Franco, Spain and Catholicism

GetReligion readers of a certain age may remember the catchphrase: “This just in … Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.”

The drawn out death of Franco in 1975 provided comic fodder for Chevy Chase during the first season of Saturday Night Live. This gag poked fun at the reporting surrounding the generalissimo’s death and was repeated each week, occasionally changing to some version of:  “Generalissimo Francisco Franco has been critically dead now for eleven weeks, and his doctors refuse to speculate on how long he can last in his present condition.”

While Francisco Franco is still dead, his mortal remains are providing an election boost for the government of Spanish Prime Minister José Luís Zapatero. An article in the Barcelona daily El Periódico on the debate over what to do with Franco’s body also offers a straight forward example of the philosophical constructs of European journalism and its disinclination to “get religion”.

On 10 Oct 2011 the center-left El Periódico published a story with a front page headline “Los expertos proponen desenterrar a Franco.” (“The experts propose to dig up Franco.”)

The article states that a commission created by the Zapatero government has prepared a report on the Valle de los Caídos (Valley of the Fallen), the cemetery where  Franco is burried. It is also the tomb of 33,000 Nationalists and Republicans killed during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). One recommendation leaked to El Periódico is to remove Franco’s body from the central mausoleum and re-inter him with his wife in a cemetery outside Madrid.

The “presence of the dictator’s corpse in the Valley of the Fallen continues to haunt” the relatives of the Republican dead, El Periódico reports, and moving his body would allow the cemetery to become:

a monument dedicated to the cause of reconciliation. … [It would allow the] recognition of the memory of victims, in accordance with [Zapatero's 2007] Historical Memory Law.

The exhumation of Franco is a proposal, not one of thedefinitive conclusions” of the report — which is not scheduled for release until after the 20 Nov 2011 general elections, El Periódico notes.  It further states the members of the commission deny they are being pressured by any political party, and hope their “proposals on the icon of Francoist repression would not be used as a weapon during the election campaign.”

The article closes with an editorial aside.

It remains to be seen if Mariano Rajoy [the Popular Party leader] will respect the decision of a commission created by a socialist government, which raises an issue as controversial as the exhumation of the former dictator.

Like most European newspapers, the editorial voice of El Periódico follows a particular political line and supports the government of Socialist leader José Luís Zapatero. The article is crafted in such a way as to make it clear that all right thinking Spaniards would agree that Franco was an evil dictator and the attempt to erase his legacy is a proper aim for a Socialist government. With the exception of an unnamed Franco grandchild, who states Mrs. Franco would have wanted to have been buried with her husband, no voices are offered save for those of the left.

The structure and the front page teaser for the story, even though it is only a possible recommendation, also serves to boost the electoral prospects of the Zapatero government. Polls show the Socialists running behind the PP. Raising the Franco specter brings out the left’s base, which has seen some supporters threaten to stay home on election day in protest to the government’s poor handling of the economy.

While critics charge some American newspapers with spinning the news in this fashion to advance the interests of a particular party, the tenets of traditional American journalism reject overt politicking. The reporter’s role is to establish the facts and let them dictate how the story is written.

European advocacy style reporting draws upon a different intellectual tradition. “All history is contemporary history,” idealist philosopher Benedetto Croce said — it only exists in the present.  In this school the past has reality only in the mind of the writer. He must be faithful to the truth, but truth does not exist independently. This relativist-subjective approach is the norm for most Continental newspapers, and the shading of tone to advance a particular cause is expected by most European readers.

The practical problem with the relativist approach is that it can leave gaps. What is not reported in El Periódico’s story  are the philosophical and religious angles.

The Valley of the Fallen houses a Benedictine-run Basilica. On 3 Nov 2010 it was closed to tourists as well as to the faithful who want to attend Mass. On 7 Nov 2010 the Benedictines celebrated Mass at the entrance to the Valley, protesting the closure of their church. Speaking to reporters while traveling to Santiago de Compostela the day before, Pope Benedict lamented the secular anti-Catholic atmosphere he had found.

In Spain, a strong, aggressive laicity, an anti-clericalism, a secularization has been born as we experienced in the 1930′s.

The Catholic Church was persecuted during the Civil War with thousands of priests and religious murdered, and most churches in Republican controlled areas ransacked. Benedict is comparing that era to the present. Strong stuff!

