National Catholicism

National Catholicism (Spanish: Nacionalcatolicismo) was part of the ideological identity of Francoism, the political system with which dictator Francisco Franco governed Spain between 1936 and 1975. Its most visible manifestation was the hegemony that the Catholic Church had in all aspects of public and private life. As a symbol of the ideological divisions within Francoism, it can be compared to National syndicalism (nacionalsindicalismo), an essential component of the ideology and political practice of the Falangists.

Catholics, Family of the Regime
The creation of the term is possibly pejorative, in comparison of Franco’s regime with the German nationalsocialism that was his ally. As a reading of an internal division within the so-called families of the Franco regime, it can be compared to national- trade unionism, an essential component of the ideology and political practice of Falangism, and that it was the family that in the regime expressed a stronger opposition to the Catholic family, of more tradition within the Spanish right, then renamed technocrats. Franco’s ability to seek support successively in one or another family, sharing responsibilities among them, is one of the keys that kept him in power.

The change of expectations about the outcome of World War II was transcendental because Franco decided to abandon the fascist rhetoric of the Falangists and decidedly bets on Catholic rhetoric, more acceptable to Western allies. The international homologation of the nationalcatolic ideology was made in the manner Hugh Trevor-Roper defined as clerical fascism, and it is the latest and most successful. Homologation with the Christian Democracy is impossible, whose signs of identity in the European postwar period were Europeanism and anti-fascism (apart from which it would share, such as anti-communism and the attachment to religious values).

Already in the nineteenth century, the ideas of a national Catholicism, according to the principles of the Syllabus Errorum of Pious IX, inspired the religious, educational and scientific politics of Isabel II of Spain, an unconditional fan of this reactionary pope that refused modernity. The ideas of this Syllabus of 1864 returned to reunite to the concordat of 1954.

From before the Spanish Civil War it was clear that one of the focuses of tension during the Second Spanish Republic was the division between the two Spains that Antonio Machado spoke of. Without assuming priorities, the class struggle and nationalism (centrifugal in Catalonia and the Basque Country and centripetal in the Spanish right) would be two of these dividing lines, but the third was the confrontation between the Catholic Church of one side, and on the other the republican intellectuality and what the masses could say (very little articulated among themselves). Theanticlericalism had precedents very old, at least until the convulsion of 1835, in the middle of the First Carlist War. From that moment on, the clergy, while losing their territorial wealth through the process of confiscation, inherits the role of expiatory bishops that had until then had Jews in the history of Spain; not for the whole population, but for the urban masses and the non-proprietary peasants undergoing de- Christianization and for the elitesbourgeois An exhaust valve had been found for popular discontent that displaced it to an unprotected target and far from where the real economic power is.

The recovery of positions of the Church began when with more or less fortune one is separated of the carlins, the agreed one of 1851 is signed under Isabel II and the neocatholic ones in the political system of the restoration through Conservative Party of Cánovas del Castillo. The purification of the most liberal conspiracy of the University that was forced to found the Institución Libre de Enseñanza to exercise their freedom of professorship, indicates in what state was the intellectual landscape: radicalized among ultra-Catholics (Marcelino Menéndez and Pelayo) and freethinkers (Francisco Giner de los Ríos). Since the late nineteenth century the social doctrine of the Church is applied unevenly, which seeks the framing of the Catholic workers and small rural owners to contain the progress of unions and class parties.

Already in the 20th century, an active Catholic journalism (Ángel Herrera Oria, El Debate) put a powerful means of communication at the service of his message. In 1935 appears the Ya, newspaper of the Catholic Publishing House, that from its head shows the impatience of this mighty movement. It will be the Catholic newspaper throughout the Franco regime. The right took advantage with anti – clericalism ability of the Second Spanish Republic: both sovereign and secular politics (dissolution of the Society of Jesus, secular education), such as cases of violenceanticlerical (fires, profanations, attacks against religious); to remove the majority of Catholics from support to the Republic. It was interpreted that the relative majority of CEDA in the 1933 elections, which women voted for the first time, had to do with it.

