September 18, 2014
Karl J Trybus @The Central
The Rosary, the Republic, and the Right: Spain and the Vatican Hierarchy, 1931-1939 works to establish a nuanced view of the actions of the Vatican hierarchy in relation to Spain’s tumultuous Second Republican and Civil War periods. With the assistance of Secret Vatican Archival materials, this work aims to highlight the differences between the publicly understood goals of the Spanish Catholic hierarchy—which wanted the Republic to fall and conservatives to control the Spanish state, from the Vatican hierarchy—which faced severe pressures from a variety of actors. Internal Vatican materials show the complexity of the relationships between the Holy See and the Republican and Rebel governments at various points through this period. Private communications amongst Church and State representatives help to highlight the awkward and often problematic position facing the Vatican hierarchy in relationship to Spain. The Holy See did try to find possible solutions during the turmoil, but it was the Spanish Right that rejected peace and reminded the Holy See of the imaginary crusade launched against an invented dangerous atheistic horde. In the end, the Vatican remained publicly silent, but pressures placed upon its leadership by outside sources forced the Church’s hand more than many might have previously understood.
The following extract is from Chapter 8 “Bombings and Civilians: Rebel Rejection of Mediation.” In this chapter, Vatican sources are used to highlight the private lines of communication used by the Holy See to see if any form of a negotiated peace settlement or even brief truce could be established in late 1938, as the Republican cause seemed doomed. As this portion shows, the Holy See did attempt to end some bloodshed, but even the Vatican hierarchy understood that any power to stop this violence rested solely in the hands of the Rebels—and they did not want peace. Read more of this post