Nation, State, Nation-State

Nationalism Versus Solidarity. A Necessary Conflict?

José T. Raga*


Humanity, with all the fascination arising from its potential, its achievements and outstanding results through the ages, must, in fairness, acknowledge that its works and the results of these works have occurred, as might be expected, cyclically.

So much so that dazzlingly brilliant cycles in terms of knowledge, scientific and technological breakthroughs, profundity of thinking… have followed periods of obscurity, regression as regards material matters and the inherently human aspect of spirituality, periods which have plunged all this potential, inherent to man, into the depths of sterility, sadness and cowardice in the face of social challenge.

More often than not, an evolutionary interpretation cannot be applied to these cyclical behaviours, but rather that they come about through revolutions which, breaking away from the existing structure, construct a new structure, new limits, new principles, all of these ad experimentum: for the better or for the worse of humanity.

I. The scope of the problem. Now that the 20th century has ended and the 21st has begun, in terms of culture, thinking, political and social doctrine, tragic wars have broken out and so too have other conflicts with less physical violence. These new forms of rupture, featuring intellectual violence capable of changing the natural course of events, through the inoculation of ideas, manners and even habits, in fact cause, perhaps without blood, real social transformation; and also, ad experimentum.

All these movements – we are thinking of the rebellion of the “beat” generation, the hippy movement and even the revolution represented by the May 1968 events in France – have had some ingredients with the capacity to charm. The last “pacific” social rebellion movement in Spain is known as the movement of los indignados 15 M (due to the fact that it was created on May 15, 2011), which resulted in mobilisation against the established systems on October 15 of the same year. The overtones of the movement are clearly authoritarian – Marxist, fascist, Nazi, anti-European.

The doctrine of the Church is quite expressive and constant with respect to the dangers of man when he subscribes to an ideology, losing his freedom and, with it, the capacity for discernment. Warnings referring to the dangers of a long list of ideologies – theoretical or practical, doctrinal or factual – which we must bear in mind so as not to find ourselves, consciously or subconsciously, absorbed by their intrinsic political tendency. The dangers are many. It is sufficient to remember those associated with materialism, consumerism, hedonism, agnosticism, nihilism, relativism, laicism, racism, fundamentalism, messianism, totalitarianism, nationalism… on which the Popes have warned because they denigrate and diminish the human person, separating him from the path wished for by God, the path for which he was ultimately created.

Of the aforementioned terms, we shall allow ourselves to isolate one which is worth considering in greater detail, because it constitutes the essential part of this work. We are, naturally, referring to nationalism, that in Spain appears and disappears sequentially, in relation with other variables such as, for example, the weakness of central government.

The ambiguity of the term “nationalism”, at least in colloquial language, makes it advisable for us to make some reference to it. The Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy (Real Academia Española – RAE) – given that we are referring to Catalan nationalism – defines nationalism as “1. Fervent feeling of belonging to a nation, and identification with its reality and history. 2. Ideology of a people who, affirming their status as a nation, aspire to the constitution of the nation as a State”.[1]

The first of the two definitions provided by the Dictionary of the Spanish Language should not generate conflicts with the solidarity of a people, united by this sense of belonging to their nation and engagement with its values and history. Every member, without exception, feels himself to be a part of the nation as such and, regardless of how profound this feeling might be, it does not prevent each of the remaining members of the community from feeling their belonging with identical profundity. Nonetheless, the fundamental question regarding this definition revolves around what determines that identity, which, at a historical point in time, enabled the application of the gentilic term with which a people is identified, differentiating it from all other peoples on the globe.

Can a blood group – as suggested by the Basques – determine the elements of belonging to a human community? For others it will be the cultural legacy in abstract form, or continuity of collectively enrooted habits and customs, or simply the place in which one lives or the language in which one expresses oneself. Nonetheless, all this can exist without the members of a community feeling their identity in terms of their being and in the way of being. “A people is built by distinguishing itself from and asserting itself against others; and whether it goes on to acquire historic dimensions depends on its justified pretension to «be more» and not on its adherence to age-old ways of harvesting grain, of invoking the evil eye, or being less or more sober, suffering more or being prouder. It is not just psychological or external circumstances that give shape to a collective life, because what is decisive will always be the way in which the man positions himself in these circumstances, whether they be material or human”.[2]

It is, therefore, chimerical to speculate, as some historians do,[3] on the Greek and Roman origin of the Catalans, given that the Greeks, with a well-documented commercial spirit, set up two ports in the northern Mediterranean of the Iberian Peninsula – Ampurias (Emporion) y Rosas (Rhode) – around 500 BC, and at the end of the third century BC in the case of the Romans. Current-day Catalans have nothing to do with those Greeks, in the same way that the Spain of today has nothing to do with the Roman Hispania. Hispania was exactly that, i.e., Roman, and, therefore, not Spanish.

In other words, being Spanish, Italian, French or German is not determined by a geographic factor, but rather by the fact of sharing in the first person and consciously forming part of an identified community, in addition to the gentilic terms commonly used, due to a desire of belonging that is irrefutably supported by the historic lines that define such terms. For this reason, there is neither a Celtic Spain nor an Iberian Spain, in the same way that the Goths and Visigoths were not Spanish either. In the words of Américo Castro, it can be stated that “True Spain has been, what for me is, a splendid combination of humanity, made up of three castes simultaneously, based on the fact of the person being Christian, Moorish or Jewish, and divided… in three faiths, in three ambitious struggles, in a succession of agreements and ruptures”.[4]

This confluence of the three castes, conceived in its origin from the perspective of harmonic co-existence, more due to necessity than civic ideals would, sooner or later, lead to conflict between them. It was obvious that the three castes needed each other, if only due to, long before the term was used in economic doctrine, what much later would become known as division of labour. A division built on an incipient specialisation in the production tasks of towns belonging to each of the three castes. A necessity that would eventually stimulate co-existence rather than conflict. For this reason, what we now call Spain and its people, the Spaniards, are the continuity of those Christians who suffered persecution, marginalisation and humiliation in long-past eras. This and none other would be, with the briefest possible description, the process that would forge the people we now call, because they were and they are, Spanish.

Neither are we far removed from the temptation, very common amongst Spaniards, who prefer to ignore what Spain was, and its determinants in the construction of what Spain is today. Far from sterile grandeur, but also with the responsibility arising from the silences that scorn what many within and outside the nation ponder with enthusiasm, our reflection must focus on where the raison d’être of the Spaniard is to be found in its most complete dimension. “To attempt to supress the past, adopting a head-in-the-sand attitude, is an inane and ineffective activity. To wish to recommence Spanish life starting from now, as if nothing had occurred previously, is another form of «scrambling» that only provides grounds for vain gesticulation…”[5]

It is fair to acknowledge that, in current times, more than a few Spaniards can be included in this group which tries, at all times, to construct Spain from scratch. Perhaps they are not ignorant of the historical background but they disown it and deliberately ignore it, so as not to be attracted by, and much less be in admiration of, the achievements associated with it. “Spain was not something that possessed a proprietary, fixed existence on which fell the occasional «influence» of Islam, as if it were a «trend» or the result of life in «those times». Christian Spain «was made» while it incorporated and ingrained within its life, that which forced it to create its links with Muslimism and Judaism”.[6]

A struggle which had its origins in a profound recognition of the reality of the life of three peoples, three castes, each with its religious direction, with its transposition of faith to activities of a temporal order, coexisting in a difficult balance of interests which would put an end to the predominance of the Christian world. This is the Spain, and these are the Spaniards, that give sense to that Spanish nationalism, which, in a neutral and descriptive manner, appears in our language.

