SALAZAR AND CATHOLIC REGENERATION IN THE 20TH CENTURY
Lisbon, Black Horse Square, February 1, 1908, the royal family of Portugal, while crossing the square in an open landau, is fired upon by Republicans. The king, Charles I (1889-1908), and his youngest son die. Emmanuel II (1908-10), heir to the throne, survives, but he is king for little more than a year before the October 4t Revolution of 1910 ushers in 16 years of Republican anarchy.
From 1910 to 1926 there were 9 presidents, 25 uprisings, 3 dictatorships, and 325 bomb incidents, not to mention the assassination of the dictator Sidônio Pais in 1918, amongst other political assassinations. As far as the Catholic Faith is concerned, divorce was legalized, monastic orders were outlawed, many priests were exiled, the State took over education, land was seized from the Church, and the State abrogated the role of Catholicism as the official religion of Portugal.
From 1974 to 1985 there were three coups, close to twenty heads of state, one assassination, and several bomb incidents; drugs proliferated, and all forms of censorship were lifted, such that pornography became a major form of entertainment both on the big screen and the little, as well as in publications. As far as Catholicism is concerned, the inroads of Vatican II, temporarily held at bay, ostensibly saw to the needs of those Portuguese who had not already succumbed to communism and modernism.
Could there ever be any greater proof of the graces of the Holy Spirit showered upon a country than the leadership of Antonio Oliveira Salazar from 1928-68? Sandwiched between the excesses of the first two decades and the last three decades of the 20th century there was a government of Catholic truth, order, and common sense in Portugal which lasted for nearly 50 years. These were the years which saw the world torn apart by the Spanish Civil War, the Stock Market Crash, the Second World War, the Cold War, the 1960's and Vatican II, yet Portugal remained a sea of tranquility predicated upon the subsidiarity espoused by Pius XI in his Encyclical Quadragesimo Anno and the social justice outlined by Leo XIII in his Encyclical Rerum Novarum.
There is no way to explain why one of the smaller Catholic countries should receive the apparitions of the Virgin of Fatima in 1917, at the height of the Republican scourge, only to be blessed soon after by 50 years of Catholic inspired leadership, other than to say, "Surely this is the work of God." The Virgin Mary always appears to the humble, humble shepherds, children no less, and in a distant but ancient corner of the Catholic world, Portugal. The common people, so courted by the Republicans, had spoken, and they wanted the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was as a direct result of their persistent pilgrimages that the Church hierarchy and ultimately the political elites had to accept the veracity, or at least the strength of belief, which emanated from the apparitions.
God chose Portugal as an exemplification of His divine intervention. On the one hand this was a small, forgotten country in the western most corner of Europe, desecrated by over a century of Republican and Monarchist conflict, but on the other hand it was the first Christian nation to spread the Faith to Asia, Africa, and the New World. It would serve as a model for the so-called advanced countries of Europe, which had become racked by the fevers of modernism. Blessed are the meek for they shall possess the land. Through the apparitions at Fatima the Portuguese people would regain the strength needed to reassert their desire for a Catholic-oriented country. The fight would be a long one. It was ten years before Salazar came to save Portugal, and, by his example and support, Spain. Apart from Spain, there were other leaders such as Dolfuss in Austria and Petain in Vichy France who actually looked to Portugal as a model.
The circumstances leading up to Salazar's becoming the leader of Portugal are in themselves remarkable, and the specific details at the time are worthy of note. However, in order to get a better sense of the forces of good and evil, of the battle between God and the Antichrist that is at stake, let us retrace a little the history that would bring Portugal to this epochal government.
Portugal's Proud History
Between 1127 and 1580 Portugal enjoyed especial prestige insofar as its national and Catholic identity is concerned. With the first king, Alfonso I (1139-85), Portugal defined itself as a separate kingdom in Iberia with the determination to reconquer the western seaboard of the Iberian peninsula from the Moors. The following four centuries saw the emergence of great saints such as St. Anthony of Padua and St. Elizabeth of Portugal, as well as the election of a Portuguese pope, John XXI (1276-77). With the Age of Discoveries initiated by Portugal, Christianity was taken to the four corners of the world. Compared to the Spanish, whose activities were mostly restricted to the New World, Portugal sent missioners to Africa and Asia, too.
