'For Christ and Catalonia' : Catholicism, Catalanism and the origins of Convergencia i Unio, 1939-1975
This work is a study of the Catalan nationalist experience under the Franco regime, (1939-1975). Its aim is to account for the transformed status of Catalan nationalism at the dictatorship's end and explain the emergence of Convergencia i Unio (Convergence and Union), which since 1980 has become the political embodiment of Catalanism. Prior to 1939, with the achievement of the Catalan autonomy statute, Catalan nationalism had seemed to be embarked on a programme of the Catalanisation of society. In 1939, with Francoist victory in the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), it appeared certain that the Catalan nationalist movement would be crushed. Yet, this did not happen and it emerged in 1975 with more widespread social acceptance than ever before. This study is principally concerned with the relations between Catholicism and Catalanism. The Catalan Church had been involved in the Catalanist movement in the late nineteenth century but it became marginalised by the time of the Second Spanish Republic (1931-39). In 1936 the Catalan Church underwent a ferocious assault that included the execution of over 2,000 priests and members of religious orders. The victory of Spanish Nationalism in 1939 not only restored the Church, but gave it unprecedented power and influence over Catalan society. This new position in Catalan society gave the Church an opportunity to re-create Catalanism. This study argues that, for most of the Franco regime, Catalanism underwent a Catholicisation. Until the mid-1960s the only legally permitted Catalan-language publications were religious. Furthermore, Catholicism was greatly influential in civil society and in the re-formulation of Catalan culture. The origins of Convergencia i Unio are also to be found in the activities of the Catalan-nationalist business class. As will be seen, this sector was also transformed by the Franco dictatorship. No study in English or Catalan has examined Catalonia 1939-75 that has explained the emergence of the Catholic-influenced Convergencia i Unio or the changes that have taken place in Catalan culture and Catalanist ideology during this period.