The tight majority of the Popular Front in the Spanish general elections of 1936, and the revival of violence, which was extraordinarily intensified with the outbreak of the military uprising, gave a definitive push because the majority of Catholics from all over Spain (with the notable exception of Guipúzcoa and Vizcaya) would support the insurrectionists. The murders of clergymen (most bishops among them) and the more or less spontaneous destruction of buildings and all kinds of religious art provided arguments and images that were of great value to the national side. Symbol of all this, the firing of the Monument to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which reignedin the geographical center of Spain. Thousands of national soldiers carried on their hearts a stamp saying: Stop the bullet, the Sacred Heart of Jesus is with me!. It was a life or death fight. Many of the surviving bishops are allowed to see their arms raised in Falangist greeting, to show their support for Franco. One of the most active is Cardinal Gomá, editor of a definitive text: the Collective Letter of the Spanish Episcopate. The national uprising had become a Crusade, and Franco, providential man, in the new Don Pelayo.

he Catholics, family of the regime
The origin of the term is not clear, whether it was as a pejorative expression or as a defense of religious restoration, and that it did not have a literary use extended until the 1960s, to refer to characteristics that marked much more the previous period of the Franco regime than to the later, in which they moderated. Whatever it was, in both cases it implied two obvious analogies: towards the outside, the comparison of the Franco regime with the German National Socialism that was its ally during the Spanish Civil War and the beginning of the Second World War; towards the interior, as a reading of an internal division within the so-called Franco families, was compared to thenational syndicalism, essential component of the ideology and political practice of Falangism, and that was the family that within the regime manifested a stronger opposition to the Catholic family, more tradition within the Spanish right, then renamed as technocrats, especially those from the Opus Dei. Franco’s ability to support himself successively in one or another family, sharing responsibilities among them, is one of the keys that kept him in power.

The change of expectations about the outcome of the Second World War, was crucial for Franco to decide to abandon the fascist rhetoric of the Falangists and bet decisively on Catholic rhetoric, more acceptable to the Western allies.

The international homologation of the national-Catholic ideology has to be done to what Hugh Trevor-Roper has defined as clerical fascism, being the latest and most successful of these. The homologation with the Christian democracy is impossible, whose signs of identity in the European post-war era were Europeanism and antifascism (apart from those that it would share, such as anti-communism and the attachment to religious values). Today the doctrinal principles of National Catholicism are represented in number 2105 of the current Catechism of the Catholic Church.

For the Empire toward God
With such slogans, the harsh post – war period of twenty years passed – until 1959 – that Franco was steadily gaining international recognition, with the invaluable support of the Vatican, which in 1953 obtained an extremely favorable Concordat. The catholic is the official religion, with the others relegated to the private sphere. The state puts the clergy on the payroll and gives the Church a very wide exemption of taxes. They are provided practically free hands in education, which becomes an inverted image of the lay school of the Republic (see El florido pensil). The teachers, an equivalent figure in the repression of the national side of the cares in the red side, had undergone a difficult debugging after the war by the Commission of Culture and Education of the Technical Council of the State presided over by the catholic José Mª Pemán. In return, Franco inherits from the Catholic Monarchy the right of presentation of bishops and the custom of entering lower pallium in the temples. In the currencies its efigie appears surrounded by the expression: Caudillo of Spain by the Grace of God. Characteristic temples were erected, serving as an example the Basilica of the Valley of the Fallen (Franco’s tomb), the Basilica of the Macarena in Seville, which was the tomb of Queipo de Llano, or the Sacred Heart Monument of San Juan from Aznalfarache in Seville that was funeral monument of Cardinal Segura and his relatives, and many others throughout Spain.

Institutions and people close to the Catholic family (for example, the Popular Bank) or Opus Dei experience unprecedented social and economic success. As with the parties that supported the coup d’état of July 18, 1936 (part of CEDA, Traditionalism, JONS, Spanish Falange) the National Movement was formed (with the acronyms FET and the JONS), the unification of the Catholic groups of the Second Republic (National Catholic Association of Propagandists) was sought in Catholic Action, which will be widely surpassed in influence in the fifties by Opus Dei, a controversial personal prelature founded by Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer. Society is re-centralized either gradually or forcefully. Thousands of children and young people who have not been baptized in previous years, will be now, since for various administrative procedures, a christening certificate is required. Married civil settlements are declared invalid, and divorces. It is the time of late or early vocations (thousand annual priests between 1954 and 1956), eternal and chaste celebrations, radio serials and moral censorship in films and books. That Gildawearing a glove dancing was a scandal of apocalyptic proportions. It is a good reflection the essay by Carmen Martín Gaite, Amorous uses of the Spanish postwar period (1987).