The invasion of Portugal by Spain at the end of the 14th century led to an alliance with England such that the new dynasty of Avis under John I (1385-1433) would result in the marriage of said king with Phillipa of Lancaster, daughter of John of Gaunt, who was the third son of King Edward III of England. The third son of John I was Prince Henry the Navigator, who made possible the Christianization of much of the world as a result of his having initiated the Age of Discovery. By 1580 Portugal had been surpassed by Spain as the major European and Catholic force in Europe. Young King Sebastian (1577-78) died in North Africa in a campaign against the Moors. Young as Sebastian was, he left no direct descendant so Philip II (1581-98) of Spain took over the throne of Portugal.
French and English Ascendancy
Although Portugal regained its independence from Spain less than 100 years later, it remained a country plagued by the same ills as its larger neighbor, that is to say, the after-effects of the Counter Reformation. Above all, following the Spanish occupation, Portugal was all the more inclined to look beyond Iberia for direction.
By the beginning of the 18th century France is in the ascendant and Portuguese intellectuals are enamored of Rousseau and Voltaire. In fact, the latter spent time in Lisbon and wrote about the earthquake of 1755. Apart from the radical ideas of the philosophes and Jansenists, there was also the liberal economic model of England to be admired. In later centuries the Anglo-Portuguese alliance became the Trojan Horse of the Catholic peninsula. The English, sensing Portugal's fears of Spain, were able to use their influence to weaken Spain while simultaneously keeping Portugal sufficiently disengaged from France.
Enter the Marquis of Pombal, Prime Minister during the reign of Joseph I (1750-77). He is famous for having rebuilt Lisbon after the aforementioned earthquake. Interestingly, after building himself a huge column in the main rotunda of Lisbon he had a lesser statue built for his king, the infamous Black Horse Square, scene of the assassination of Charles I. Pombal was a staunch supporter of the Masons and expelled the Jesuits. They would not kow-tow to his absolutist whims, and, above all, their huge successes in the missions of southern Brazil were an embarrassment to his secular pretensions. Under the guidance of the Jesuits the Guarani were building lucrative cottage industries, which the secularist Spanish and Portuguese governments wanted to control. Needless to say, no sooner were the Jesuits destituted of their control than the Guarani fell back into their pre-Christian ways.
Descent into Anarchy
At the time of the French Revolution and the subsequent Napoleonic invasion, Portugal, along with Spain, was in the throes of total anarchy. France and England were haggling over Iberia like two dogs with a bone. Given the famous alliance, England convinced John VI of Portugal to escape to Brazil, thereby preventing the Portuguese monarchy from coming under French control. On his return in 1822 he found a country even more corrupted by revolutionary ideals.
On top of all this, there were two claimants to the throne following John's death: Michael on the side of the traditionalists and Peter IV, supported by the English, who would win out, on the side of the liberals. With his accession to the throne he would expropriate Church property and abolish religious orders. The tenor of events throughout the century was one of excessive anticlericalism.
Although the liberals and the traditionalists would continue to fight throughout the century, it was the English Ultimatum of 1890 that brought about another major political crisis. The British wanted Portuguese Africa and threatened to take it by force. So much for the alliance. Because the king backed down, Republicans took this as an excuse to further undermine his power. Ultimately this lead to the sequence of events mentioned at the beginning of this article. In response to Republican threats the king gave the Prime Minister, João Franco, carte blanche to suppress Republican activity; the response: assassination of the king.
Vocation of a Statesman
Antonio de Oliveira Salazar born, April 28, 1889, in Santa Comba was the fifth child of the overseer to landed gentry. As the only son he was to embody all the family aspirations. Although not of the poorest background, the family could expect little more than that he might himself become an overseer.
Given his strong academic aptitude coupled with the deep faith imbued in him by his parents, they sought a place for him in a school that would prepare him for the seminary. The family for whom Salazar's family worked sponsored him. During his time in the seminary he became friends with another seminarian, the future Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon, Manuel Cerejeira.
Due to the assassination of the king in 1908 and the subsequent revolution two years later, Salazar felt that the priesthood was not his calling. As discussed earlier it was a time of extreme religious persecution, therefore to really make a difference Salazar knew the government itself would have to change. To this end he believed that a strong background in economics, and by extension politics, would better put him in a position to do God's work.
