Francis: Church Must Learn to Abandon Old ‘Traditions’

Today is the Feast of St. Vincent of Lérins.  He bequeathed to the generations a few principles of identifying sound doctrine.  I wrote something at length about that HERE.   It might be a good idea to read that in tandem with what I offer here below.

There’s a story today at Breitbart about Francis address to Caritas International, a very influential organization because it doles out money to needy churches.  The head of Caritas is in a position to garner gratitude from many in regions where aid is needed.  But I digress.

Francis made a remarkably odd speech to Caritas.  However, the Breitbart piece explains in part why Francis made his comments.     We should always try to understand what Francis said, no matter how incoherent it seems at first.

Pope Francis: Church Must Learn to Abandon Old ‘Traditions’

It is a mistake for the Church to try to hold onto old traditions or to have clear answers for everything, Pope Francis said Thursday.  [For everything?  No.  But for those things which can lead to or impede salvation, it is our duty to find clarity.  And we can find clarity, with reason and the help of revelation.]

Jesus intentionally omitted telling his disciples many things so that the Church would learn to renounce the desire for clarity and order, the pope told participants in the 21st general assembly of Caritas Internationalis, the Church’s global charitable outreach. [Ummm…. really?  Maybe He didn’t tell them everything precisely so that they would strive to figure them out!  After all, He gave them HIS authority to teach.  What we believe MUST be rooted in some old and traditional, namely, the Apostolic Faith, the Apostolic Tradition.  As far as Christ wanting the  Church to renounce clarity and order, the Apostles seem to have had another impression.  There was the Council of Jerusalem, for example.  Paul, who understood the difference between local customs (as in the case of veils on women) didn’t write to various Church’s to leave them in doubt or to say “do as it seems best to you.”] 

When pagans first embraced the Christian faith, the question arose as to if they would have to abide by all the precepts of the Jewish law, something Jesus never spoke of, the pope noted.

By not always giving “clear rules” that would quickly resolve issues, Jesus was protecting the Church from the temptation of “efficientism,” Francis said, which is the desire for the Church to have everything under control, avoiding surprises, with its agenda always in order.  [And yet… there they were, a very short time after the Ascension, resolving questions and conflicts.]

This is not the way the Lord acts, he continued. He does not send answers from heaven. “He sends the Holy Spirit.”  [And the Holy Spirit isn’t separate in will from the Son.  The Lord said I will send MY Spirit.  Distinct Persons, but one divinity.  They cannot conflict.]

“Jesus does not want the church to be a perfect model, satisfied with its own organization and able to defend its good name,” he said. “Jesus did not live like this, but on a journey, without fearing the upheavals of life.”  [Isn’t this a bit of a mishmash?   “Jesus did not want the church to be a perfect model…”.   Oh?  He did say to His disciples, “be perfect”.  He told them to love on another.  He desired that they “be one”.  Francis introduced the notion of “organization”, as if that’s a bad thing.  The Apostles right away chose deacons.   That was a moment of “organization” that the Holy Spirit clearly guided.]

Living like Jesus demands the “courage of renunciation,” the pontiff said, a willingness to abandon traditions that are dear to us[What just would those traditions be, I wonder?  Is he setting up something for the upcoming Synod?  This is to Caritas after all, and the Synod will deal with places that Caritas works with.  Is this a set up for dropped celibacy?  After all, that’s a “dear tradition”.   What traditions is he talking about?]

Changing and adapting is not about imposing something new, he said, “but leaving aside something old.”  [With all respect, this is hardly to be understood.  Natura abhorret a vacuo.  Nature abhors a vacuum.   Create a vacuum and something else will rush in to fill it.   Think of this in our human, lived experience.  If you have a bad habit, you will more than likely never break it, unless you replace it with a good habit.  In the parable of the Lord about the demons driven out, they return to the empty house in greater numbers – it wasn’t filled with that which could resist the demons.  It was empty.  When there is lack of clarity in law or teaching, unity breaks down as home-brewed ideas and customs fill the blanks.  Also, when you impose something new, you can create chaos, just as what happened with the sudden and largely undesired imposition of the Novus Ordo.  Stability allows for slow and organic development.  Patience and tradition are key.]

Those early Christians had to learn to leave behind “important religious traditions and precepts, dear to the chosen people,” he said, by which their very “religious identity” was at stake.  [Hang on.   Sure, early Christians changed, for example, laws about food and circumcision and the day they worshiped God.   But these changes were explained in light of the Good News, the New Creation in the person of the New Adam, Christ, who made all things new and who will make all things new in the end.  Moreover, the changes were explained even as new practices were introduced… nay rather… imposed even in the face of the resistance of the Judaizers.]

