, more Catholics around the globe were persecuted, tortured, and martyred for their faith than in any previous century. Acclaimed as a masterpiece, Robert Royal's book tells their heroic and inspiring stories.

This thorough inquiry into modern day martyrdom traces the stories of those whose lives witness to the strength of their beliefs.

From the Catholic martyrs at Auschwitz to Oscar Romero; from Ita Ford and her companions to the recent murders of Christians in India: it is estimated that over one million believers, more than in any previous century, died for their faith in this last "century of progress."

Royal examines the relationship between these devoted followers of Christ and their communities and investigates the political and social circumstances around their martyrdoms. A work of scholarship and insight, The Catholic Martyrs of the Twentieth Century gives witness to the truth that the pure of heart are still among us. All over the world their voices animate us by their example.


1. Miguel Pro and the Mexican Tragedy
2. In Soviet Russia and Its Territories
3. The Terror in Ukraine
4. French Prodigal Son: Charles de Foucauld
5. Spanish Holocaust
6. The Nazi Juggernaut
7. Martyr for Truth: The Life and Death of Edith Stein
8. Saint Maximilian Kolbe and Some Polish Victims of Nazism
9. A Brief Introduction to the Martyrs of Eastern and Central Europe
10. The First Atheist State: Albania
11. A Steady Light in Lithuania
12. The Calvary of Romania
13. Murder in the Cathedral: Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero of El Salvador and Some Latin American Martyrs
14. General Introduction to the Asian Martyrs
15. Chinese Carnage
16. Korea’s Death March
17. The Spirit in Vietnam
18. Out of Africa

Conclusion: Memory, Communion, Hope

Reviews and endorsements

“An eloquent, painstakingly researched tribute to those ordinary human beings who managed to meet oppression and death with extraordinary dignity, grace, and faith.”


“Essential to understanding fully what really happened in the twentieth century.”
The Catholic Historical Review


“A real achievement . . . a wealth of factual material.”


“Royal’s book deserves the widest possible distribution. It acquaints the reader not only with those who made the ultimate sacrifice but with the obligation of all people to abide by the moral law—whether from revelation or reason.”


“A landmark book.”
First Things


“Comprehensive . . . balanced . . . reasoned.”
Library Journal


“A masterpiece.”
National Catholic Reporter

“A literary achievement . . . Essential reading for anyone who cares about the Church in the modern world."
George Weigel


"This book is Robert Royal’s masterpiece.”
Michael Novak

Paperback / 448 pages
Dimensions: 6 1/8 x 9 1/4

Christianity, Religion, History
Catholic, History