The Catholic Church in Spain, 1875-1998

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Catholic University of America Press, 2000 - Religion - 695 pages
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This book provides a comprehensive history of one of Spain's key institutions during a long and conflictive period. Generations of secular critics saw the modern Spanish Church as a monolithic, efficiently organized institution intent on imposing a highly traditional Catholicism on a society undergoing rapid social, economic, and political change. However, the rise of liberalism, republicanism, socialism, anarchism, and intellectual pluralism challenged the clergy's view that Spain had always been and would always be Catholic. The Church attempted to modernize its strategy by creating trade unions, an expanded school system, agrarian associations, and a modern confessional press, while maintaining its privileges as the established Church of the State until the proclamation of the Second Republic in 1931.

This study examines the reasons behind the Church's failure to recreate the Catholic Spain of a vanished golden age and the consequences of that failure, particularly during the Second Republic, the Civil War of the 1930s and the regime of Francisco Franco. The alliance of Church and State under Franco, although far from being as untroubled as apologists maintained in public, began to break down during the 1960s. The causes of deteriorating relations between the Church and the regime form an important part of the book because they formed the background for an astonishing transformation that saw the Church accept democracy following Franco's death in 1975. Although the Church's adaptation to a pluralistic society was far from smooth, that it happened at all is remarkable, given the historic opposition of a majority of clergy and laity to liberalism, democracy, and intellectual freedom.

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A Church Transformed
The Church and the Restoration 18741901
Politics and the Church 19011912

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About the author (2000)

Callahan is professor of history at the University of Toronto and fellow at Victoria College. He was winnter of the Wallace K. Ferguson Prize of the Canadian Historical Association.

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