In the end, they did not need a bunch of doctrines and traditions. but the simple announcement that “God is love,” Francis said, and in the face of this great truth, “even convictions and human traditions can and must be abandoned, since they are more of an obstacle than a help.” [!.. !..! Wait just a minute!  Jesus challenged the human traditions of the Jews when he outlawed divorce and remarriage in so stunning a way that even the Apostles gasped for air (Matt 19).  So, Jesus did NOT come merely to teach that “God is love” and leave us on our own. Also in the Council of Jerusalem, Peter, while giving in to Paul’s demands, nevertheless banned Gentile converts from INCEST AND POLYGAMY (porneia). So not everything that looks like marriage is marriage.  From the beginning, the Lord gave rules, structures,
laws and the Apostles, who understood Him clearly, continued in that line probably because of all the things Christ told them before He ascended.  They didn’t just make things up.]

“God often purifies, simplifies, and makes us grow by taking away, not by adding, as we might do,” he said.

“True faith cleanses from attachments,” he said. “As a church, we are not called to corporate compromises, but to evangelical enterprise.”  [Hang on!   Every credal formula of every Council was a “corporate compromise”.  They were the very definition of corporate compromises!  Various factions came together in moments of unclarity to seek clarity.  They fought over language.  They came up with compromise formulas that were simultaneously rooted in Apostolic Tradition but also just ambiguous enough that all parties could sign on.   If every problem wasn’t solved at that moment, what they passed on would be the foundation for another Council’s work when more questions came up.  Rinse and repeat.  Slowly, over centuries, the Church came up with, for example, the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed which we recite at Masses.   Is that something we give up, because it was a corporate compromise?  It is a dear tradition, too.  The documents of the Second Vatican Council were all “corporate compromises”, worked on in draft after draft and eventually voted on.  Let’s jettison those first, since they are chronologically nearest.   Wait, no.  John XXIII when he called for Vatican II also called for a new Code of Canon Law.  That came out in 1983.  That has to go, too.]

[…]

I get it, in a way.   Above all law and formulations of doctrine is the love of God, our love for Him and His for us.   That grasped, all our formulations of doctrine and law, all our customs and productions of art and music, our gestures of liturgical worship grow up simultaneously in different cultures, side by side, reflecting at their core the same Apostolic Faith handed down through the Church to us today.

Christ gave Peter the obvious vice-headship of the Church when He renamed him, gave him His “keys” and then revitalized him three times over on the shores of the sea after the Resurrection.   That’s a visible sign of unity for clarity.

The Church has its Four Marks for the sake of clarity, so that know which Church is the Church Christ founded, lest we stray.  The Church has its Attributes, again for clarity and security within her embrace.

Unity in worship is guaranteed by laws so that we do not become, over time, divided in prayer and divided in belief, because how we pray affects what we believe.   Common worship connects us not only with people overseas, but also over the boundary of death, across generations.

I get it, in a way.  He wants to stress the love of God.

I don’t see the need to create a conflict between that vision and the traditions various peoples have evolved, with love, over centuries.

It seems to me that structure also frees us up to love as we ought.

At the top I mentioned St. Vincent of Lérins and a previous post about him   Here is an excerpt.

Tracking back to Vincent of Lérins I found a sobering and consoling passage.

Allow me a slight editing choice from “he” to “you”… which doesn’t change the sense at all!

“….he is the true and genuine Catholic who loves the truth of God, who loves the Church, who loves the Body of Christ, who esteems divine religion and the Catholic Faith above every thing, above the authority, above the regard, above the genius, above the eloquence, above the philosophy, of every man whatsoever; who set light by all of these, and continuing steadfast and established in the faith, resolves that he will believe that, and that only, which he is sure the Catholic Church has held universally and from ancient time; [Here start reading aloud…] but that whatsoever new and unheard-of doctrine you shall find to have been furtively introduced by some one or another, besides that of all or contrary to that of all the saints, this, you will understand, does not pertain to religion, but is permitted as a trial, being instructed especially by the words of the blessed Apostle Paul, who writes thus in his first Epistle to the Corinthians, ‘There must needs be heresies, that they who are approved may be made manifest among you:’ as though he should say, This is the reason why the authors of Heresies are not forthwith rooted up by God, namely, that they who are approved may be made manifest; that is, that it may be apparent of each individual, how tenacious and faithful and steadfast he is in his love of the Catholic faith.” Commonitorium 20.48

Opportunity, dear readers.  Opportunity!