It is certainly true that if we speak of a people who affirm their status as a nation, this should not pose problems either of identity or exclusivity, because the subject is the people, comprehensive of all its members. The situation is quite different when we place ideology as the foremost distinguishing feature of a people, in which case, the ideological identification is the differentiating mark which divides, excluding those who do not belong from those who make up the ideological school or caste. The final expression of the definition is highly clarifying, by establishing the purpose of this national identification, which is none other than the aspiration to the constitution of a State, in other words, to segregate itself from the historical framework and the framework of belonging in which it finds itself in order to constitute a new independent State; like it or not.

This type of nationalism, that of the second definition, with special emphasis on the final expression, which, although not general, is by no means exceptional in current times, presents a great diversity of situations. So much so that it is not surprising that countries with a long national tradition are experiencing secessionist nationalism – also known as separatism – in the same way that they would experience it if, a decade previously, they had been absorbed or annexed by another nation of greater power.

In Spain, we are speaking of a nation, and a people, with at least five centuries of common history, language, customs and institutions, although within these there may be appreciable differences which do not contradict the sense of community but, on the contrary, reaffirm it. With different levels of aggression and popular enthusiasm, we can speak of the cases, be they patent or latent, of Galicia, the Basque Country/Navarre (Euzkadi), Catalonia, more recently the Balearic Islands and perhaps, only perhaps, and to a lesser degree, Valencia. It may be asked if there is anything common in all these cases. Objectively, in all of these cases, albeit with different historical roots and intensity, there is a native language, in addition to Spanish or Castilian, which is the official language of all Spaniards.

The origin of this linguistic difference is far from being conceived as an instrument of differentiation. It is, rather, the logical result of a decadent evolution of the language that had characterised the culture and was used in the ordinary business of life, with great force and which had its heyday during the first four centuries of our era. Throughout this period, the Iberian Peninsula was an integral part of the Roman Empire. An empire which would undergo great changes with the introduction of Christianity.

From the linguistic perspective, Latin, at one time the undisputed language in both formal relations, as well as in legal and economic institutions, would begin to give rise to other romance languages, in such a way that, in the High Middle Ages – 8th to 11th centuries – “… languages derived from Latin were spoken throughout the Iberian Peninsula… But the cultured language continued to be Arabic or Latin, depending on the religion of the user”.[7] What in principle should be considered natural wealth, for which God should be thanked, became, many centuries later, an aggressive element of differentiation, capable of annulling the sense of wealth intrinsic to it. A differentiation which is manifested in the desire to prevent the use of the official language of Spain, by all means possible, in order to foster the use of local languages, through what has become known as positive discrimination in favour of the native local language.

The enthusiasm that nationalism deposits in this matter gives rise to the creation of a history of the language that is far removed from the patent reality of its use. It is quite true that such languages have been used by the people in their respective geographical territories, but there is an enormous gulf between going from that point to trying to establish that these languages constitute the nucleus on which the history, culture, literature and even the character of the people is based.

II. History, real or imaginary, the cause or the basis for secessionism. We have not accepted, at least without further comment, the thesis of not a few, who believe they are in a position to state that, in Spain, history is not conceived as a collective work, in which the leading role belongs to the people of Spain themselves. It is, however, true that we find features which, frequently, induce us to contemplate the historical phenomenon in a close cause/effect relationship, with relevant persons who participated in it. We are accustomed to relating historical legacy with specific actors, as if we were dealing with personal, individualised works. The Discovery of the New World (1492), the defeat of the Invincible Spanish Armada at the hands of the British Navy (1588), or the rising of the Spanish people against the Napoleonic forces (1808-1814) – War of Independence – end up being singularised in a few physical persons, with well identified names.

Given this situation, it seems logical to speak of the individualistic character of the Spanish. An individualism that will accept facts that appear acceptable, positive or negative – depending on the person behind them. The same forcefulness that was implemented to repel the Napoleonic army is used to rebel against a law considered to be unfair, with one’s personal criteria being used to determine the difference between fair and unfair. “Experience has taught us that in Spain, the observance of pragmatics and reformatory laws lasts a very short time; because any man makes it a matter of personal honour to contravene them, considering it a positive act of nobleness not to adhere to such holy laws, ordered in accordance with the most prudent, most learned and most serious senate in the world”.[8]

Américo Castro provides a more precise insight into Spanish individualism, saying that: “When the Spaniard is branded individualistic, we do not normally think in terms of artistic or creative individualism. The Briton who believed in free competition, free trade and division of labour was individualistic. In the case of the Spanish, one thinks more in terms of rebellious rejection of any rules, without attempting to help a different rule to prevail; i.e., one thinks more in terms of a separatism of the person”.[9] Indeed, it should be seen as a form of rebellion and, what is more, sterile rebellion, due to the lack of proposals. It is more a case of opposing all that does not coincide with oneself, with the concept of oneself being that which corresponds to the here and now. A large portion of the political populisms put forward in Spain, in recent times too, would correspond to this individualist-rebel, and would be represented by the old aphorism “after me, the deluge”.[10]

Can this egocentrism, this egomania, this separatism of the person be the basis on which to build political secessionism, emulsified with nationalist overtones? It seems impossible not to affirm that the absolutism of a person is, by its very nature, exclusive. Two absolute leaders cannot occupy the same space at the same time; they exclude each other, if we analyse the process of nationalist affirmation, with presupposed secessionism and, what is more, if we focus on the case of Catalonia with respect to Spain, given that it is at this moment the case that requires the most attention, on the part of both Spaniards and Europeans. When and how has Catalonia been independent of any superior power or authority and when did it lose its independence in exchange for subservience?

It would seem that the first reference in writing to Catalonia or what is Catalan was in the 12th century, with initial appellatives in Latin such as “Dux Catalanensis…” applied to Ramón Berenguer III, or locating “In Catalonia…” the endowments of Alfonso II to his spouse, or the proclamation, in a Peace and Truce Constitution of 1200, that the provisions had been “Constituit per totam Cataloniam”. Then, in the 13th century, albeit with different spelling, we find reference to Catalonia and Catalans in expressions such as “and they reached agreement, when they were in Catalonia, on who would feed us, and they all agreed that the Master of the temple in Monzón would provide food…”[11] Or, in the same work, but with a different spelling, in texts such as: “And, after that, we entered Aragon and Mr. G. de Moncada would meet us in Cathalunya… And had it not been for the food they brought on the advice of the people from Aragon who were with us, who provided food with the money of the Aragon people in Moncada, and the Catalans who brought food from Barcelona, we would have had nothing to eat in three days”.[12]

From what has been said, it can be affirmed that in thirteenth-century Catalonia, Latin continued to be the cultured language, used fundamentally in legal and ecclesiastical documents, while Catalan was the language of vulgar use. There is, therefore, nothing surprising in the fact that James I The Conqueror, King of Aragon, of Mallorca and of Valencia, and Count of Barcelona, of Urgell and Lord of Montpellier, would use the Catalan language to transmit the narratives-chronicles of the outstanding events of his conquests because, despite that fact that he was a person of great culture in his era, it is no less true that he was illiterate, meaning that he required a scribe and was not able to use Latin. Moreover, prior to the Reconquista, Catalonia or, more precisely, the old Roman Tarraconensis, suffered a number of vicissitudes, which destroyed – at the hands, for example, of the Muslims – most of what little had been built.