Nor is he the first to criticize Zapatero. In 2005 Pope John Paul II accused Zapatero of “promoting disdain towards religion” and said the Catholic Church in Spain would never yield “to the temptation to silence it.” The Church campaigned against the Zapatero government in the March 2008 general elections and has bitterly opposed the legalization of abortion, gay marriage and the government’s changes to state sponsored religious education.

The left’s critique of the Church has been coupled with an attack on its supporters on political right. Writing in the leftist Madrid daily El País on 18 July 2011, Antonio Elorza stated that a definitive account of the Spanish Civil War cannot yet be written because the right refuses to atone for the past. While Germany went through de-Nazification:

In Spain, this is not happening … broad swathes of our political right … have been able once again to bring out the arguments for the legitimacy of Franco’s military uprising … Of the different fascisms in Europe, of what happened in Germany or Austria, of what that political right proposed and promoted [in Spain] – not a word [of apology.]

However, in the conservative Madrid daily ABC José María Carrascal countered that for liberals:

the Spanish Civil War is still not over … It continues to be fought out in books, articles, lectures and debates with the same ardor, partiality and ferocity as ever. Because those who lost it are demanding at least the moral victory, and the winners will not give it to them. In every war, the first casualty is truth. In a civil war, the truth is assassinated twice, once by each camp.

Other conservative voices are even sharper. An editorial in the leading conservative Madrid daily El Mundo stated:

the historical revisionism of recent years, including Zapatero’s Historical Memory Law passed in October 2007, has taken on a kind of paranoid or obsessional delirium in interpreting the events of the present by the key policies of the Republican period and the Civil War – as if Spain were the same country eight decades later.

Now a Spaniard is likely to be aware of some, if not all of these things — of the historic antipathy and anti-clericalism of the left. Reporting on the religious dimensions of de-Francoing the Valley of the Fallen may very well be obvious to the readers of El Periódico. However, I believe this type of reporting does a disservice to the reader by not giving him the context and is unfaithful to truth. Pontius Pilate may have had the luxury of asking ‘what is truth?’, but this won’t do for a quality newspaper.

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  • dalea

    While critics charge some American newspapers with spinning the news in this fashion to advance the interests of a particular party, the tenets of traditional American journalism reject overt politicking.

    Not so sure about that. In the 19th century, US papers were frequently fiercely partisan. When I was growing up, we had 2 major papers: The Chicago Tribune was clearly Republican and the Sun Times clearly Democratic. My understanding is that while there is an ideal of objective reporting, American papers very often don’t live up to the ideal.

  • Joe

    Great fisking, but…

    In 2006 Pope John Paul II accused Zapatero of “promoting disdain towards religion”

    Pope John Paul II died in 2005.

    • geoconger

      Joe, you are right. A silly typo on my party. I have corrected the mistake and it should now read 2005.

  • Jeffrey

    I’m confused. Where did the stories not get religion? Surely you aren’t suggesting the Catholic church didn’t prop up Franco and that the Vatican hasn’t tried to gloss over that relationship? Wouldn’t you agree that the conservative papers couldn’t also be accused of hyperbole and misleading readers.

  • http://www.tmatt.net tmatt

    Dalea

    Most historians would say the American model was born in the late 19th century.

  • http://abitmoredetail.wordpress.com Randy McDonald

    The pretense of a rigid and definitionally useful division between American and European styles of journalism, never mind liberal and conservative styles, maintained here at this blog leaves me bemused. Just saying.

  • http://abitmoredetail.wordpress.com Randy McDonald

    “Pope Benedict lamented the secular anti-Catholic atmosphere he had found.

    ‘In Spain, a strong, aggressive laicity, an anti-clericalism, a secularization has been born as we experienced in the 1930’s.’

    The Catholic Church was persecuted during the Civil War with thousands of priests and religious murdered, and most churches in Republican controlled areas ransacked. Benedict is comparing that era to the present.”

    Inasmuch as there isn’t a civil war in Spain, religious foundations’ property are not being nationalized, no one is being murdered, and the controversial social changes–the very popular same-sex marriage, say–have the support of the large majority of Spaniards, doesn’t the Pope’s statement mark him as an unreliable commentator? If the Pope’s statement is typical of the Spanish right, that suggests that ideological community is no more reliable.

  • Julia

    Surely you aren’t suggesting the Catholic church didn’t prop up Franco

    I guess you missed that little bit of info that might explain why the Catholic Church sided with the party that wasn’t out to kill its leaders:

    The Catholic Church was persecuted during the Civil War with thousands of priests and religious murdered, and most churches in Republican controlled areas ransacked

    And by what right in 2011 can the government shut down a church?