The Catholic Activist
Salazar completed his doctorate in economics and gained a position at the foremost university in Portugal at Coimbra. In the meantime he was a founding member of the Democratic Christian Academic Center (CADC) in 1912, and later he was elected to the Portuguese Catholic Center (CCP). His participation in these groups and the articles he wrote brought him to the attention of government spies, who had him destituted of his teaching duties for several months. Nevertheless, he was later reinstated, and his name was not forgotten by those who would eventually overthrow the Republican regime on May 28, 1926.
Above all, he was known to be a very astute economist whose ideas appealed to the head of the existing government, Mendes Cabeçadas, and who thus invited him to be the minister of finance. Salazar renounced his post after just 13 days once he realized that he would have no real power to affect actual financial policy. In the meantime Cabeçadas too resigned, and it was the eventual president of the new government, Oscar Carmona, who, on March 25, 1928, appealed again to Salazar to take on the responsibilities for the budgetary demands of Portugal. The country was in a shambles on every level and there was no money to undertake any kind of serious reforms. Carmona knew that unless he could somehow balance the budget he would be going the way of his predecessor all too soon.
Salazar's relationship with his mother was extremely close, and he felt that unless she were to be well cared for he could not take on such a burden as that of Finance Minister. However, she was to die soon after, allowing him to further reconsider the offer. Also, he was happy with his job at the university. Nevertheless, he felt a call to do his duty to his country. The only way he could make such a decision was through prayer, as Hugh Kay explains:
Salazar asked for a night to think it over, spent part of it on his knees like a squire on the vigil of knighthood, talked at length to Cerejeira, and served Mass in the morning for his confessor, Fr. Matteo Crawley Boevy. [At the insistence of Pope Pius XII, Fr. Matteo is famous for originating and promulgating the devotion to the Sacred Heart by way of the family enthronement.–Ed.]
Before finally accepting to become finance minister, Salazar stipulated several conditions: he must be entirely responsible for budgetary discretion and all ministers, including the President, would have to assent to his projections and restrictions. Given the gravity of the economic crisis in Portugal, Carmona had no choice but to agree to Salazar's demands. In the next budgetary session Salazar had miraculously balanced the budget. Undoubtedly the Holy Spirit was working His will in this ancient Catholic country all but destroyed by modernist Republicanism.
Portrait of the Man
What manner of a man was this Salazar? We have seen that he was educated for the priesthood, but even if he did not follow that path, God had endowed him with the will and discipline of an ascetic. For 40 years he charted a Catholic course for his people in a time of increasing and aggressive de-Christianization throughout the world, and he himself remained a fervent Catholic both in his faith and in his way of life.
If rampant materialism and absolute dissipation were the bywords of all modern societies be they Communist, Capitalist, or Fascist, here was a leader who lived the life of a monk, insofar as a head of state can. He, though a proponent of private property as this is understood in the traditional Catholic Church, rented rooms paid from his own pocket in the small government fortress just outside Lisbon, St. Julian da Barra. At his death the property inherited from his family constituted two broken-down cottages in Santa Comba. His net worth at his death was approximately $3,000US. There is a famous picture of him with a couple of friends during his time in office in which he has holes in the soles of his boots [see p. 16–Ed.].
Two hundred years earlier, the irreligious Pombal was the first Portuguese statesman to fully espouse the modernist cause, and he became enormously rich during his time in office, ultimately overshadowing the king. Salazar sought to rectify the errors initiated by the former politician, and his Catholicism was reflected in his Spartan ways. As we saw, Pombal had erected a massive column to his own glorification, while Salazar enjoys a simple headstone surrounded by the opulent mausoleums of other Portuguese families. On this headstone can be read the inscription:
Most powerful Portuguese leader of the 20th century
Unequaled was he in modesty
Humbly was he born, humbly was he raised
Humbly lived he and humbly he died
Mediocre are the people who from him
During his time in government he limited his travels to one state visit to Spain.
He was rarely seen either in public or in the media. His activities were unknown to the people. His private life was his own. All that we know is that he had proposed to the daughter of his father's boss but, although already a successful professor at Coimbra, he was considered below their social status. He wept at the rejection of the only woman he would ever love. He never married, dedicating his life instead to God and to his country. His one concession to domesticity was becoming godfather to two orphan girls who were raised under his roof, the domestic staff taking care of them.