It is reasonable to consider a question, one unlikely to find consensus but crucial in the attempt to determine to what degree Catalonia, Catalunya o Cathalunya, had, at that time, the sense of being a unit, with a common destiny, with a common way of being or personality, common customs or behaviours that would identify it as a community with its own life. If, in the opinion of Américo Castro, one cannot speak of Spain until the reign of the Catholic Kings and even until the reign of Emperor Charles I of Spain and V of the Holy Roman Empire, because of the absence of common belonging conscience, it would seem daring, with the same criteria, to invest Catalonia with the status of national unity prior to the Reconquista, and also subsequent to that great event.

In fact, only from the reign of Emperor Charles I, who, in 1521, would appoint Don Pedro Folch de Cardona, Archbishop of Tarragona and ecclesiastical representative of the General Council of Catalonia, can it be considered that all the territories that make up the Catalonia of the Counts began to operate and be governed as a harmonious unit, i.e., in more modern language, as a single region, without losing sight of the fact that the Viceroy was appointed by the Emperor and not by a body or institution of inferior rank, meaning that dependence was demonstrated and guaranteed. Until that time, it would be more correct to speak of the Catalonia of the Counts, each with his own government. This is clearer still if we go into the origin of these counties at the end of the 8th century. They were created by the Carolingian Empire for the purpose of halting the advance of the Muslim conquest, which by the year 720 extended throughout a large part of Gaul.

A Carolingian monarch – Charles the Bald – would first appoint Wilfredo el Velloso (Wilfred the Hairy) as Count of Cerdeña and of Urgell (870), and later appoint him Count of Barcelona and Gerona (878); all territories under the monarch’s control. It was in the 10th century that these counties would avail of the decline and weakening of the Carolingian Empire, both as a result of civil wars, in order to initiate a process of independence from the Empire of which they formed part. This independence would inevitably lead to a feudal structure of society and power, which would convert the people, agrarian and free up to then, into a community of lords and vassals; a transformation process which could not take place without wars and conflicts.

The main characteristic of this feudal economy, “… is found in the link between jurisdiction and property… the feudal lord is simultaneously the businessman, the administrator of justice and the man who has the cultivation system and the sales system at his disposal. Ultimately, he organises all economic production in the territory under his jurisdiction. The feudal lord acquired with the passing of time the resource of minting coin in his own name, meaning that he could, at any time, deceive his subjects. Even disregarding the ominous moral condition, with the exception of slavery, feudalism has been the greatest hardship known to humanity”.[13]

Of all the counties, it was the county of Barcelona which had greatest prevalence, due, on the one hand to royal concessions – the beneficiary of which was Wilfredo el Velloso (Wilfred the Hairy) – and, on the other to the result of matrimonial ties or the violent expansion of domains by means of war and annexation. King Alfonso VII of León and Castile also attempted to imitate this euphoria for feudalism.

Despite the aspiration towards disintegration, an event occurred in the contrary sense with the marriage in 1150 of Petronila – daughter of Ramiro II of Aragon (the Monk) and Inés de Poitou – to Ramón Berenguer IV, Count of Barcelona, Gerona, Osona and Sardinia – son of Ramón Berenguer III and Douce I of Provence – which served “… to integrate the Crown of Aragon, because the son of the couple, Alfonso II (1162-1196), could become the King of Aragon and Count of Barcelona”.[14] That conquering spirit, dormant during the reign of Alfonso II, would become revitalised with great force under James I, the Conqueror, who, following a long period of sterility and internal conflict, would take the Crown of Aragon (1227) and, with it, all the power, thus commencing his considerable activity in terms of taking over new territories. To what point would the power of James I extend, as King of Aragon, of Mallorca and of Valencia, and, at the same time, Count of Barcelona, of Urgell and Lord of Montpellier?

According to Emilio Suñé, the successors of Ramón Berenguer IV, i.e., “… beginning with Alfonso II (1164), used, in first place, the title King of Aragon, for the simple reason that royal dignity is of higher rank that that of countship; but they never governed in Catalonia as Kings of Aragon, nor would it have been feasible for them to do so. They governed in their capacity as counts, as Count of Barcelona, for example, and with full respect for Catalan political institutions”.[15]

What we have just said seems difficult to believe, particularly bearing in mind the decline of the Catalan nobility in the 8th century. To the degree that, in that period, “The nobles of the Crown of Aragon would obtain from Peter III the General Privilege, a cause of dissent in the following years, but which would mark the high point of the potential of the nobility of Aragon and Valencia. There was no such case with respect to the Catalan nobility as their social importance was always minimal. The nobility of Aragon and Valencia would oppose the King until Peter IV defeated them in a pitched battle in the middle of the 14th century”.[16] It was very relative independence. And for this reason, if, in the era of Peter IV, the Catalan nobility had, for reasons of securing autonomy and power, opposed the wishes of the King, they would have met the same fate as the nobility of Aragon and Valencia.

If we leap forward to the end of the 15th century, we find a very eloquent testimony to the power of the King with respect to any other social body or class. Ferdinand II of Aragon, known as Ferdinand the Catholic, faced with powerful opposition in the Court of the Kingdoms of the Crown of Aragon, “… imposed his will upon them by legal means, having recourse to the system of sortition for the designation of commissions and even for the constitution of the Permanent Council or Generalitat”.[17]

Also noteworthy is the presence from the 12th century of the King of Aragon in the enactment of laws in his territories, both in terms of the preamble as in the final sentence. A good example is provided by the text of the Fontaldara Courts of 1173, which begins as follows: “Constitution peace and truce by King Alfonso I King of Aragon in Fontaldara. The guardianship of divine and human things corresponds to nobody but the prince, and nothing should be more proprietary of the good and just prince than to condemn injustices, calm wars, organise and sustain peace, and train subjects in order to conserve it so that, by virtue of it, they cannot say and proclaim incongruities… I Alfonso, hereby…to all we order assent and will, to all, both clergymen and laymen, that in my land they will continue to know truce and peace…having them and observing them united together inviolably; and in order to conserve them, I summon those who violated them, by asserting and obliging”.[18]

Finally, it is worth wondering what can have happened between the 16th and 18th centuries to enable Catalonia to enjoy greater independence, when the structure of power in Spain was typical of absolute monarchies of the time.

III. The secular loss of independence, cause for grievance. The feeling of independence implies, supposedly, the capacity to decide without requiring the consent of any person or authority. When one wishes to speak of loss of independence, it is necessary to address a prior scenario: that of the status of independence. According to current Catalan nationalists/separatists, Catalonia was independent since before it became Catalonia; something which we acknowledge to be truly complex.