If you hear something strange, then that strange thing becomes the cause of the clearer revelation of the truth.  God even tolerates heresies for the sake of pointing more clearly to the good teachers and teachings.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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45 Responses to Francis: Church Must Learn to Abandon Old ‘Traditions’

  1. Gab says:

    What is going on? Has the Pope completely forgotten the Gospels?
    My heart aches. Our Lady of Revelations, pray for us.

  2. Benedict Joseph says:

    He has turned a corner. I am left without words and unable to comment.

  3. SanSan says:

    I’m once again scandalized. Sigh. Lord have mercy.

  4. Gab says:

    And to which traditions is the Pope referring? Ecclesiastical or Apostolic traditions? Or both?

    What fresh hell is this that is about to be unleashed on the Mystical Body?

  5. sggreener says:

    We’ve been letting go of “traditions” since VII. Look where that has gotten us!

  6. Emilio says:

    For my own spiritual good, I cannot bear to tune into what Pope Francis says any more, or even follow Papal Masses and travels, something that brought joy to my life to do before him. I find what he says so jarring and in rupture to his predecessors. I might follow his visit to Romania, since relations with the Orthodox there are especially close and important… but will be sure to tune out in time for reports of whatever he says on the next plane presser.

  7. ThePapalCount says:

    What could be possibly be next?
    I have a papal knighthood and I feel compelled to renounce it and send back the insignia.
    Fr Z enjoy Rome to the fullest.

  8. Lurker 59 says:

    The Church’s tradition is the vehicle by which we receive Christ’s mercy and love for us. If we do not receive the tradition of the Faith from the Church as from a mother so that we might hold fast to the traditions of our fathers which come down to us from the Apostles, what then? The Church would be a house built upon sand ruled by the whims of those in power.

    No, Christ is the Divine Lawgiver — indeed True Light which makes all things clear and drives away all shadows and confusion.

    –>[the early Christians just needed] simple announcement that “God is love,”

    This is not the kerygma of the early Church by a wide margin. The evangelical message is that the god of the Jews so loved the world that he gave his only Son as a sacrifice for our sins that we might have eternal life and proceed to there from here through rebirth into the common life in the Spirit which is known and made manifest by holding fast to the traditions which are the teachings and prayers/liturgy of the Apostles, who transmit to us Christ.

    The early Church is so much about receiving and handing on a rule of life that Christianity was called “The Way” by its practitioners. It is a part of the Faith that this way of life, these traditions, are divine for they come to us not as from men, but from God.

    This is love — to receive the way of life — to hold fast to the way of life — to hand on this way of life.

  9. Bonaventurian says:

    Is he trying to start a schism? Because this is how you start a schism.

  10. Hidden One says:

    Who wrote this speech?

  11. Midwest St. Michael says:

    I simply pray for PF anymore. (briefly, along with BXVI)

    Everything else seems so… Jesuitical to me. So, I just pray and pay little attention to him. Because… I have no idea what the Purgatory he is saying. (naw, no “clarity” there)

  12. “Living like Jesus demands the “courage of renunciation a willingness to abandon traditions that are dear to us.”

    Yes, I think the Holy Father is exactly right: our culture had created traditions that need to be renounced and that are dear to many. but contrary to the Gospel on both sides of the political spectrum: abortion as a right, divorce on demand, contraception, consumerist values, secularist materialism, economic elitism, contempt for the less educated, and we could go on.

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  13. HvonBlumenthal says:

    It is unfortunate that the same word “tradition” is used as a technical term by the church to refer to the means by which Catholic truth is passed on, and a a colloquial term in common parlance to mean old customs.

    In ordinary speech you could say “this is an ancient tradition which began in the 17th century”. Such a statement is impossible for the church.

    Many people do not understand this distinction and it looks as if either the Pope doesn’t grasp it or he is assuming his audience doesn’t.

  14. Spinmamma says:

    I was waiting for you to address this latest astonishing statement from our Pope. You did not disappoint. What a sanity saver you are, dear Father Z. So often when I am full of dismay and discomfort, you have insight and words of wisdom. I am especially grateful for the passage from St. Vincent of Lérins.

