from Escriva to Franco
the following letter, Opus Dei founder, Escriva, congratulates Spanish
dictator Francisco Franco on the union of church and state in Spain.
According to Giles Tremlett , "Opus Dei's 84,000 members
around the world deny [Escriva] actively supported Franco;"
however, this document shows that at the very least Escriva admired
Dei also denies that the organization has a political agenda, and
claims that its members have complete freedom as well as personal
responsibility for their actions. However, the following quote from
Escriva's book The Way, which Alberto Moncada  describes
as a summary of Escriva's "national catholicism," illustrates
how difficult it would be for a member of Opus Dei to reconcile
this personal freedom with his counsel:
Neutrality. Those old myths that always try to seem new. Have
you ever bothered to think how absurd it is to leave one's catholicism
aside on entering a university, or a professional association,
or a scholarly meeting, or Congress, as if you were checking your
hat at the door?"
Letter from Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer
to Francisco Franco, May 23, 1958
following letter, translated from Spanish (original
Spanish text found here) was published in the January-February,
2001 issue of Razón Española (magazine title
means Spanish Reason). Copies of this and other letters
from Msgr. Escrivá de Balaguer to Franco are kept in the
Fundación Nacional Francisco Franco (National Foundation
of Francisco Franco) (Marqués de Urquijo, 28, 28008 Madrid,
Spain). The originals belong to Generalísimo Franco’s
only daughter, Carmen.
his Excellency Francisco Franco Bahamonde, Head of State of Spain
wish to add my sincerest personal congratulation to the many you
have received on the occasion of the promulgation of the Fundamental
forced absence from our homeland in service of God and souls, far
from weakening my love for Spain, has, if it were possible, increased
it. From the perspective of the eternal city of Rome, I have been
able to see better than ever the beauty of that especially beloved
daughter of the church which is my homeland, which the Lord has
so often used as an instrument for the defense and propagation of
the holy, Catholic faith in the world.
alien to any political activity, I cannot help but rejoice as a
priest and Spaniard that the Chief of State’s authoritative
voice should proclaim that, “The Spanish nation considers
it a badge of honor to accept the law of God according to the one
and true doctrine of the Holy Catholic Church, inseparable faith
of the national conscience which will inspire its legislation.”
It is in fidelity to our people’s Catholic tradition that
the best guarantee of success in acts of government, the certainty
of a just and lasting peace within the national community, as well
as the divine blessing for those holding positions of authority,
will always be found.
ask God our Lord to bestow upon your Excellency with every sort
felicity and impart abundant grace to carry out the grave mission
entrusted to you.
accept, Excellency, the expression of my deepest personal esteem
and be assured of my prayers for all your family.
devotedly yours in the Lord,
Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer
Rome, May 23, 1958
beckons for priest linked to Franco: Controversial founder of Opus
Dei will becanonised tomorrow," by Giles Tremlett, Madrid,
The Guardian, Saturday October 5, 2002.
of Opus Dei," by Alberto Moncada. This article was originally
published in Spanish as "La Evolucion del Opus Dei en Espana"
(Ponencia al VI Congreso Español de Sociología, A
by Josemaria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei.
April 24, 2004