Dilectissima Nobis: On Oppression Of The Church Of Spain is an encyclical issued by Pope Pius XI on June 3, 1933 in which he decried persecution of the Church in Spain, specifically naming the expropriation of all Church buildings, episcopal residences, parish houses, seminaries and monasteries. He protested 'serious offences committed against the Divine Majesty, with the numerous violations of His sacrosanct rights and with so many transgressions of His Laws,- we have sent heaven fervent prayers asking God to pardon the offences against Him.'
The Republican government which had come to power in Spain in 1931 was strongly anti-Catholic, secularising education, prohibiting religious education in the schools, and expelling the Jesuits from the country. The Spanish Constitution of 1931 was marked by the deprivation of the rights of Catholics. By law, the Church's properties became property of the Spanish State, to which the Church had to pay rent and taxes in order to continuously use these properties. "Thus the Catholic Church is compelled to pay taxes on what was violently taken from her" The encyclical also denounced that religious vestments, liturgical instruments, statues, pictures, vases, gems and similar objects necessary for worship were expropriated as well.  It condemned the expropriation of all private Catholic schools from Religious Orders and Congregations for the purpose of creating solely secular schools there instead. 
Pope Pius XI, who faced similar persecutions in the USSR and Mexico, called on Spanish Catholics to defend themselves against the persecution with all legal means. He had previously condemned similar destructive forces in the encyclical Quas Primas (1925).
The encyclical pointed to greed as a motivation for the theft of the Church's artistic treasures and indicated that the government showed no regard for the dignity of country's faithful and their attachment to these religious works of art.
Although the government was heavily criticised, the Pope noted: "Universally known is the fact that the Catholic Church is never bound to one form of government more than to another, provided the Divine rights of God and of Christian consciences are safe."  The encyclical called the acts of the Spanish government an "offense not only to Religion and the Church, but also to those declared principles of civil liberty on which the new Spanish regime declares it bases itself." 
- Payne, Stanley G. A History of Spain and Portugal, Vol. 2, Ch. 25, p. 632 (Print Edition: University of Wisconsin Press, 1973) (LIBRARY OF IBERIAN RESOURCES ONLINE Accessed May 30, 2007)
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