This situation continued in the 13th century and well into the 14th century, when, as we have outlined above, the Catalan nobility continued to have very little social importance.[19] Similarly, it also difficult to accept the pretension of Catalan independence from the time of the Catholic Kings and during the centuries of monarchy of the House of Habsburg, becoming dependent with the arrival in Spain of the House of Bourbon. All of these were, as corresponds to the period, absolute monarchies.

More than a few authors,[20] given the interest of others in distinguishing between the absolutism of the House of Austria and the House of Bourbon – considering the two great European monarchical houses – only recognise a single dimension: absolutism, and in the opposite extreme, parliamentarianism; i.e., absolute monarchies as opposed to parliamentary monarchies. Perhaps some respect pre-existing structures and institutions more than others, but, in the event of controversy or conflict, the monarch with greatest royal power – the absolute monarch – imposes his will. Given these circumstances, we would dare to state that Catalonia, with its counties, has never been independent, if by independence we mean the intangible faculty of decision-making over the jurisdiction itself.

It is easy to conclude that nationalist movements, which proclaim to be based on the so-called differential fact, would never prioritise the points which they establish as differentiation, if such differentiation was to be seen as having a negative value. The differential fact is used only to the degree that it can be upheld as positive differentiation. Américo Castro is eloquent in this respect: “My idea of castes, without another world but its consciousness of being so, perhaps explains, in particular, its singular history. The ruling caste believed that it could live alone, clinging to its feeling of being superior; at the same time, they noticed the irredeemable «vacuum» in which they were engulfed, on attempting to emerge from their personal enclosure… As opposed to the principle inherited from Greece that reality «is what it is», the Spaniard maintained that reality was what he felt, believed and imagined...”[21]

We believe that in this passage, the historian recreates the ingredients of nationalism, at least in Spanish territories. First of all, the awareness of belonging to a caste, to the point of distinguishing between Catalans and those who are not. The reason for being considered Catalan is not the fact of having been born in Catalan territory, or belonging to a multi-secular Catalan lineage, but rather belonging to the caste, which, in turn, is defined and acknowledged singularly by the caste itself. Secondly, the belief and feeling of being superior, since only this feeling is capable of conforming the core that we call caste, the differentiating element of affiliation, owing to superiority, which will be manifested, with notable clarity, in disdain for everything around it. And finally, the irredeemable vacuum of personal enclosure, since nothing exists which can be of interest, except his Nation. It is that affirmation of the condition of being of a higher caste which profiles the nationalist of the 16th century, and of the 20th and 21st centuries. The examples are clear. The dream of an empire that once was, at least in his imagination, but which will never again exist, has led to the proclamation, four times, of the independence of Catalonia.

IIIa). The alleged independence of Catalonia: from the 14th century to the end of the reign of the Catholic Kings. It is quite true that it was Queen María of Castile, lieutenant in the Court of Barcelona of her husband King Alfonso V, the Magnanimous, of Aragon, who first decreed in 1422, in said Court, what can be considered as the first protectionist provisions, prohibiting the importation of all types of foreign textiles, with a view to alleviating the difficult economic situation in Catalonia. The measure, and the Queen consort herself, was deserving of the acquiescence of the most conservative political party, and would gain significant impetus within the structure of an urban economy based on guilds and corporations. Thus, the Busca party “estimated that protectionism at any cost would save the Catalan economy from disaster”,[22] an error that would remain in the political vision of Catalan industry practically until the coming into force of the commitment associated with Spain joining the European Union. Moreover, in addition to this protection, which manifested itself in a ban on the importation of foreign textiles, in 1453 “…obtained from Alfonso the Magnanimous… through the by-laws of 1453… that no goods could board any vessel in any port of Catalonia or any vessel destined for Catalonia if it was not a Catalan vessel, whenever a ship under that flag was docked in the port. The only condition imposed was that of offering the same freight charges as those of foreigners in competition”.[23]

The result, however, was not as hoped. Greed and confrontation, would mean that the act of August 24, 1453 would never be applied due to the advent of the devastating effects for Catalonia of the Catalan civil war, which lasted for ten years, from 1462 to 1472, a conflict between the followers of King John II of Aragon and rebels against the King, led by the General Council of Catalonia and the Council of the Principality – Consell del Principat. Ten years of war and chaos, which would end with the triumph of King John II, following the surrender of Barcelona in 1472 and the subsequent Capitulation of Pedralbes. Regardless of what has been said, the signs of Catalan dependence to the Catholic Kings – or if one prefers, to Ferdinand II of Aragon – are more than evident, as are the signs of what was not the case, such as the alleged independence of Catalonia from the monarchs of the House of Habsburg, from Charles I until Charles II.

King Ferdinand the Catholic broadened the scope of paternal generosity to new and wider protectionist measures which put Catalonia, at least in the short term, in conditions of unequal competition with respect to the remaining territories of the Crown of Aragon. Ensuring the pacific enjoyment of the right to property, guaranteeing its social function,[24] is vital in order to channel the most sensitive areas of the economic and social system itself. From the time this principle came into effect, King Ferdinand the Catholic, with the agreement of the Court, enacted a Pragmatic Sanction in 1481 setting out the reimbursements that had to be made by those unjustly occupying property.

The aim of the Catholic King was to rectify infringements of the Law, which had been occurring for some time, to the satisfaction of the most powerful and to the detriment of the weak. Although it was an important measure, it was not significant enough to make everybody happy. It was not even seen unanimously by historians, who attribute the decline of Catalonia to the Catholic King. Due to the expressivity of the text, it is not easy to disregard the passage devoted by the historian J. Vicens to the matter and its interpretation by historians. He says: “It has been repeatedly said that the policy of Ferdinand the Catholic caused the collapse of the Catalan economy. This affirmation, made by the Catalan romantic history books, has been passed on in Castilian and foreign books. The truth is absolutely different: in the era of the Catholic Kings, there was economic recovery in Catalonia”.[25] Doubt cannot be cast on the fact that the monopoly of Catalan textiles in Sardinia, on the one hand, and the tariff protection from this long protectionist catalogue, sought to favour the economic growth of Catalonia and would have done so if all the events to hinder this had not occurred.

But the protectionist measures enacted by the Catholic King to defend the Catalan economy did not end in 1481. In 1491, an order was issued to prohibit the entrance of Genoese ships and ships from Nice from entering Catalan ports, meaning that imports were restricted, in fact, not just in terms of restricting the goods imported but also due to the difficulties created in maritime transport by the monopoly of Catalan vessels in Catalan ports. In addition to the aforementioned restrictions, and in order to protect the drapery industry in Catalonia, limits were placed on the export of wools – to the detriment of livestock farming – in order to guarantee the availability of raw materials of sufficient quality and in sufficient quantity. Despite the logical euphoria, in 1511, the King would permit the Catalans to put a tax of 50% on any type of imported non-Catalan product – goods or merchandise. This tax was also applicable in the northern African ports of Bejaia and Oran (both in Algeria) and Tripoli (Libya), following their conquest in the same year. In other words, Catalonia profited from importation of non-Catalan products, in this case, in non-Catalan ports.

