By General Franco
WTrli absolute faithfulness to
the philosophy of our hisWry, we have taken the religious principle as the basis for all individual and national order; and this, not, as people sometimes say, in an old Inquisitional spirit, nor ' with any shadow of priestriddenness, such as we are also sometimes reproached with hy those outside.
For us, the religious attitude of men and nations is a natural and logical reaction and the exercise of both these qualities, necessary in every free and national spirit in face of the metaphysical reality of God, the Creator and Cause Of the universe; and afterwards, Revelation raises us to the sphere of the supernatural and the love of God, our Father and Redeemer.
For us, religion is a matter of truths and principles, of reason and of faith, and not the outcome of pietist feelings and adulterations; of dogmatic contribution and moral appraisement. For us, religion begins with the profession of Faith, continues in moral practice, and always ends in God and our neighbour.
Faithful to that conviction which, because it is orthodox and authentic, bears in its centuries-old roots the flavour of Toledan Councils and the conclusive convictions of Tridentine theologians and is, furthermore, scented with that mystical effusion of our Saints who knew how to apply that theological conception fully in their lives, we have endeavoured to make our laws improve the cultural training and formation of our people in all the kinds and grades of education in our country.
RELIGION AND CULTURE
Any itimartial observer can testify that the cultural value of religion in Spain to-day has a place and an action in education side by side with all the specialities of human knowledge, from high scientific research, at whose head we have placed institutions devoted to the sacred sciences, to Universities, Institutes, and schools of all grades and kinds, including, needless to say, the elementary ones in our humblest vil
But as religion is not only a matter for individual practice, but must display itself in collective and well-ordered demonstrations, that is to say that this active truth must express itself in the worship and honouring of God and the good of men, the New State has not forgotten to serve the Liturgy, both in its purely cultural and in its artistic and decorative aspects.
The wave of atheist vandalism which threw down churches and
altars has been offset in the ten years of Spanish achievements by the uninterrupted restoring efforts of a Government which, with exemplary zeal, has rebuilt cathedrals and
churches, monuments, shrines of faith and history, on a scale unknown in any previous period.
And together with this endeavour to restore the aitistic wealth of the nation there has [sem a noble effort to extol the figures and deeds in our country's glorious past and no single occasion for commemorative celebrations has been allowed to go unused for the better education of our
people. As an example we have this present commemoration of the great philosopher Balmes.
To sum u,p, we have understood that religion is the basis and foundation of the life of individuals and nations, in the multiple aspects of truth, life and worship, faith, morals and liturgy, and we have acted accordingly in making our laws and in our politics, to such an extent that no one will be able to deny the results in our conduct or our faithfulness to our history.
THE SOCIAL QUESTION
But, as men of our time, we could not shut ourselves up in a narrow idea of religion. or practise a religion of fortunate minorities free from worry about hard facts. Because we are religious, we are imbued with a deep social sense. And we should render religion a poor service if we neglected the social problems which are the chief concern of modern man.
We have already repeatedly owned, without slurring the fact or wrapping up the truth, that nowadays nothing causes so much agitation or carries men away so force
fully as the social question. For this reason we wish to insist in this place on the decisive causes of this social work of the New State's. It is demanded of us equally by considerations of a theoretical religious character and by the practical claims of justice.
Religion does not only suggest to us the need for social elevation and restoration: it is the categorical imperative which demands this from us. And I would have you note that we profess a religion in which the love of God-theology-is as fundamental as the love of our neighbour-sociology----and which is the best sociological formula, because it is founded on love. Nay, more. In our religious attitude we do not judge the genuineness of sociology by theology, but the reverse: we judge the worth of our theologylove of God-by the love we have for our neighbour. And we know full well that this love is not a vague abstraction, but a rule as urgent and concrete as the very existence and need of each one of us: "Love thy neighbour as thyself." Neither do we seek a formula of love to supply and replace justice. We raise justice, which is to give every man what is due to him, to the rank of love, which moreover, to give for the sake of God. And thus, in our Christian
sociology, to the natural reason of the rights of each one of us we join the supernatural force of divine love.