  • http://abitmoredetail.wordpress.com Randy McDonald

    “Pope Benedict lamented the secular anti-Catholic atmosphere he had found.

    ‘In Spain, a strong, aggressive laicity, an anti-clericalism, a secularization has been born as we experienced in the 1930’s.’

    The Catholic Church was persecuted during the Civil War with thousands of priests and religious murdered, and most churches in Republican controlled areas ransacked. Benedict is comparing that era to the present.”

    Inasmuch as there isn’t a civil war in Spain, religious foundations’ property are not being nationalized, no one is being murdered, and the controversial social changes—the very popular same-sex marriage, say—have the support of the large majority of Spaniards, doesn’t the Pope’s statement mark him as an unreliable commentator? The Spanish right shares in the issues identified with the left.

  • http://abitmoredetail.wordpress.com Randy McDonald

    Going to the Valle de los Caldos, the article linked to makes claims that elements of the facility–owned by the Spanish government, incidentally–might or might not be objectively pro-Franco. The translation of the relevant portion provided by Google is below.

    “The original bill criminalizing private institutions, including the Church, which withdrew the symbols considered “Franco”, including crosses and memorials erected in honor of the martyrs of the Civil War. However, after amendment, the Church can now invoke an “artistic-religious” not to remove the symbols commemorating this historical period.

    In the case of the Valley of the Fallen, the law states that is governed by the standards applied to places of public worship and cemeteries. The faithful said that the closure violated the law, because the masses are not political acts or exalt the Civil War, its protagonists, or Francoism.”

    What are these “artistic-religious” elements? Sadly, the article doesn’t explain.

    This isn’t a case of problematic journalism, I fear, so much as it’s a case of coming into the middle of a hotly contested debate with too little background information.

  • teahouse

    What’s often forgotten is that while Franco was among the military leads that started the coup against the republic in 1936 (and ended up the sole survivor of its leaders, hence becoming dictator) he also was the leading military leader that crushed a general strike/coup against the republic in 1933.

    Left-leaning writers and journalists should be taken to task for their partial blindness: to them apparentely left-wingers toppling a republic governed by moderates is good, right-wingers toppling a republic governed by radicals is bad. It is convictions like this that lead to civil wars.

    What is also often overlooked is that the non-nationalist side in the Civil War no longer had any chance to rescue the republic but quickly but surely was dominated by representatives of totalitarian Communism, steered by Moscow. So while Franco’s rule (which was not totalitarian) indeed was bad, the alternative would have been worse.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    dalea’s comment reminds me of growing up in my small city in the 1950′s. There were two daily newspapers. One agressively Republican–conservative (The Evening Item), the other adamently Democrat–liberal (the Telegram-News). The going joke was that if the Item’s weather forecast was for clear, sunny skies–the Telegram’s weather forecast would predict a blizzard (or a tornado, or a hurricane). And actually, during that time period most newspapers were classified as “Democrat or Republican or Independent” by themselves or by news-clip agencies that politicians and business people hired to keep track of coverage they were receiving around New England.

  • Scott Quinn

    Nice post, thanks for writing about this. I would say, firstly, that you should not fear that a Spaniard will be duped by slimy leftist propaganda techniques. Spaniards are well-informed on the Civil War and, in fact, the right in Spain has in recent years done an outstanding job of publishing scholarly, hard-hitting books that tell the truth about the left in the Civil War. Several of these books have become best-sellers, something that always prompts hysteria among the left about nostalgia for Franco blah blah blah.

    Still, there should be legitimate concern among Christians for the aggressive and take-no-prisoners approach that the Zapatero government has wielded in recent years against the Church. Of course, the Church in Spain is the victim of its
    own incompetence and fighting spirit in the years before and since Franco’s death, but it is clear that the current government in Spain is the ideological descendant of the murderers and haters of the Church of the 1930s.

  • Dan

    Teahouse:

    If I may correct you on one important point: Franco’s rule was not “bad”. Quite the contrary, as any honest research will show you.