In addition to combating corruption and inefficiency in all that was related to the issuing and distribution of money, as well as the stability of its value, in 1481 the King established a monetary base, which would enjoy the greatest support in the international market, in the city of Valencia, then the financial capital of Spain; we are speaking of the excelente or excelent, the equivalent of the Venetian Ducat. After the creation of the excelent, there was no further necessity to create other coins, which would inevitably circulate in the same markets. Nonetheless, just twelve years later (1493), the King established another monetary base in Catalonia, the principat, equivalent to the Valencian excelent and, consequently, equivalent also to the Venetian Ducat. We can see no reason for the monetary duplication implied by this concession, except because of the envy caused by the excelent, given that they were two coins of identical value, issued with the support of the same monarch. These facts impede acceptance of the thesis of Catalan independence and, if there was no independence, it was, therefore, impossible to lose it.

IIIb). The idyll of Catalan Independence: the monarchies of the Habsburgs. The house of Habsburg – House of Austria – was undoubtedly one of the royal houses with the most power and amongst those which reigned for longest in Europe. Their reign in Spain began with Charles I of Spain and V of Germany in March 1516 and would end with the death, without an heir, of Charles II in November 1700. It is worth remembering that the constitutional framework of the monarchy, which had been created by the Catholic Kings, was in essence maintained during the 16th and 17th centuries. Having said that, it cannot be overlooked that “During the period of the first three Habsburgs, some reforms were introduced with a view to reinforcing monarchical absolutism. These reforms fundamentally consisted of the development of the Polysynodial System or System of the Councils… and in a reduction of the powers of the Courts… With Charles I… a single administrative structure was implemented in the area of the old kingdoms… Above all, since that time, there have been common institutions: a single chancellor, a Council of State, a Council of War, a Governor General”.[26]

It was evident that the monarchical absolutism that the aforementioned reform sought to reinforce was at every point incompatible with recognition of the prior independence of the Spanish kingdoms. Quite another thing was, as a gesture of mutual understanding, to recognise a certain degree of autonomy, provided that this did not enter into conflict with the objectives of the monarchy, and, more importantly still, with the objectives of the empire. Thus, in 1555, the Courts of Valladolid requested that “what is provided for in the Courts can only be revoked in the Courts”, to which Emperor Charles I of Spain and V of the Holy Roman Empire gave the single response that “in this matter, what is best for our service shall be done”.[27]

It would seem very daring to us to say that “… Catalonia never belonged to Spain… We shared the same monarchy; but the institutions of government of the different Kingdoms, Counties, Principalities and Seigniories continued to function separately”.[28] If Catalonia did not belong to Spain, to whom did it belong? Catalonia always benefitted from the favours of the King, as we have described previously in the protectionist policy implemented by Ferdinand the Catholic, and would always be present in royal, and non-royal, decisions, throughout a long period of history, which has yet to conclude. To suppose that the Habsburg monarchs had a split personality, very rigid and intolerant with Castile, Leon, Navarre, and with Andalusia… and very tolerant with Portugal, Aragon, Sardinia, Sicily, Naples…, is tantamount to representing them as lacking in criteria and unconcerned about the great objectives of the monarchy of a nation which, indisputably, was united since Charles I.

The same authors who affirm this dual style of government by the Habsburgs, depending on the territory over which they reigned, do not hesitate to affirm, in a matter involving Philip II – related to the arrest of his secretary, Antonio Pérez – “the charters of Aragon suffered from that clash. Philip II reinforced royal authority in Aragon; although he did not at any time adopt a hostile attitude to the charters. He limited his actions to convening the Courts of Aragon in Tarazona, with the troops still present (1592), and pressed for modification of the charters in a manner that would bring them into line with his aims”.[29] I do not know of any more hostile attitude that can be adopted by a monarch than violating the constitutional order. In 1570, prior to this forced reform, the King had suspended many of the privileges conceded to and enjoyed by the city of Barcelona, in an evident act of absolutist authoritarianism – not one of tolerance. These privileges would remain suspended for almost thirty years, prior to being restored by Philip III in 1599.

After the reigns of Charles I and Philip II, which featured an abundance of wars and conflicts, Philip III, less warlike than his father Philip II, would adopt pacification as an objective. Of lesser importance, if we consider the ferociousness of the fighting, were the wars within Catalonia between lords and vassals. We cannot forget the opinion offered by Vicens Vives on the relationship between the two social classes in the feudal regime prior to the Reconquest: “… feudalism has been the hardest thing, with the exception of slavery, endured by working humanity”.[30]

In addition to the frequency of the conflicts, the Habsburgs, with the exception of Charles I of Spain and V of the Holy Roman Empire, were truly chaotic for what was placed under their domain and competences: the management of public affairs. The financial history of Spain, from Philip II to Carlos II is one of permanent monetary instability. We are speaking of almost one hundred and fifty years in which, the volume of spending to finance the wars was far in excess of the revenues entering the public coffers. Given this fact, there were only two solutions: one was the bankruptcy of the State and the other was monetary devaluation, caused by inflationary processes. The fact is that during the reign of Philip II, Philip III, Philip IV and, to a lesser degree, Charles II, the Spanish state went bankrupt with unusual frequency. It went bankrupt three times during the reign of Philip II (1557, 1575 and 1597) and every twenty years during the reigns of Philip III and Philip IV (1607, 1627, 1647 and 1656).

With that in mind, it is not foolish to say that the admired Spanish monarchs of the house of Austria, according to Catalan historians and politicians, due to their tolerance and good governance, were, first and foremost, absolute monarchists, who rode roughshod over the statutes in Aragon, for example, obliging the Courts to modify, under pressure, their content in order to satisfy royal objectives; and, with respect to good governance, this can hardly be accepted following what we have just said. Vicens would correctly point out that after the violent deflation of 1664, followed by the inflation of the seventies and the crisis of 1680, “… the Crown was drifting aimlessly, and by the Crown is meant the circle of courtiers who were only concerned about knowing whether Charles II would leave the legacy of the Spanish empire to France or to Austria”.[31] Inflation, deflation, crisis… and the crown, in all cases, drifting aimlessly, was the most suitable climate to exacerbate Catalan separatism. The reign of Philip IV would not take place in a period of roses either. In fact, his reign began in 1621, three years after the commencement of the Thirty Year’s War (1618). A reign, with a devastated Treasury, a great number of tax increases and continuous petitions for so-called donations, which ended in strong resistance from taxpayers.

Resistance was especially notable in “… the case of the countries of the Crown of Aragon, whose contribution to the general expenditure was tiny. Royal revenues in Valencia were limited to certain properties and duties, almost all of medieval origin… In Aragon and Catalonia, most of the duties charged on merchandise were in the power of the cities or private citizens; the Crown had the right to one fifth of taxes, but they had allowed this right to fall into disuse, and when Philip III claimed this right from the city of Barcelona… he met with obstinate refusal…”[32]

Especially notable is the rebellion of Catalonia in 1640, which would lead to the first, failed pronouncement of an independent Catalan Republic, which hardly saw the light of day. Its remote origin was in the attempt of the Count-Duke of Olivares – in other words, ultimately the attempt of Philip IV, in this context of such diverse conflicts in territories that were so different, to achieve a union of arms, with which to increase defensive capacity. With great doubts and reluctance, Aragon and Valencia accepted the proposal of the monarchy (Courts of 1626), while Catalonia responded, on two occasions, to the petitions of the Crown with adamant refusal, which would lead to the aforementioned rebellion of Catalonia of 1640; known as the Reaper’s War – or Guerra dels Segadors.