A Catholic State
As a result of the huge success Salazar had had in balancing the budget, he was able to gradually insinuate himself into further positions of power in the government such that he soon became the de facto leader of the country, and Carmona accepted that he would do better to play second fiddle. From the outset, while not wishing to confuse the powers of the Church with those of the government, he set about making of Portugal a Catholic State in status if not in name.
Salazar believed, in accordance with Catholic doctrine, that the family and God are at the center of every society, as he stated at the tenth anniversary government commemoration in 1936:
To the souls torn apart by the malaise of the century we seek to give back the great certainties. We do not discuss God and virtue. We do not discuss our homeland and its history. We do not discuss authority and its prestige. We do not discuss the family and morality. We do not discuss the glory of work and duty.
To this end he sought to institute in his policies the subsidiarity of the Encyclical Quadragesimo Anno, whereby those in power were obliged to look to the needs of those who were beholden to them, and these in turn were to respect and obey the dictates of their patrons. In other words, with Catholic truth as a guiding light, the excesses of market-driven forces were curtailed and the errors of atheistic Republicanism were proscribed.
Through the corporatist State–not to be confused with the word corporation in the capitalist sense–which was the embodiment of the New State founded by Salazar, legislative power was given to civic assemblies. Unlike in pluralism, where different groups compete for power, unelected leaders take critical roles in decisions. In the following excerpt from the 1933 Constitution this can be seen:
...unitary and corporative republic founded upon the equality of all its citizens in the eyes of the of the law, upon the free access for all classes to the benefits of civilization, and upon the participation of all the constituent forces in its administration and in the making of laws.
The top-down model closely mirrors the hierarchical schema we see in the Church–God, Rome, Bishops. In this system, the dignity of fatherhood must be upheld, as each family is a microcosm of the above governance. Men should not be simply cogs in a mechanistic, capitalistic wheel. Nor should families simply be a part of a co-operative that works toward production goals regardless of their familial duties, as in Communist societies. In these cases, the State intrudes on the family's structure, breaking it up whenever it is expedient, such as the one child law in China and abortion as contraception in Russia.
In the New Sate, the individual is valued but only insofar as he is part of a family, a member of a village council, all within God's plan for universal redemption, not in the modernist sense where he becomes his own God. As a seminarian for 11 years, Salazar was acutely aware of this need, and he was aware, too, of the forces of evil arrayed against him both in Portugal and in the world outside. His old friend the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon Manuel Cerejeira told him:
God is with you, and for that very reason all those who belong to the spirit of darkness will be against you. You do not know how much you are loved in Portugal....But there are also those who hate you. It is the hatred of those who know they have been repulsed. It is the hatred of those who hate you because they hate God. Courage! Your work has only just begun.
The Economics of Quadragesimo Anno
Salazar was able to build a consensus behind his project because he had had so much success in dragging Portugal out of the economic chaos it had fallen into. Subsequently, he predicated the continued stability of the country on a pragmatic relationship with the production centers of the country, relying primarily on the agricultural sector. Just as the father of a household is expected to lead morally, so must he lead financially, and this would mean essentially melding Catholic morality and economics. In other words, Salazar was strongly against the excessive credit-based modernist societies of the North. For this reason he was averse to excessive international ties.
Portugal would pay its way. In the 1960's when Portugal was suffering a financial crisis, Salazar refused loans from the World Bank, as this would have implied external pressures on the formation of the national budget. Salazar kept the country solvent and essentially poor but self-contained. In Hugh Kay's summary of the Quadragesimo Anno encyclical we can see how close Salazar had followed the principals therein:
The ultimate foundation of public order and the origin of all legitimate power is not the will of the people, but God. This is true even where democratic elections are held....The Church can accept historical variations in the form of government, their relative good being conditioned by the circumstances.
Only by holding the financial reigns could he insure that the moral reigns would be maintained. His one concession to this plan was when he opened the country up to tourism. He remained ever vigilant, however, of the corrupting influences of this industry both insofar as economic dependence on external markets was concerned, and because of the moral laxness introduced by foreigners raised in modern societies.