    We must guard ourselves from accepting at face value the cliches of the Left. In this regard I have often had reason to recall the journalism of the late (and very great) Scottish Catholic Hamish Fraser, who began his career as a fighter against Franco in Spain when he (Fraser) was a member of the Communist party. His turnaround, from atheist to staunch Catholic, is one of the great stories of modern times. Franco, if he was anything, was a benevolent dictator who saved his country from an enemy that can only be classified as “satanic”. That he ultimately failed, after his death, is proven by the rise of such blackguards as Zapatero. And even so, Zapatero would not have been elected had not the Catholic Church started to go crazy in the 1960s, something that has undermined the faith of good Catholics for nearly two generations now.

    Read a little more about Franco. You might be quite surprised.

  • http://abitmoredetail.wordpress.com Randy McDonald

    Regardless of right or left, I think democrats of all persuasions have a right to be concerned with the fetishization of Franco as a great hero or a noble leader. Such has bad consequences for democracy.

    Such, for that matter, has terrible consequences for Christianity. Is it a coincidence that, in the decades after the end of Franco’s dictatorship and its religious coercions, religious practice–a couple of generations ahead of identity–has collapsed to some of the lowest level in Europe? The apparent willingness of the Church to ally itself with only one of Spain’s two major political parties does suggest that the Church is fine with the reduction of religion to politics, but should it?

  • http://abitmoredetail.wordpress.com Randy McDonald

    Scott:

    “Still, there should be legitimate concern among Christians for the aggressive and take-no-prisoners approach that the Zapatero government has wielded in recent years against the Church.”

    Inasmuch as the Roman Catholic Church in Spain seems to have aligned itself fairly closely with the Popular Party and traditional conservative values (implying a hostility to non-Castilian nationalisms, for instance), does the Church have any reason to complain if the parties and groups it goes after take up the fight?

  • Scott Quinn

    Randy,

    Thank you for your comments. You take as a given that everyone is a democrat. I most certainly am not. I do not draw any link between Franco’s “dictatorship” and the state of the Church in Spain today. In fact, quite the opposite is the case. The Church in Spain began to decay in the late 1950s, as bishops and priests betrayed Franco and adopted progressive stands in tune with the times. By the 1960s the Church in Spain was responsible for leading the fight against Franco. The trend continued and accelerated with the spread of “democracy” to Spain. The Spaniards had a bit of catching up to do with the rest of the West, and they caught up quite well–and then some.

    Meanwhile, the managerial Church stood by idly and did not, as you suggest, ally itself with PP or any other parties. In fact, the Church in Spain willed itself into irrelevancy. What may surprise some people is the degree of rancor directed at the Church from the left, but any student of history should not be surprised: The left’s hatred of the Church never stops, even if the Church in a particular area has become irrelevant.

    Also, there is no comparison between the aggressive, blatantly anti-Church practices of the Zapatero government and the Church’s support (imagined or otherwise) of political parties whose policies most closely align with the Church’s.

  • http://abitmoredetail.wordpress.com Randy McDonald

    “[T]here is no comparison between the aggressive, blatantly anti-Church practices of the Zapatero government and the Church’s support (imagined or otherwise) of political parties whose policies most closely align with the Church’s.”

    Why not?

    (And I’ll note, here, that an opposition to democracy would place you pretty far outside the space of the politically acceptable in Spain, my Canada, or the United States. Consider the POV of the writer.)

  • http://abitmoredetail.wordpress.com Randy McDonald

    Going away from off-topic ideological debates back to the the original poster, this all raises the interesting question of how ideologically divided soceties can create histories encompassing divisive events.

  • Scott Quinn

    Randy,

    The answer to your question is that 1) the Church in Spain is not allied with a particular political part and 2) the Church has no authority to close down government facilities or change the law or remove statues of individuals it does not endorse. You make it sound like the Church is just another player in the political system.

    You are correct that my political stance is politically incorrect. That’s the problem in a nutshell. Catholics who think the Church can coexist with “democracy” are living in a fantasy world.

  • Ed M.

    Catholics joined Franco because of the violent attacks on Catholic clergy , Nuns and convents by the athiests in the socialist- Marxist government in Spain in 1936..Democracy is NOT the enemy.The extreme leftist agnostic anti religious governments of the French revolution, 1900′s anti clerical French Republic, 1936 leftist Republican Spain and the Radical pro-Abortion agenda of Obama-Clinton in the USA and similar groups in the UK. are the enemy. It is very ironic and tragic that thousands of Marxists fleeing Spain and Eastern Europe in the 1936-40′s went to Stalim’s Soviet Russia. There they were imprisioned, exiled, tortured and killed by a meglomaniac parinoid Stalin. He(Stalin) also exiled and or killed Trotsky, Kuznestov(Hero of WW-2 Lenningrad), 7 million Ukranians, One million Russian WW 2 POW’s etc..He and his Red paranoia killed as well as millions of East European, Baltic and Polish peoples etc… Fascism is long gone and voluntarily Franco and Pinochet gave up power to eventual democracies in Spain and Chile. You will NEVER see that in Burma, North Korea & Vietnam let alone Red China.