  15. Clinton R. says:

    Sigh. Again Pope Francis mocks and thumbs his nose at tradition, his favorite target. For a man whose office is to uphold and preserve the Catholic Faith, it seems like he never fails to derive enjoyment at belittling the Church and her traditions. Father mentioned the Amazon Synod. I shudder at the thought of what will develop from it. The modernists / heretics / apostates are rubbing their hands in glee at the prospect of giving another shot of poison into into the Bride of Christ.

  16. Everyone: It could be helpful to read the ENTIRE Breitbart piece, especially the comments at the ver end, which help to put Francis’ way of speaking into perspective.

    Other observers have attributed the Pope’s habitual vagueness to his training in the Jesuit order.

    “For those unfamiliar with Jesuits,” wrote Dominic Lynch in The Federalist, “vague and porous doctrine is almost their raison d’être. Indeed, it is so baked into the order that finding a conservative Jesuit is more difficult than finding a liberal in West Texas.”

    He’s certainly on to something here.

    Touching back at that Federalist piece, Lynch concluded:

    Francis’ Unorthodoxy Shouldn’t Be Surprising
    Before I go further it’s worth noting that the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) are not the Church boogeymen they’ve been made out to be across the centuries. Despite their faults—and there are plenty—the order values education and executes it well. Its emphasis on a pastoral approach balances nicely with orders like the Dominicans and Benedictines, which tend to be very rules-focused. Jesuits also take a more human approach to doctrine which can come across as stuffy and dated to people who have struggled with organized religion in general or Catholicism in particular. What looks like flaunting the rules to conservatives can actually connect with a number of people who feel left out or left behind by the Church. In those regards, the Jesuits are an indispensable order within the gigantic framework that is Roman Catholicism.

    But this approach also explains why Pope Francis seems so frustrating so often. When he has the opportunity to clarify doctrine—which he now clearly does—he punts because the “pastoral approach” requires it. Punting follows Francis’ logic to its rightful end.

    He has aligned himself against the bureaucratic meddling that church leaders often find themselves participating in: annulment tribunals, awkward reminders for divorced and remarried spouses to “live like brother and sister,” and the denial of communion. The logical result of sweeping this away is a pastoral approach that opens the gates to checkbox Catholicism, as long as it doesn’t run off the page. Thus, while Francis can’t quite command that divorced and remarried couples can receive communion, he can say it in as many words when he attacks the bureaucracy that has been blocking them out.

    In retrospect, Francis’ unorthodoxy shouldn’t have been surprising. He’s a dyed-in-the-wool Jesuit who came of age in the post-Vatican II world. His emphasis on a pastoral approach is the driving force behind his doctrinal decentralization. And while he may be well intentioned this approach is often poorly executed, which alienates those who are inclined to disagree with it in the first place. The result is a battle of wills within the Church that has no clear outcome. With Francis, now everyone knows how frustrating Jesuits are.

  17. Pius Admirabilis says:

    @Emilio: You are so right! I never watched a whole lot of Papal Masses, but when it was Sunday Easter, I always sat before the TV, and I would cry when Benedict celebrated Mass. Something deeply inside me was moved to tears.

    Now with Francis, I simply avoid everything and anything that has to do with him, for my own spiritual sake. Hearing all those bad news takes a toll on someone, and I don’t want to become bitter and miserable. I know many priests who also actively avoid watching Papal Masses, and they would also avoid to a great extent ecclesial news, because most of them are bad. One becomes angry, but it has no use at all. Better avoid this constant negativity, and focus on one’s own spiritual life.

    This is, incidentally, exactly what Thomas von Kempen recommends: Not looking at one’s neighbor (even if he is the Pope), but looking only to oneself.

    There are so many good things in this world, and God shows His grace so abundantly. Just think of the growing numbers of traditional Masses, how traditional institutes can’t accomodate all of their seminarians because they have so many, how the Chartres Pilgrimage will start soon with many, many pilgrims, how we have good people even in Academia (e. g. Peter Kwasniewski, Edward Feser) and in the ecclesiastical ranks (e. g. Cardinal Burke, Bishop Schneider, Archbishop Sample, Cardinal Sarah), and how especially young people rediscover their Catholic heritage, or discover it as a new way for them, actively trying to live a life according to the Gospel of Jesus, and the authentic teachings of the Church.

  18. Gab says:

    “Thus, while Francis can’t quite command that divorced and remarried couples can receive communion, he can say it in as many words when he attacks the bureaucracy that has been blocking them out.”

    This is still wrong. No matter how you say it, overt or using disguised language, it is still a sin to receive Communion if one is divorced and remarried.