Salazar's national policy reflected his staunch Catholicism and his own lifestyle, as we have seen. Once he had established the credibility of his government, Salazar had to set about guaranteeing its continued success; therefore, censorship and security became a part of his modus operandi. Salazar saw as his blueprint the Catholic anti-modernist battle that had been waged throughout the 19th century, wherein the false notions of liberty introduced during the Enlightenment had been responsible for the collapse of the West. As Sevilla Andrés highlights, it was a time when the powers that be "...wanted to deny God, certitude, truth, justice and morality, forgetting that denial, indifference, and war cannot be fountainheads of action." Basically, his goal was to re-Christianize Portugal. With the help of the apparitions at Fatima, the country was ready, and although assorted anarchists and Communists claimed otherwise, the Portuguese people responded well to the censorship and security which kept Portugal stable, organized, and morally consistent with the dictates of the Church, as Fr. Luis Mafra, a priest under Cerejeira, states: "I believe the primary base of support for the New State was not the nationalists but the Catholics."
Although Salazar did not make many public appearances he was known to go to Holy Mass daily, and it was on one of these days in July, 1937, that a group of anarchists decided they would attempt to assassinate him. Fortunately, he escaped unscathed and continued on to Mass. The people wanted to acknowledge him for his bravery but he played it down. During his rare appearances in public men were observed running to try to touch the sleeve of his coat as if he might have been a saint.
Salazar was convinced that amongst the gravest threats to a healthy, moral society was that of feminism, as Sevilla Andrés shows in this paraphrase of Salazar: "Women do not understand that happiness does not come through possession but through renunciation." With a society imbalanced toward the satisfaction of a woman's self-determination, the breakdown of the family and thus society would be inevitable. In order to prevent this from happening contraception and abortion were outlawed, and divorce was uncommon because it was illegal in the Church and most marriages took place within the Catholic Church. If a society kept its moral compass as prescribed by Catholic doctrine then stability would be maintained.
Steering the Nation
One of the high notes of Salazar's first decade of leadership was his role in bringing about the success of Franco's own battles against modernism in Spain. In fact, Portugal sent thousands of troops to aid Franco as France, the U.S., and England stood by while Russia intervened on the side of the Republicans. It was Salazar's astute statesmanship that helped strengthen Franco's hand against the Germans when, during the Second World War at the meeting in Hendaye between Hitler and Franco in 1940, the former statesman demanded the alliance of the latter in return for the support given during the Spanish Civil War. Under the aegis of an Iberian pact Salazar told Franco that their two countries could play off the interests of England and Germany against each other and remain neutral. Salazar actually sold wolfram, a major mineral in the production of arms, to both countries throughout the war. It must be remembered that at the time, while Salazar did not sympathize with Hitler's quasi paganism, it was not readily apparent that Germany was any more opportunistic and materialistic than England. The important thing was to remain a self-sustaining economy unfettered by international obligations. Eventually he ceased any dealings with Germany.
Salazar knew that there were Falangists who sought a unified Iberia, but at the same time he pre-empted Spanish annexation by reminding Franco that Portugal and Spain already had chosen the same path of Catholic morality and independence as standards, thus there was no need for the two to be at odds over their mutually independent national status.
In his only journey outside Portugal Salazar met with Franco to discuss the pact, and the Spanish caudillo stated that he had never met a more accomplished national leader. As we have seen, Vichy France under Petain, which also adhered to a traditionalist Catholic line, actually looked to Portugal as a model for their government, and there are definite parallels with Austria under Dolfuss [see book advertised on inside back cover of this issue–Ed.] prior to the Anschluss. Pope Pius XII himself had stressed: "The Lord has provided the Portuguese nation with an exemplary head of government." Even modernist countries saw Portugal as a bastion of morality and stability at a time of growing European secularization. In the French newspaper L'Ordre Français we read in 1970:
...while subversive forces of every kind, Liberal, Masonic, Marxist...backed by the great powers continued their attacks on Portugal in the hopes of dragging it into the storm, Salazar fought against the tide in the firmness of his principles.
Salazar did not see the need to have Portugal consecrated to the Church as was the case of Spain, because he knew his people and he knew his Faith, having been a seminarian. Therefore he believed he could take care of the politics and keep Portugal on the correct path, and the Church could take care of its business, which he surely gave it license to do through education at all levels and through correct catechism, as well as the sacraments. He was very close to the Cardinal Patriarch, and they saw eye to eye on most matters.
