American Catholics and the Spanish “National-Catholic” Dictatorship

November 29, 2018
12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Location: Berkley Center Third Floor Conference Room Map

One specific aspect of Francisco Franco’s dictatorial rule (1939-1975) particularly impacted American sensitivity: its suppression of religious freedom for the tiny Spanish Protestant minority. This specific decision outraged Protestants and secularists in America, but, more meaningfully, mortified Catholics, as they were struggling with the American ideals of religious freedom and church-state separation. In this lecture, Rafael Escobedo, a Berkley Center visiting researcher from Spain, analyzed the features of Franco’s regime, including its strict adherence to Catholicism. He argued that the term “National-Catholicism” was not a serious attempt to define the regime, but rather a joke that eventually (particularly in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s) became sociopolitically evident as Spain became a quintessential Catholic dictatorship. 

In his presentation Escobedo offered a broader perspective on the evolution of religion in Spain during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, describing how Catholicism became a core element of the Francoist regime and eventually contributed to its dissolution and transition into a democratic system. Lunch was provided. 

This event was sponsored by the Religion, Ethics, and World Affairs Certificate Program.

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