An image of Christ the King, with the expression "I Shall Reign in Spain" (Spanish: Reinaré en España) inscribed.
At 150 metres (490 ft), the crucifix at the Valle de los Caídos, built in 1940–59, is the world's tallest.[1][2]

National Catholicism (Spanish: nacionalcatolicismo) was part of the ideological identity of Francoism, the political system through which the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco governed the Spanish State between 1939 and 1975.[3] Its most visible manifestation was the hegemony that the Catholic Church had in all aspects of public and private life.[3] As a symbol of the ideological divisions within Francoism, it can be contrasted to national syndicalism (Spanish: nacionalsindicalismo), an essential component of the ideology and political practice of the Falangists.


See also: First Francoism

The invention of the term is attributed to the Jesuit and historian Alfonso Álvarez Bolado, who gave the term a scientific nuance and whose articles were compiled by the publishing house Cuadernos para el Diálogo in 1976,[4] before, the term was used more informally. In France, a similar model of National Catholicism was advanced by the Fédération Nationale Catholique formed by General Édouard Castelnau.[5] Although it reached one million members in 1925, it was of short-lived significance, subsiding into obscurity by 1930.[6]

In Spain, the Francoist State initiated a project in 1943 to reform the university. It was called the University Regulatory Law (U.R.L.), which remained active until 1970.[7]

Valle de los Caídos in El Escorial, exemplary building of the Francoist era-style.

The U.R.L. represented the clearest politicization of the university in the service of the new regime's National-Catholic precepts. While there was no explicit exclusion of women from higher learning, their presence at the university level was discouraged and not recognized during the two first decades of the regime.[7]

In the 1930s and 1940s, Ante Pavelić's Croatian Ustaše movement espoused a similar ideology,[8] although it has been called other names, including "political Catholicism" and "Catholic Croatism".[9] Other countries in central and eastern Europe where similar movements of Francoist inspiration combined Catholicism with nationalism include Austria, Poland, Lithuania and Slovakia.[10]

See also


  1. ^ "El Valle de los Caídos explicado a quienes no saben qué es". 8 May 2017.
  2. ^ "World's Top 19 Largest Crosses (Reach High for the Sky!) - Miratico". 3 April 2015.
  3. ^ a b García-Fernández, Mónica (February 2022). "From National Catholicism to Romantic Love: The Politics of Love and Divorce in Franco's Spain". Contemporary European History. 31 (1, Special Issue: The Contemporary European History Prize). Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press: 2–14. doi:10.1017/S0960777321000515. ISSN 1469-2171.
  4. ^ Raguer (1976). El experimento del nacionalcatolicismo, 1939-1975 (in Spanish). Cuadernos para el Diálogo. p. 547.
  5. ^ Frank Tallett (2003). Catholicism in Britain & France Since 1789. Continuum International Publishing Group. pp. 152–154. ISBN 978-1-85285-100-2.
  6. ^ Maurice Larkin (2002). Religion, Politics and Preferment in France since 1890: La Belle Epoque and its Legacy. Cambridge University Press. p. 157. ISBN 978-0-521-52270-0.
  7. ^ a b Victoria Lorée Enders; Pamela Beth Radcliff (1999). "Gender Relations in the Francoist University". Constructing Spanish Womanhood: Female Identity in Modern Spain. SUNY Press. p. 59. ISBN 079144029X.
  8. ^ Stanley G. Payne (1996). A History of Fascism, 1914–1945. University of Wisconsin Pres. p. 406. ISBN 978-0-299-14873-7.
  9. ^ John R. Lampe (2004). Ideologies and National Identities: The Case of Twentieth-Century Southeastern Europe. Central European University Press. p. 102. ISBN 978-963-9241-82-4.
  10. ^ Stanley G. Payne (1984). Spanish Catholicism: An Historical Overview. Univ of Wisconsin Press. p. xiii. ISBN 978-0-299-09804-9.

Further reading