The Vatican II Effect
Where a rift did seem to grow between Salazar and the Church was when the effects of Vatican II started to filter into the country. His security and censorship policies began to be questioned by clergy who had clearly been influenced by the liberalism and ecumenism that underscored the Council. The bishop of Porto issued a statement criticizing his government, and he was reprimanded. One priest, José Alves Felicidade, who had studied in Paris, was even advised that he had become persona non grata in Portugal. For all intents and purposes Salazar had no time for innovations when it came to Church doctrine: "Portugal is a country of Catholic foundation...as long as the Church does not change its dogma and morals it evolves slowly in its cult, discipline, and internal organization." When Pope Paul VI visited Fatima on May 13, 1967, Salazar was not available to welcome him. In part this might have been due to his aversion to the Council. Objectively it is mostly explained by Salazar's anger at the Pope's apparent support of India's annexation of Goa. Soon after the 1961 invasion, in which Portuguese strongholds were bombed by Indian government forces, the Pope conducted an ecumenical conference in India. It would have seemed to Salazar that both the interests of Portugal and the Church were at odds when a non-Christian country seized a bastion of Catholicism in the East. Therefore, it was all the more intolerable that Rome should treat the event with such nonchalance. Hundreds of thousands of Goans fled to Portuguese Africa and Portugal as India began at once to purge Goa of its nearly 500 years of Catholicism.
Many priests who had eagerly awaited the return of the Cardinal Patriarch following the Council in the hopes that he would institute the same kinds of reforms which had ravaged the rest of the Catholic world, were disappointed when he did nothing. The same priests who then decided on their own recognizance to push for changes were critical of the Cardinal Patriarch when he supported the fact that Salazar had rebuked the Conciliar Pope. In fact, shortly after Salazar's accident the Cardinal himself stepped down, such that it was not until after the revolution that the Council began to make serious headway in Portugal. There is a clear and obvious irony that the devil had to bring about the full and total collapse of this bastion of Catholicity before modernist liturgical and other changes could take hold. In order to fully grasp the extent to which this was the case we need only remind ourselves of the secular threats immediately before and after Salazar. In the first case we have the example cited by William Walsh in his book on Fatima. The apparitions have occurred and the little shepherds have been abducted and thrown into jail by the town mayor, who threatened to boil them alive if they did not recant. Here is Walsh in his own words:
The administrator of Ourem was Aturo de Oliviera Santos–Mason of the Grand Orient Lodge of Leiria...he became a devout and tireless member of what might be called the Mystical Body of this World. "Mystical?" Yes. For the invisible head of a kingdom devoted to uprooting the work of Christ must obviously be the disfranchised spirit of revolt of whom he said, "The prince of this world cometh, and in me he hath not anything."
In the second case we have quotes from two of the Communist leaders who sought to take over the government of Portugal after Salazar, Alvaro Cunhal and Vasco Gonçalves respectively: "In order to insure the democratization of national life...the Portuguese Communist Party is ready to assume its responsibilities" and "The central question of Socialism is the question of power. In order to establish Socialism the workers must take power."
As with the case the of Goa, the secular modernist countries did succeed in undermining Portugal–eventually bringing about the desired adherence to their own dissolute ways–by way of Portugal's other overseas regions. England, which had so ruthlessly claimed much of Portuguese Africa in 1890, now felt qualified to remind Portugal that they should leave Africa altogether. Since the early days of Bartolomeu Dias, who first charted the Cape of Good Hope in 1488, and Vasco da Gama, who reached India in 1498, Portugal had established itself in Africa and Asia. Subsequently, within less than one generation missioners had succeeded in preparing locals as priests and even bishops. Unlike the English, the Portuguese were truly concerned with spreading the gospel in these continents. To this day Goa, former Portuguese India, is 30-40% Catholic. Nevertheless, international capitalist and Communist interests wanted Portugal out, and it was ultimately the pressures brought to bear on the overseas territories that lead to the April 25, 1974, revolution and the transition from a government founded upon Catholic values to one mired in moral relativism.
