Monday, August 15, 2011

Clerics for Fascism

by Edd Doerr

Pruning one's library turns up interesting items. One such is the book, published in Spain in 1973 (Franco's fascist dictatorship ended in 1975), Daily Life during the Civil War on the Nationalist (i.e., Franco) Side, by Rafael Abella, published only in Spanish. Following are my translations of several paragraphs.

"The external signs of the adhesion of the church hierarchy is shown in ceremonies in which bishops and canons appeared with the [fascist] salute [like the Nazi salute] with the military authorities at the conclusion of some prayer or field mass to celebrate a triumph against the enemies of God. On Septembet 30 [1936] Monsignor Pla y Deniel, bishop of Salamanca, made public the first pastoral letter legitimizing the [Franco's] Uprising and giving a doctrinal interpretation of the war. Its title was 'The Two Cities' and in it appeared fragments like these:

"'On the soil of Spain today are fighting bloodily two conceptions of life, two sentiments, two forces that are ready for a universal struggle among all the people on the earth.... Communists and anarchists are the sons of Cain, fratricidal to their brothers, envious of those who make a cult of virtue, and they assassinate and martyrize them.' "[page 174]

"In September of 1936 [Franco's uprising started in July] the cardinal primate, Dr Goma, whom the Uprising surprised in Pamplona, far from his see in Toledo, made public this statement, 'The Case of Spain', in which he made clear the position of the Spanish Church. Its main points: 'The war is a punishment for the secularism and corruption imposed on the Spanish people by the highest politicians [by successive governments elected by the people several times between 1931 and early 1936] and bad political propaganda.' And Goma insisted that 'Jews and Masons poisoned the national soul with absurd doctrines, with Tartar and Mongol stories converted into a social ansd political system in the dark societies run by Jewish internationalism'." [p177]

"The tearing down of all secularist laws, such as those concerning education, will be shown by the tightest solidarity between Church and State. The new State, defined as 'ethical/missional', will make it difficult to discern where the temporal ends and the eternal begins. Religious content will impregnate the state structure so that the Church will surpass one of the hardest tests in its history'." [page 181]

Most Spaniards favored the elected Republican government, but British and US indifference and German and Italian help enabled Franco's forces to win. Let me recommend the Britisn film "Land and Freedom" (based on Orwell's book Homage to Catalonia) and the more recent Spanish film "Pan's Labyrinth".

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