This is the opinion of, among others, “modern researchers, such as John Elliot and Reglá [who] see in the incidents of 1626 [Courts of Monzón] and 1632 [second failed attempt by the Crown], the intransigent and condescending attitude of the Catalans and the irritation this caused the King and his Prime Minister, the undoubted precedent for the events of 1640”.[33] Apart from the logical euphoria of nationalists/separatists for an independent Catalan Republic, we wonder whether it is not economic reasons, rather than love of one’s the country, that underlie these various ther pronouncements, right through to the pronouncement that is currently awaiting a legal outcome in the political arena, which at the time of writing these lines is still sub judice.

The Catalan Courts of 1632… also resulted in a failure: “… The course of events is moving quickly: French military pressure and the Leucate campaign of 1637, billets in the Principality and armed revolt of Catalan peasants; from the moderation of the Barcelona oligarchy to the radicalism of the gentlemen and clergy of the mountain – Pau Claris, canon of Urgell, is elected President of the General Court – and a swing in Madrid, where the extremists… accuse Olivares of weakness. From radicalisation to war, there was no more than a step”.[34] Those who fought for the cause, each for his own cause, were the radicals of the court of Philip IV and, on the other side, the gentlemen of the mountain who had been rendered bankrupt by the most recent events. The revolt of the latter, in turn, determined the response of third parties, whilst attracting terrorist activity against the high bourgeoisie and the aristocracy, beginning with the Corpus de Sang (June 7, 1640 – Corpus Christi – the Reaper’s War began).

In this situation, on January 16, 1641, the General Meeting of Arms of Catalonia accepted the proposal of Pau Clarís and proclaimed the Catalan Republic, according to what is said, in order to put an independent Catalonia under the protection of the King of France, thereby aligning itself with the other party (France) in the war that this country had been fighting against Spain since 1635. Only hatred for what is Spanish could lead to the ratification of an independence that consisted of putting Catalonia under the protection of a new French monarch, Louis XIII, of the House of Bourbon. Just one week after this proclamation, on January 23, 1641, the States-General once again accepted a proposal from Pau Clarís which went further than what had been agreed days earlier. The new proposal consisted of accepting Louis XIII of France as the new monarch of the independent Catalan Republic that had been proclaimed seven days previously. The French monarch, owing to this position, would become Count of Barcelona, of Roussillon and of a large part of Sardinia, and independent Catalonia would submit – a strange concept of independence – to the sovereignty of the French monarch.

After the conclusion of the Thirty Years’ War (1648), Philip IV had well-trained troops available for the war, enabling him to take up the pending matter with Catalonia again. In this sense, the troops of Philip IV, who in 1649 had advanced in a significant matter on Catalonia, allowed John Joseph of Austria (the Younger) to lay siege to Barcelona (1651), which led to the General Council recognising Philip IV as King and the City of Barcelona to surrender under siege on October 11, 1652 – thereby bringing an end to the Reapers’ War. The Treaty of the Pyrenees (November 7, 1659) would finally put an end to a war between France and Spain. As part of the treaty, Catalonia was mutilated, as the territories of Roussillon and part of Sardinia were divided and became part of France. The result could not have been more eloquent: seven days of an independent republic, which required a civil war – realists against separatists – humiliation before the French, admitting their sovereignty, the Catalan defeat by troops of the Spanish Crown, and the loss of historical territories of the Principality of Catalonia, which would become part of France under Louis XIV, the Sun King; a very high price paid by Spain and also by the Catalan separatist spirit, which should not be forgotten.

The House of Austria’s reign ended in Spain with the death, without heirs, of Charles II, son and successor to Philip IV. Charles II reigned in Spain from 1665 to 1700. In our opinion, the death of Charles II the Bewitched is more interesting historically than his actual life. The interest revolves around the fact that, on his death, the War of the Spanish Succession would break out in Spain. This ended up being a war between Spanish territories, although what was being disputed was, simply, the succession to the Crown of Spain. In this case, moreover, in his will, the deceased monarch designated, as his heir to the throne of Spain, Philip of Anjou, son of Louis Le Grand Dauphin of France, grandson of Louis XIV and great-grandson of Philip IV of Spain, in preference to Archduke Charles of Austria.

IIIc). Catalonia under the Bourbon monarchies: from the Nueva Planta Decrees to current times. In these circumstances, the arrival of Philip V in Spain could initially be described as problematic, to say the least. Not at all surprising, given the manner in which he had been designated and the controversy between the two royal houses: the House of Habsburg and the House of Bourbon. The attitude of Catalonia was surprising; firstly, due to their initial acceptance of Philip V, even though he had sworn loyalty and commitment to maintaining the charters, many Catalans found reasons to grant him their vote of confidence. However, very soon, those who had decided to put the Principality under the French sovereignty of King Louis XIII, in 1641, found an authoritarian and centralist monarch from the House of Bourbon to be unacceptable. This opposition would give rise to a radical division of Spanish territories based on acceptance of the Bourbon monarch, Philip V – a very clear decision in favour in the old kingdoms of Castile and Navarre – while, in other cases, such as in the kingdom of Aragon, there was a majority in favour of the enthronement of Archduke Charles.

A new era began, with two clearly differentiated blocks: the victors and the vanquished, with, as might be expected, very different treatment afforded to the two groups. The most evident manifestation of the intentions of the new monarch would be legally reflected in the Nueva Planta Decrees, – Aragon and Valencia (June 29, 1707), Mallorca (November 28, 1715) and Catalonia (January 16, 1716), which abolished historic institutions in these territories. Once again, we had wars for a cause destined to failure. The Duke of Berwick arrived in Barcelona on July 7, 1714 and the instructions he had received from Philip V “… left no room for doubt: «They deserve to be subjected to the maximum rigour in accordance with the law of war, so that this can serve as an example to all my other subjects…». The measures applied included the following: 4th That they will pay the costs of the war… 6th That… all buildings sited within the limits of this city will be subject to the payment of a perpetuity with an annual census of… 7th That there will be no further talks of privileges or special rights (usajes)… Subsequently, he refers, angrily, to «these rebellious people who, in addition to resisting my rule, presented the most vivid petitions in all the foreign courts to create new problems for me and, if it had been possible for them, to incite a war throughout Europe»”.[35] It might appear that Philip V was speaking of the Catalonia of the 21st century.

While some considered that these consequences were the logical result of being on the losing side in a war, others, on the boundaries of reality, adopted a rebellious attitude to what they considered the unjust measures adopted by the victors. An attitude that continues to exist today, in the belief that defeat is sufficient in itself without entailing future consequences with respect to self-government. The error ensues from what each person thinks and desires. It may not coincide with what is fair, what is advisable and, on occasion, not even with what is possible.