Nevertheless, in the triumph the weakness is hidden. In the closed post-war Spain, the purity of faith and customs could be firmly maintained. The same agreement gave the trigger for the opening of the regime abroad, which began in 1953 with the signing of agreements with the United States. The technocrats of Opus Dei in power modernize the economy, which consequently leads to the corruption of customs and traditional morality. Some consider the 1952 Eucharistic Congress of Barcelona as the culminating moment of the nationalcatolic spirit.

The aggiornamento
From the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic church moves away from the Franco regime. Bishops like Vicent Enrique and Tarancón run a process that will end up with a special jail full of opposition priests to the regime and a Basque nationalist bishop (Antonio Añoveros Ataún) virtually declared non-grateful person. The social changes experienced during the forty years of the Franco regime had once again pushed away many faithful from the churches and cleared the seminaries. The basic Christian movements, ideologically close to the theology of liberationwhich began to be formulated in Latin America by local and other priests from Spain, showed opposition to the regime no less radical than those of the illegal left parties, and just like the vertical unions were used by the Workers’ Commissions, They hosted the activities of many opponents. The Catholic Action (HOAC, JOC, JEC…), the Scouting Catholic and other Christian movements had been separated from the official positions of the National Movement, especially in Catalonia. Of its members, many of the cadres of the unions (CCOO, USO, UGT…) and opposition political organizations (PSUC, Red Flag, FOC, MSC, UDC…). However, there were still ultra-Catholic groups, with the presence of bishops such as Guerra Campos, which can be included in the so-called bunker with the Federation of Ex-combatants and the most immobilistic part of the National Movement, which attempts to prevent a transition to democracy to the death of Franco.

Some, like the Guerrillas of Christ the King, resorted to violence against opposition demonstrations and even attacked bookstores that used the timid opening to elude censorship.

The new agreement (signed before the constitution and constitutionality debated) and the 1978 constitution, define Spain as an aconfessional state and recognize the Catholic Church as an institution with which the state must have a special relationship, especially in educational issues. Beyond the reproaches of the most conservative part of the clergy, who denounced that the word God was not in the text, the Constitution marks another turning point in the relationship between the Church and the State. As of this moment, and under governments of different sign, the Church institution begins to function as a very influential lobby that aims to curb legislative changes (divorce, abortion,contraceptives, homosexual marriage, gender identity law) or encourage them (educational concerts).

The most conservative attitudes of active bishops during the period of the pontificate of John Paul II, such as Cardinal Antonio María Rouco Varela, who hegemonicates the Spanish Episcopal Conference (CEE), explain an intensification of the Church’s pressure on the government, whether it be It was from the Partido Popular as if it were from the PSOE. The teaching laws and the role of the subject of religion, and the defense of the Catholic conception of the family, are the most sensitive issues that fostered macro-manifestations in the years 2005 and 2006. Less religious affairs, such as territorial debate and the negotiations of the Zapatero governmentWith ETA they have not been alienated from this. It was also a thorny matter the financing, which provisionally, but without any government proposing to suspend it, depends on a tax allocation extracted from the Income Tax IRPF and that taxpayers can mark in their declaration. It is never enough to cover the needs of the Church and must be supplemented with other state funds.

National Catholicism in other countries
In the France of the 1920s, the National Catholic Federation of Édouard Castelnau had already advanced a similar model. 6 Although it reached one million members in 1925, it had a short life and in practice never reached real importance; by 1930 it had practically disappeared.

During the 1930s and 1940s, the Croatian Ustaše movement of Ante Pavelić exhibited a similar ideology, though it has received other denominations, including ” political Catholicism ” and “Catholic Croatism.” Other countries in Central and Eastern Europe had other movements Franco similar inspiration combining Catholicism with nationalism, as was the case in Austria, Poland, Lithuania and Slovakia.

In Argentina, its main means of propaganda was the Cabildo Magazine, currently directed by Antonio Caponnetto, with a marked xenophobic and anti-Semitic editorial line. The dictator Jose Felix Uriburu, Pedro Eugenio Aramburu were identified as nacionalcatolicos.

In other cases it is used as a justification to commit crimes or usurp the power of “Divine Law”, as exemplified by the dictatorship of Pedro Eugenio Aramburú, which he used as a justification for his power in the “Providential Connotations” that he possessed, to justify the usurpation of power through a Coup d’Etat, while Francisco Franco, like Aramburu, believed that he was an envoy of God on earth and was awarded the title of “Caudillo de España por la Gracia de Dios”.

Source from Wikipedia