End of an Era
In 1968 the chair in which he was sitting collapsed, and Salazar fell and sustained serious trauma to his head. As a result, the like-minded but less qualified leader Marcelo Caetano took his place as head of the government. Due to the great military presence in Africa where it was felt Portugal was losing its hold, there was an uprising at the military headquarters in Lisbon, and this brought about the fall of the government. Consequently Portugal became, albeit unbeknownst to much of the world's media, the last great stage of the Cold War before the Polish Solidarity movement, Perestroika, and the eventual fall of the Berlin Wall. After 50 years of government steeped in the same values prevalent throughout Christendom from the time of Christ up until the first inroads of humanism in the 13th century, and temporarily reinstituted in Iberia and Ibero-America during the Counter Reformation (approximately 1520-1720), the modernists had finally battered down the last point of resistance. Spain too was to collapse less than a year later with the death of Franco.
Communists and capitalists fought over little Portugal as if their lives depended on the outcome. And it did, because with Communism strong in Portugal, Spain would have been next. Instead, secular modernist capitalism won out definitively 11 years later in 1985 with the election of Cavaco Silva as Prime Minister.
We live in unsettled times, and the knowledge that Catholic countries like Portugal are now only nominally so is distressing. From standard-bearer of Catholic values to just one more modernist country racked by materialism and the inevitable demise of the family–Portugal now has one of the lowest birth rates in the world–the encroachment of socialism, and the complete subjugation to international interests, this country would seem to be a long way from the simple morality imposed by Salazar. However, as the Lord has said: I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. There may be some remnant of morality left, because as often as Portugal passes a referendum on abortion it is voted down. Maybe it will take even further demise of the family-oriented society that Salazar championed before the people, inspired by further graces from heaven (let us not forget Fatima), will again say, "Enough!" However, it would surely take another figure with the strength of purpose and depth of vision of a Salazar
to effect such an awakening.
1 Hugh Kay, Salazar and Modern Portugal (NY: Hawthorn Books, 1970), 26.
2 On December 4, 1980, Francisco de Sá Carneiro, leader of the Democratic Alliance Party, died in a plane crash under suspicious circumstances.
3 Prior to Salazar's coming to power definitively in 1928, the Carmona regime which selected him had already been in power for over two years. Following an accident in 1968 when he suffered some trauma to his head, Salazar had to delegate his power to Marcelo Caetano, who remained in office until 1974. Therefore we can speak of 48 years in which a Catholic-oriented government prevailed.
4 Mt. 5:4.
5 Antonio Costa Pinto, Salazar's Dictatorship and European Dictatorship: Problems of Interpretation (NY: Columbia U. Press, 1995), 30.
6 Manuel Loff, Salazarismo e Franquismo na Época de Hitler (Porto: Campo das Letras, 1996), 255.
7 Diamantino Machado, The Structure of Portuguese Society (NY: Praeger Pub., 1991), 72.
8 Kay, Salazar and Modern Portugal, 41.
9 http://www.joatilly.weblog.com.pt/ 4.
10 http://www.vidaslusofonas.pt/salazar.htm 10.
11 Political Constitution of the Republic, Art. 5 (SNI, Lisbon).
12 José Rebelo, Formas de Legitimaçã do Poder (Lisbon: Livros e Leitura, 1998), 67. Author's translation.
13 Kay, Salazar and Modern Portugal, 32
14 Diego Sevilla Andrés, El Portugal de Oliveira Salazar (Madrid: Ed. Del Movimiento, 1957), 105. Author's translation.
15 Padre Luis Azevedo Mafra, Lisboa no Tempo do Cardeal Cerejeira (Lisbon: Universidade Católica Portuguesa, 1997), 32. Author's translation.
16 Sevilla Andrés, El Portugal de Oliveira Salazar, 105. Author's translation.
18 Kay, Salazar and Modern Portugal, 159.
19 Costa Pinto, Salazar's Dictatorship and European Dictatorship, 203.
20 Rebelo, Formas de Legitimação do Poder, 198. Author's translation.
21 Azevedo Mafra, Lisboa no Tempo do Cardeal Cerejeira, 101. Author's translation.
22 Sevilla Andrés, El Portugal de Oliveira Salazar, 137. Author's translation.
23 Azevedo Mafra, Lisboa no Tempo do Cardeal Cerejeira, 77.
24 William Thomas Walsh, Our Lady of Fatima (NY: Image Books, 1954), 95.
25 Hipolito de la Torre Gómez and Josep Sánchez Cervello, Portugal en la edad contemporánea (1807-2000): Historia y documentos (Madrid: Universidad nacional de Educación a Distancia, 2000), 507. Author's translation.
26 Ibid., 512. Author's translation.
27 Mt. 16:18.