With respect to this anguish of Bourbon Spain – in the opinion of Catalan neoforalists – there are opposite opinions, such as that of professor Vicens, when he says that: “The House of Bourbon established itself in Spain in 1700. This fact does not only have implications of a dynastic or political nature, but of a vaster order, because the establishment culminated a period of French influence that began in the middle of the 17th century. The French influx, manifest in intellectuality, fashion, taste, technique and the economy, tends to fill the void left in Spain by the failure of the policy of the House of Austria”.[36]

It would seem, therefore, that we had before us a new model of Spain, sacrificing old atavisms, but with an aperture to a new world of a different type and, therefore, with the risk of not being accepted by those for whom any change is change for the worse. The situation was described with foresight by Domínguez Ortiz: “Prior to the 18th century, Spain was a geographic expression without political content. The loss of the European domains outside the Peninsula can be said to have created Spain as a defined political entity; since then, even without abandoning the ostentatious traditional titling, there was a king of Spain… a perfect adaptation was established between the popular and official meaning of the word and, with the addition of the two archipelagos, the map of Spain was established with the features is still preserves. Smaller than the Empire, larger than Castile, Spain, the most exalted of the creations of our 18th century, leaves behind its nebulous status and acquires solid and tangible contours”.[37]

The 18th century was also replete with conflicts in Spain, some of them with the notable involvement of Catalonia. The century began with the War of Independence (1808-1814) against the Napoleonic armies, in which Spain was supported by its allies, the United Kingdom and Portugal. While it would seem that there were two clearly defined warring factions, the fight against France became internalised within the Spanish nation itself, between two groups of Spaniards, the patriots and the Francophiles. In this regard, Catalonia was no different from the rest of the nation. The War of Independence was followed by three Carlist wars, the first from 1833 to 1840, the second from 1846 to 1849 and the third from 1872 to 1876. The three wars revolved around the same conflict, which, like the War of the Spanish Succession, was also a dynastic conflict, in this case involving two pretenders: the Princess of Asturias, who would finally be crowned Queen Isabella II of Spain, and Prince Carlos, Count of Montemolin – known as Charles IV by his followers. The confrontation divided the Spanish into Elizabethans, the followers of Isabella II, and Carlists, the followers of Prince Carlos, Count of Montemolin. The supporters of one or the other were very unevenly distributed throughout the national territory, with the Carlists mainly concentrated in the Basque provinces, Navarre and the old Crown of Aragon.

Cataluña played a special part in the second war, which, in the principality was given the name Guerra dels Matiners, because it took place mainly in Catalonia, with the peculiarity that the popular rising reached very significant levels, much higher than those of the rest of Spain. But once again, Catalonia fought, to put it one way, on the side of the Carlist pretender, which would finally prove to be the losing side.

Apart from wars, the 19th century, the second century of Bourbon monarchy, had begun with a determined swing towards liberty, formalised in the proclamation of the Spanish Constitution of 1812 in Cadiz on March 19. This would have inevitable consequences for economic activity, resulting in the centres of economic power seeking to consolidate their aspirations. If the monarchs of the House of Austria had accentuated the protectionism of the Catholic Kings, this unfortunate policy was maintained and even intensified in the two centuries of Bourbon rule. By the end of the century, it can be affirmed that the origins and ideologies of the subjects were of little importance, because the aim of protecting private economic interests was capable of uniting what ideologies had kept them divided in previous times. When an unfavourable scenario emerged, the difficulties began, to the point where “… in this atmosphere was published… the decree of December 31, 1891, ratifying the new tariffs… However… the loss of the colonies obliged Spain to defend itself, and it was not surprising that a decidedly protectionist tariff was imposed on March 3, 1906”.[38] This tariff was the frame of reference, the guide for Spanish trade policy, from the beginning of the 20th century until the slight opening up of the economy during the period of Spanish developmentalism – 1960s – and, as a final point – although the affirmation may seem drastic, protectionism did not end until we joined the European Union – June 12, 1985.

At the end of the 19th century, Catalonia would be involved in an event which, although it did not have consequences, could have had quite undesirable results. On this occasion, the Barcelona Provincial Council proclaimed the Catalan State, within the Federal Spanish Republic (March 9, 1873). Moreover, it urged a further three Provincial Councils to form part of the recently proclaimed State, but the concept did not materialise. Despite the frustration, Catalans retained the will to achieve a Catalan State/Republic, whilst Spaniards had the desire to achieve a new Spanish Republic. The latter desire would be achieved through the proclamation of the Second Republic – April 14, 1931 – which would have three Presidents in a period of almost eight years, practically the last three of which (July 18, 1936 to March 31, 1939) would be set against the background of a bloody civil war amongst Spaniards. If the republican idea of Spaniards materialised on April 14, 1931, with the aforementioned proclamation, the desire amongst Catalans for a Catalan State would find an advocate in Francesc Macià. On the same day as the proclamation of the Spanish Republic in Madrid, Macià, from the balcony of the Catalan parliament building, proclaimed the “Catalan State, which, with all due cordiality, we will seek to integrate in the Federation of Iberian Republics”.

The legal and political manner in which that Catalan State was born lacked any legality or legal basis, for which reason, it was dissolved three days subsequent to its proclamation – April 17, 1931. What the proclamation of the Catalan State by Macià does reveal to us is the opportunism in terms of availing of the weakness of the Spanish government. We had already experienced it in the proclamation of Canon Pau Clarís, which occurred during a difficult period of war with France. The dissolution of the Catalan State, three days after its proclamation, was clearly the most advisable response. Following the death of Macià – December 31, 1933 – Lluis Companys became President of the Catalan Government. Not a year had passed when, on October 6, 1934, he proclaimed – from the balcony of the Palace of the Catalan Parliament – the Catalan State, within the Spanish Federal Republic, which, in itself, implies the first error of the proclamation, because the Spanish Republic had not been constituted as a Federal Republic. It had been constituted as a “Democratic Republic of workers of all classes, organised in a regime of Liberty and Justice (Article 1-1)”. And, moreover, the proclaimed Catalan State did not have a place within the Integral State of the Republic, as is established below: “The Republic constitutes an Integral State, compatible with the autonomy of Municipalities and Regions (Article 1-3)”[39] but, surely, incompatible with the sovereign Catalan State aspired to.

Therefore, following the proclamation of the Catalan State on October 6, the President of the Regional Government was arrested the following day – October 7, 1934 – remaining in prison until January 7, 1935, when he was taken to the Model Prison in Madrid to be tried by the Court of Constitutional Guarantees. On June 6, 1935, Lluis Companys and the members of his government were sentenced to imprisonment in conditions of maximum security, and perpetual disqualification from holding public office. On January 2, 1935, the Spanish Parliament had passed an Act suspending the Statute that had created the Catalan State. On February 21, 1936, the government of the Frente Popular (Popular Front)[40] managed to get the Permanent Council of the Spanish Parliament to pass a decree of amnesty, which was immediately applied, thereby enabling all those convicted to be freed. On January 24, 1939, Companys went into exile in Paris, where he set up a Catalan government in exile. He stayed in Paris until his arrest and extradition to Spain. After being tried, he was sentenced to execution by firing squad, which was carried out on October 15, 1940.

During the period of Francoism, separatism – if it existed – was kept under cover, with manifestations more of a doctrinal nature than a politically active one, and in circles which, if not secret, were, at least, reserved, although these manifestation could, on occasion, take place in monastic environments, in which it was more conflictive for the regime to intervene, even in compliance with the laws.