  • dalea

    Looking at issue, I find myself wanting to know more about the role of the RCC in Hispanic countries. And how it is different from the role the RCC takes in the English speaking world. It would be helpful to explain just what anti-clericalism is, how it relates to the Catholic faith and how it does not seem to be part of English speaking Catholic practice. There does seem to be a large difference between the English speaking Catholics and the Hispanics, which I wish the coverage had gone into. But the stories come from a world where anti-clericalism and so forth are implicitly understood which is what makes them so bewildering to me.

    Is Catholic practice regarding governance different in Hispanic countries as opposed to English countries? I would like to see coverage of this that fills in the background for those of us who don’t know much about the subject.

  • MatthewH

    Understanding Spain is a harder job than you’d think -so I have some sympathy for journalists trying to do so. I am not an expert by any stretch. In college I learned the language from Spain experts rather than one of the New World country experts, and got to travel to Spain for 2 or 3 months. Being a political junkie, I asked my hosts to explain the politics, and I paid attention to the tour guides and asked them to explain aspects of the political development of Spain.

    The things they said that might help make more sense of these stories:

    1.) Spain is not a single people. It is like Britain. The people we think og as Spaniards are actually Castillans (from Castilla-Leon and Castilla y La Mancha, roughly the Central Plateau region which was governed by Isabella). The rest of the country is filled with Galicians, Vasques, Andalucians, Aragonese, Catalans, and so on. And they have never liked each other. In 1492, Ferdinand and Isabella decided to force everyone in the country to conform to a Spanish identity defined by Castilla and Aragon (Ferdinand’s kingdom). They had to speak Castillian Spanish, be Castillian Catholics, and submit to Castillian government. This went about as well as you’d expect.

    2.) Fast-forward to the Republics. With the monarchy in shambles, the minorities finally had the opportunity to break free of Castillian dominance -and they did. Breaking ties with Madrid, the Catholic Church, and emphasizing their own languages. The Castillians (who had thought of themselves as Spanish for 400 years at this point) felt that they were losing control of their country and that soon they would be second-class citizens in their own country.

    3.) The kick-off of the Civil War was when it seemed like Castillians in Spain were being oppressed by the Republicans -with the backing of a very not-Spanish Soviet Union. This made the “we’re losing our country” vibe even worse, because not only were the Castillians losing to anti-Spanish Spaniards, now they were losing to Russians. This did not affect Castillian officers who were not in Spain at the time. So they rebelled to support their co-Castillians.

    4.) The Castillians, since Isabella, have believed in one Spaniard, one Church, and one Spain. So, once they won the war, they reimposed that system. Other languages and churches were suppressed, power was centralized in Madrid, and Franco recreated the Monarchy.

    5.) The people I spoke to in the central part of the country were all supportive of Franco, even in 2005. He was Spanish. He saved Spain from being another annexation of the USSR. He saved Spain from fraction and division. He saved Spain from World War II. And the Republicans, with their insistance on demonizing him are really ungrateful. And their descendents are proving Franco right on a daily basis by trying to divide the country on language, religion, and so on. You can’t be a proud Spaniard in Spain. There was a big protest while I was there in support of maintaining Franco’s archives in Salamanca because they were afraid that once it entered Republican Territory (keep in mind, Madric has’t been Republican Territory for 6 decades) that the Republicans and their cronies would deface, destroy, or delegitimize the Spanish people’s work.

    6.) Notably, the people I spoke to in other parts of the country didn’t feel the same way. Franco was oppressive. He supported the Church only to the extent that it supported Spain. He suppressed local customs going back to before Spain even existed. He had no interest in persuasion, but rather forced everyone into a predefined Spanish mold -which included being a specific type of Catholic.

    7.) This was predominently among the elderly. I don’t know where exactly the gap was -and I saw plenty of young men and women at the protests. But of the ones I talked to, the ones with grey hair and hunched backs were the most adamant. The younger generation was somewhat ambivalent about Franco and Spanishness and Catholicism.