  19. SanSan says:

    once again I was scandalized when I read what the Pope said. Thank you Father for taking the time to correct the errors.

  20. SanSan says:

    Time to brush-up on how heresies come about and why……

    THE GREAT HERESIES< by Hilaire Belloc, Chapter Three, " The Arian Heresy"

    Arianism was the first of the great heresies.

  21. SanSan says:

    The “Jesuit” approach leads down a rabbit hole…….who will save that soul?

  22. carndt says:

    He is a huge part of the NWO(New World Order). Meets with Facebook’s Zuckerberg ( plans on starting cryptocurrency) but won’t meet with Italian Catholic politician Salvini.
    https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/vatican-leaders-outraged-as-anti-immigration-politician-commends-italy-to-mary

  23. GHP says:

    Papal Count: “…I have a papal knighthood and I feel compelled to renounce it and send back the insignia….”

    Nope! Don’t even consider that action any further. I served under Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, bit I didn’t feel the need to resign my officer’s commission.

  24. Pingback: Pope Francis: Church Must Learn to Abandon Old ‘Traditions’ | Deaconjohn1987's Blog

  25. Danteewoo says:

    I can’t take Bishop Bergoglio seriously as the pope. It’s error after error. “Isn’t this a bit of a mishmash?” Yes, but it’s mishmash that attacks the Faith over and over. If this kind of thing can come from a pope, the papacy isn’t worth very much.

  26. Sue in soCal says:

    This is one of the many times I have wondered what Fr. Z’s opinion is of this. Thanks for the clear and unjesuitical (is that a word?) commentary.

  27. Gab says:

    “Arianism was the first of the great heresies.”

    Marcionism was another, which is still around today thanks to the fruits of Vat II.

  28. frmgcmma says:

    A passage St. Thomas quotes often says: “…quæ autem sunt, a Deo ordinatæ sunt” (Rom. 13:1).

  29. chantgirl says:

    IF Francis had answered the Dubia or any of the other many appeals to him, if he had not treated his perceived enemies so ruthlessly, if he had not spent his pontificate badmouthing and vilifying people, if he had not said many questionable/heretical things, if his friends had not plotted to flout conclave rules to elect him, if he had not met with communist dictators while refusing to meet faithful Catholics, if he had not praised an abortionist as one of Italy’s greats, if he had not allowed population control advocates a platform, if he had not sold out the faithful Chinese Catholics, if he had not allowed the FFI to be dismantled and raided, if he had not ignored the pleas of deaf children sexually assaulted by priests, if he had not continually twisted the words of Christ Himself in scripture,

    IF he had shown proper love and respect for the Eucharist as Pope by KNEELING before our Lord, I could maybe give him the benefit of the doubt here.

    Adding up these actions, I can only read these words in a radical way, and as a signal that a new area of Church teaching will be challenged. I can only pray that the man is senile and not morally culpable for the devastation he has wrought.

    He can pry my traditions from my cold, dead hands.

    Bux protocol.

  30. Pingback: ASK FATHER: How to break the bondage of bad habits, vices? | Fr. Z's Blog

  31. tho says:

    Our Holy Father would be more comfortable as a Unitarian, Catholicism is all about Tradition and self discipline. Then again “make a mess” would look good on the resume, for a job with the three stooges. No disrespect intended.

  32. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    Before I read anything from or about Francis, I say out loud to myself “I dont care” and then it doesnt hurt me.

  33. Traductora says:

    Truly excellent Fr. Z comments! That said, this is one of Bergoglio’s most disturbing ravings to date, and I think it probably is aimed at paving the way for the horrors to be proclaimed by the Germans at the “Amazonian Synod.”

  34. Midwest St. Michael says:

    @ tho and Atra Dicenda…

    The both of you made me SOL. (smile out loud)

    Thanks for the levity! =)

  35. Gab says:

    List of other people who also wanted to get rid of traditions, especially Catholic traditions:

    Lenin
    Stalin
    Marx
    Hitler
    Franco
    Mao Zedong
    Peron

    And so on and so forth.

  36. richiedel says:

    “There is an organic connection between our spiritual life and the dogmas. Dogmas are lights along the path of faith; they illuminate it and make it secure. Conversely, if our life is upright, our intellect and heart will be open to welcome the light shed by the dogmas of faith.” (CCC 50)

  37. richiedel says:

    The above Catechism reference should be CCC 89, not 50.