PERSONAL SOCIOLOGY But, furthermore, in our social doctrine, we value the whole of man; whom we do not reduce, as the Marxists do, to a mere economic equation, but without falling into the contrary extreme, which malice has gone on exploiting throughout the centuries in modern societies and which consists in thinking that because man is raised and considered as the bearer of eternal values he may be economically undervalued and denied that share in his firm's profits which is doe to him as human capital.
Therefore the Spanish National Movement claims for workers, besides the moral values to which they are entitled as creatures made in the image and likeness of God, a maximal economic value in the community of interests of modern business firms. For us, sociology is something more than a mere raising of salaries. It is the education and training of man, his environment, his housing, his food, his present, his future, his family, his children. It is of that. wide conception of Christian Social science that our social laws have been born-with their sure doctrine, drawn from the Popes' Encyclicals, and their effieacy in practice, proved in ten years of government.
But why insist on what everybody knows? ' There are the Labour Charter, the social laws, the realities of social insurances of various kinds, apprentices' schools and social training schools, the • Housing Institute, loans. ordinances for the protection of the family. family wages, profitsharing, the Land Settlement Institute, and so many other facts, proving that our new Spanish State has understood and acted in accordance with that wish expressed by Pius XII: " May all Catholics really hunger and thirst after social justice "; and many we be prepared to make a practical reality of his desire for a juster, cleaner, and more Christian world.
IN DIFFICULT TIMES
We are not unaware of the deficiencies found: in these matters, in the promises and laws of the State, which are even laughed at by the eternal grumblers, who take advantage of their neighbours' troubles to question the greater or lesser importance of the results achieved. To apparent justice let us oppose real justice; but let us not disparage real justice because of existing injustices, which bear no relation to it. If a Stage of economic abnormality can rob the advantages achieved of part of their force, this does not detract from the efficacy of the principles. We have to think what would have happened to the poorest classes in the nation if, at times of great difficulties, shortages, and crises, those laws had not existed and a provident State had not cared as far as was humanly possible for the defence of the common good against the covetousness of the eternally insatiable ones. In the fight waged by material interests a part is played by malice, and the moral principles of a straight conscience succumb to the appetites of lucre and greed.
And more than a century ago Balmes said to Spaniards: "That the development of industry and the advancement of economic science had coincided with a period of weakening in religious and moral ideas, and those. things had gone hand in hand with materialism and
scepticism. As soon as man is looked upon as a simple product of nature, in no way different from the rest of them, except through a more perfect and delicate organism, it is not sueprising that, when dealing with him in connection with work, he is considered as a machine which must he made the greatest possible use of, without any need to attend to its maintenance but only considering the benefit one hopes to derive from it or the harm one fears from its loss. On the contrary, when man is considered as endowed with an immortal soul and created for a higher end than is to be achieved on this earth, when the body and all that pertains to it are looked upon as subordinated to the interests of the soul, then material progress is never thought of without a simultaneous statement of the claims of intellectual and moral progress to be considered and even preferred and, if necessary, material progress is opposed in so far as it may be unethical and may debase the mind."
And looking at those whom the philosopher calls " hard-bowelled men," who exist in all periods, we are reminded that their Lord and Judge is in Heaven, that there is an avenging God who hears the prayers even of the poor; that the cries of the naked, the hungry, the sick who suffer and die forsaken and in misery, rise to the throne of the Most High and that the Most High lends an attentive and kindly ear to the complaints of misfortune and will punish merciless hearts in the next world and even makes the effects of His terrible wrath felt already in this one by allowing appalling catastrophes.
But besides philosophical and moral -principles, there must be a written law, and both the State and public corporations must watch, for if the laws do not suffice unless a collective state of conscience helps to get them complied with, it will be of little avail to create a collective state of conscience, if the laws of the nation do not reflect it and the State does not correct transgressions. The ideal social state for us must be built up by the taws of the nation based on the principles of the true philosophy, on a collective state of conscience. Catholic philosophy informs the modern Social Law which Spain is bringing to life.
The above are extracts from a speech made by General Franco during the recent international Apologetics Congress in Vick