    8.) I only noted 4 points of general agreement. The King was cool. The crown prince’s wife was hot. French cuisine -especially their wine -is inferior to Spanish. And the Basques aren’t helping.

  • dalea

    Scott Quinn says:

    You are correct that my political stance is politically incorrect. That’s the problem in a nutshell. Catholics who think the Church can coexist with “democracy” are living in a fantasy world.

    This is also the position anti-Catholic authors take. Prior to Pres Kennedy, prejudice against the RCC and Catholics individually was widespread. After Kennedy demonstrated that he governed without RCC dictates, the prejudice declined. But it could come back in a flash.

  • William j Quinn

    It would be a crime to move Franco, but the people in charge are the heritage of murderers of nuns and priests.

  • http://abitmoredetail.wordpress.com Randy McDonald

    dalea:

    “This is also the position anti-Catholic authors take. Prior to Pres Kennedy, prejudice against the RCC and Catholics individually was widespread. After Kennedy demonstrated that he governed without RCC dictates, the prejudice declined. But it could come back in a flash.”

    And more to the point, Quinn’s statement that the Roman Catholic Church is necessarily at adds with democracy, besides being a very dangerous belief in any Roman Catholic society (as, perhaps, collapsing rates of religious observance and identity in post-Franco Spain shows), demonstrably wrong. The Roman Catholic Church has played a leading role in helping countries, whether governed by dictatorships left or right, become pluralistic democracies: Chile and Poland come quickly to mind, as does Spain itself. Clericonationalist dictatorships are _not_ supported by Rome, not in the past generation at least. (Croatia in the 1990s was a special, exceptional case.)

    I’m not sure that anti-Roman Catholic sentiment could make a comeback, if only because Roman Catholicism is the single largest Christian sect in the United States. The American situation would have to degenerate significantly, I think.

    If–_if_–a sizable portion of the Spanish right, and the Spanish Church, does believe that Spanish democracy is illegitimate inasmuch as Spain, under democracy, has become far more pluralist that it should be (ethnically and linguistically, sexually, politically, etc), then it does make perfect sense for people opposed to said tendency to act as if, yes, the Spanish Civil War isn’t a cold war but is potentially ongoing. Blaming them for acting in such a way in such a context is just another example of someone condemning one’s enemies for having the bad form to keep on fighting since, naturally, one’s own side _should_ win.

    This leads us to an important question: _Does_ a large constituency on the Spanish right believe modern democratic Spain to be illegitimate? MatthewH seems to suggest that such is the case. Others?

  • teahouse

    Dan,

    no, I won’t go down that road and consider Franco a good ruler, there are just to many obvious deficencies with his regime. He wasn’t even good on the basis of the coalition of forces that backed “him” (actually not him, as he only emerged the leader because others died), not to royalists, not to Carlists, not even to Spanish Fascists, certainly not to Christian Democrats.

    And as Randy said, Christians should not put themselves in the box that the left so neatly holds up for them.

    The Church did not side with “Franco” out of choice but out of necessity.

  • teahouse

    Randy,

    I pretty much agree with you. Based on what you’ve said, I would like to point out that the right-wing side in the Civil was a very diverse alliance of different forces (sometimes conflicting: see the standard and the Carlists royalist): while some indeed were worried about the fragmentation of a unified Spain in respect to Basqs and Catalonians, this was not the worry of those decidedly Catholic forces. Note that the Basque country was one of the most Catholic parts of Spain.

    However, I don’t understand what you mean by

    “Clericonationalist dictatorships are _not_ supported by Rome, not in the past generation at least. (Croatia in the 1990s was a special, exceptional case.)”

    Are you suggesting that Croatia was a clericonationalist dictatorship in the 1990s. It certainly was nationalist, but it was not clerical, not a clear-cut dictatorship and was did not in particular receive Catholic blessing.

  • teahouse

    William J. Quinn,

    it would be a crime as it would be moving any buried human being.

  • MatthewH

    Randy,

    My impression was not that anyone was anti-democracy, but rather that the divisions that led to the Civil War haven’t closed. I think this is why the broad support for the King and the Crown Prince is important. The Civil War was a fight about what it meant to be Spanish. There is still disagreement about that, but at the moment there is agreement that a shared part of the identity is the Monarch.

    They are still fighting over the language, the religion, and the history.