  38. gaudiumcumpace says:

    God is Love because He is perfect, as is true Love which demands perfect purity, whose only source is God’s grace gifted to us by no merit of our own but by Christ. Grace received through the sacraments call for an ‘order’ of tradition.
    May God give clarity to Pope Francis’ intentions.

  39. Benedict Joseph says:

    You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt lose its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is good for nothing any more but to be cast out, and to be trodden on by men.
    Matthew 5:13

  40. Kevin says:

    It’s easier to employ Benedict’s ‘hermeneutic of continuity” in the event of any perceived rupture. Unfortunately this almost makes Pope Francis’ papacy entirely irrelevant.

  41. Therese says:

    [What used to be] the best education in the world, and this what we get.

  42. matt from az says:

    You list the great Generalissimo Franco among that socialist riffraff?
    Gab, are you nuts? Franco was the defender of the faith and Church against the devilish Masonic republicans who threw Catholic Spain into Civil War.
    Franco is one of the greatest Catholics of the 20th century and should be a saint. My only regret is that he didn’t successfully kill them all and let God sort them out. Now Spain is once again in the hands of the atheistic socialists and is a complete basket case only a step above Greece, Venezuela, or Zimbabwe.

  43. Mightnotbeachristiantou says:

    Tradition versa Torah. The Pharisees accused his disciples of not washing of the hands. They never actually accused Jesus of breaking the written Torah, but the Oral Torah(traditions). Jesus did break traditions. The problem is teaching traditions as the Law, especially when those traditions contradict the Torah. The is nothing wrong with traditions( Purim, Hanukkah) as long as the do not contradict the written Word of the Lord.

  44. Semper Gumby says:

    Thank you Fr. Z for your remarks in red.

    If I could, I’d like to chip in two cents on the Franco issue raised by Gab and matt from az.

    Gab: Adding Franco’s name to a list of murderous Communist and socialist tyrants is inaccurate. Franco was fighting against the socialists, anarchists, and Communists who all were slaughtering priests and nuns and who fought for the destruction of the Catholic Church.

    matt from az: Perhaps “kill them all and let God sort them out” is not the way to go here. There’s alot to be said for Just War- jus ad bellum and jus in bello.

    The late 1930s was a difficult and complex time. It is fortunate that Franco’s nationalists (supported by national socialists and Fascists) defeated the “republicans” (who had no intention of setting up a U.S.-style Republic if they were victorious and were supported by, and were being subordinated to, the international socialists- Stalin’s Soviets).

    If Franco had lost the Spanish Civil War the “republic” would have quickly become Stalin’s puppet state. Hitler then would have conquered Spain in 1940 or 1941.

    Thus, the British would have lost their base at Gibraltar, the Mediterranean would have been closed to British shipping, Malta would have fallen, Rommel’s Afrika Korps (which at times lost 50% of their supplies and equipment due to the British holding Malta) would have seized the Suez Canal, German U-boats based in the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal) rather than France’s Brittany peninsula would have been more effective and Iberian U-boat bases more difficult to bomb from Britain, and the Allied landings in 1942 in Morocco and Algeria- which began the long Allied advance to Berlin- would have been impossible due to Axis aircraft and troops stationed in the Iberian peninsula.

    That was a bit long, but it reinforces the point that Franco’s pro-Axis maneuverings in 1939-1943 were Franco’s effort to keep Spain (still recovering from the Civil War) from being conquered by his former ally, the National Socialists.

    As anti-Franco historians point out (and there are many out there, for example see the problematic review by Peter Hitchens of a problematic Franco biography by Enrique Moradiellos in First Things in February) Franco had a portrait of Hitler in his office. Yes, and when the Nazi ambassador and Nazi military attaches met with Franco they noted that portrait and reported it back to Hitler.

    It is also true that Franco sent Spanish troops (the volunteer Blue Division) to fight alongside the Nazis in the Soviet Union against the Communists who had tormented Spain during the Spanish Civil War. This maneuver by Franco further reduced Hitler’s interest in conquering Spain.

    True, there was an element of authoritarianism and an element of personality cult to Franco’s rule, particularly after WW II. Though, those elements do not approach the levels of the numerous bloodthirsty socialist tyrants of the 20th and 21st centuries.

    So, excellent Gab and excellent matt in az, perhaps Franco’s legacy is not among the murderous socialist tyrants or the saints. It is indeed fortunate, perhaps even providential given the calamities that would have followed a Franco defeat, that Franco was victorious in the Spanish Civil War.

  45. Eugene says:

    You have expressed my feelings exactly. I feel extremely sad.