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Religion: Regrettable Incident

2 minute read

During the late “Holy War” in Catholic Spain, Generalissimo Francisco Franco bound up Christianity with his nationalist program and Catholics hoped that after the war the Church and the new Spain would resurge together. But the resurgence has not been notable. Last week news reached the U. S. from England, of further friction between Franco and the church.

Last August, the Primate of Spain, Isidore Cardinal Goma y Tomás, wrote in a pastoral letter: “Why not indicate here that in Nationalist Spain there has not taken place the moral and religious reaction which was hoped for from the nature of the movement and the great trial to which we were subjected by the justice of God? It is painful to note that the fulfillment of the holy commandments of the Law of God and of the Church is not what was to be expected after receiving such a tremendous lesson. There are parishes where hardly 5% of the men and no more than 20% of the women go to Mass; nor is the percentage of those who go to confession and do their Easter duties much greater.”

This pastoral was published in the Ecclesiastical Bulletin of Toledo (Cardinal Coma’s see), then released to the secular press. The Spanish censorship (headed by Franco’s brother-in-law, Ramon Serrano Suñer) clamped down on it. More over — according to report — the Government forbade the pastoral’s reading in the churches.

Last month the London Tablet, a reputable Catholic weekly, took guarded note of the matter by printing the Toledo paper’s final, politely Spanish word on it: “We may . . . recall . . . the deeply patriotic record of our Eminent Cardinal. . . . This regrettable incident will in no way relax his activities and his love for Spain. . . . Personally His Eminence prefers to overlook, forgive and forget everything. . . .”

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