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Adam Nettina is a freelance writer and graduate student studying creative writing at Abilene Christian University.


  1. Adam: It isn’t “absolution” of the monarchy. It’s “abolition.” Eighth paragraph of the main body of your piece.

  2. I think what is missing, from what is here a good review of early 20th century Spanish history and a well-thought out parallel with today’s situation, is an acknowledgement of the fact that the Church had been for the longest time, an ally and source of legitimacy for what was an undoubtedly repressive monarchy and nobility. The reason for republican hatred of the Church was not simple satanic inspiration (though there was a lot of that, true) but also historical and political reasons. The Church had supported landlords, monarchists and later on, the Nationalists and it cannot be denied that before the republic, the Church supported or was indifferent to, the oppressive status quo that had only benefited the few. It would be fair also to note that CEDA, the Catholic party, wasn’t the most democratic thing either. When it won the elections in 1933, it either stalled or cancelled the much needed reforms that the leftists had previously instituted and actively sought to neutralize trade unions and land reform. And it shouldn’t be left out that before the civil war the conservatives, monarchists and reactionaries, who were supported by the Church, also had paramilitary groups that participated in the violence.

    Fr Hilari Raguer writes: “On the outbreak of Spanish Civil War the great majority, that is to say nearly the entire hierarchy of the Spanish Church, and nearly all the prominent among the laity, not only did nothing to restrain the conflict but spurred it on by joining almost en bloc one of the two sides, the side that ended by being the victor, and by demonizing whoever was working for peace. The Spanish Church heated up the atmosphere before it started and added fuel to the flames afterwards.” (Gunpowder and Incense, p.209)
    The Archbishop of Toledo and Seville, Pedro Cardinal Segura, was the most solid integrist out there and opposed separation of Church and state and was only one of the many among the hierarchy who supported king and the right but never called out for the needed changes- they served to ossify the economic and political status quo.

    The lesson that history teaches us is that for the most part, the Church had sided with the wrong people- nobility, the elite, landowners, fascists and reactionaries. Also that if the Church does not want to be destroyed or be forced into supporting people like Franco again then it must be a prophetic and active voice against oppressive and backward social institutions and work towards a transformation of the status quo, which we cannot deny is something more affront to its faith than the “godless atheists” of the left. I’m not saying lets vote Democrat this elections and join the bandwagon of the progressives. What I’m saying is that if the Church cannot stand out as a separate and radical force in the spheres of the political and socio-economic, if it will remain cloistered in singular “moral issues” and do nothing to strike at more pressing problems and the roots of society’s decline then it will again, at a time of extreme crisis, be forced to back some party- be it the GOP (and lets face it, their no better than the Democrats) or something akin to the Nationalists- which it will then regret because those parties turn out to have just as much blood on their hands as the opposing parties.

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