The democratic period began and was endorsed by the Spanish Constitution of 1978, which came into being through a Referendum on December 6 of the same year with a large majority: 67.1% of the electorate voted in the referendum, with 87.9% in favour of the Constitution.

It should be pointed out, bearing in mind what is of interest to us, that if we break down the figures we have just mentioned, with respect to Catalonia, the figures were: a turnout of 67.9% of the electorate – slightly above the average for Spain as a whole – with 90.5% of the votes in favour – 1.2 percentage points above the average for Spain. In other words, the Spanish Constitution of 1978 was in no way whatsoever a constitution imposed upon the nation, and the theory that it was imposed upon Catalonia is even less acceptable.

In the years between the endorsement of the Spanish Constitution – December 6, 1978 – and the present day, there have been a number of Presidents of the Government of Catalonia, each with their own personal characteristics and political projects, which they have attempted to undertake in the manner believed to represent best the commitment given to the electorate. In general terms, all the Presidents have placed emphasis on the so-called differential fact distinguishing Catalonia from the rest of Spain (or from Spain, according to them). Many of them have availed of the differential fact to obtain unjustified favourable treatment, more often than not originating from the weakness of the governments of the Spanish nation. Moreover, the favourable treatment dispensed in the area of public spending, subsidies for investment and protection of economic activity, continues to be dispensed at the present time.

What are the reasons for this favourable treatment? In the opinion of the Governments of Spain, it is to halt separatist eagerness. The real result is the separatist Process, or Procés (in Catalan). The process towards independence has its origins in a programme which began in 2006, mainly triggered by the passing in the Spanish Parliament of a new Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia – it was passed by the Senate on May 10, 2006 – the text of which had to be ratified by the Catalan people in a referendum to be convened at an opportune time. The date set for this referendum was June 18, 2006. Along with the logical proclamations of any election campaign, there was abundant populism, promises that were impossible to keep, on the part of political leaders.

One of these promises, due to its importance, is deserving of special consideration. We are referring to the speech, on November 13, 2003, of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, candidate for the position of Prime Minister of the Government of Spain for the elections of March 14, 2004, supporting the leader of the PSC – Catalan Socialist Party – José Montilla Aguilera, during a campaign event prior to the Regional elections of November 16, 2003. The phrase he should have avoided was: “I will support the reform of the Statute passed by the Catalan Parliament”, committing himself to and encouraging the separatist objectives of the most visible part of the Catalan people. The Referendum on the Statute of Catalonia was called with this enthusiasm, and was held on June 18, 2006. The results of the referendum were very distant from the expectations of those who had convened it. It is sufficient to summarise them by indicating that the turnout was just 48.85% of the electorate; those who voted in favour represented 36.10% of the electorate.

This notable failure, far from dissipating the idea of separatism, nurtured it and led to demonstrations, all of which revolved around a permanent motto: the right to decide. Literally, the proclamation would be “we are a nation and we have the right to decide” – in Catalan, “Som una nació i tenim el dret de decidir”. From that time until the most recent times, the political history of Catalonia and its relations with Spain has been replete with acts of public conflict, violent demonstrations and, also, of legal confrontation. Matters being such, on January 23, 2013 the Catalan Parliament declared Sovereignty, which is tantamount to saying independence. The Spanish Constitutional Court declared a precautionary suspension of the Catalan parliamentary Declaration and its effects. And, on March 14, 2014, the same Court ruled that the aforementioned Declaration of Independence was unconstitutional.

The demonstrations on the streets of Catalonia calling for independence continued and, in this atmosphere, the Parliament of Catalonia would pass the Consultation Act on September 19, 2014. This Act was published in the Official Gazette of the Government of Catalonia on September 27, 2014. Faced with this latest provocation, the Constitutional Court declared the precautionary suspension of the aforementioned Act. Once again, in the Catalan Parliament, the need for a Unilateral Declaration of Independence (DUI) was formulated. On November 4, 2014, the Government of Spain submitted a new appeal before the Constitutional Court, which was admitted and the Court, declared the precautionary suspension of the consultation. However, despite the suspension handed down by the Constitutional Court, the consultation was held five days later – on November 9, 2014. In this case, the questions featuring in the consultation did not hide the intentions behind them. There were two questions: “Do you wish Catalonia to be a State?”; if so, “Do you wish this State to be independent?”. The turnout was also very low in this case, just 37.02% of the electorate.

The President of the Regional Government decided to call early elections to the Catalan Parliament, thereby converting them into a plebiscite. These elections were held on September 27, 2015, and the 11th Legislature of the Parliament of Catalonia began on October 26, 2015. In its first session, Carmen Forcadell was elected Speaker of the legislative body. One day later (October 27), two parties – Junts pel Sí and CUP – submitted a proposal to formalise an aspiration to the Register of the Catalan Chamber: “To declare solemnly the commencement of the process of creating the independent Catalan State in the form of a republic”. On November 11, 2015, an appeal was submitted to the Constitutional Court, which on December 2, 2015 unanimously declared the proposal to be unconstitutional. This 11th Legislature saw the end of the period of Presidency of the Government of Catalonia of Artur Mas i Gavarró (23.12.2010 to 12.01.2016). He was succeeded in the Presidency by Carles Puigdemont i Casamajó (January 12, 2016 to October 28, 2017). His first work, if we might express it as such, was to begin the preparations for a new referendum, which could be envisaged as equally illegal as the previous consultation.

At the same time, work began on the Act of Legal and Foundational Transience of the Republic, which is nothing more than a class of draft Constitution of the Independent Republic of Catalonia (August-September, 2017). On the same day as this Bill was presented (September 6, 2017), the Catalan parliament passed the Self-determination Referendum Act, which would be binding with respect to the independence of Catalonia. Two days later (September 8, 2017), the Constitutional Court urgently suspended the validity of both the Act and the holding of the referendum. This was accompanied by a warning to public authorities, mayors and public officials that they could not participate in the aforementioned referendum. Finally, the Constitutional Court handed down a ruling on October 17, 2017, declaring the unconstitutionality of the aforementioned Act, which had been suspended ad cautelam.

Nonetheless, the decision to hold the referendum was a firm one, and so the multiple actions associated with its preparation continued to be carried out. The day itself was replete with irregularities: polling stations open, as opposed to closed or semi-open polling stations; unverified electoral registers, with the (at least theoretical) possibility that the same voter could vote at more than one polling station; open ballot boxes or ballot boxes without seals, and the absence of monitors to validate the process, meaning that an evaluation could not be made, due to the absence of verifiable data.

The referendum of October 1 was immediately declared illegal in Spain, and in the European Union. Despite this, on October 10, Carles Puigdemont declared the independence of Catalonia in the Catalan Parliament, although, moments later, he proposed suspending the effects of this declaration, a pretext to enable continuation of negotiations with the Government of Spain to create a suitable formula for separation. Despite the suspension proposed by the President of the Catalan Government, the parliamentary members of two separatist parties– CUP and Junts pel Sí – ignored the suspension and signed the Declaration of Independence of Catalonia, in a document that bore the title “Declaration of the representatives of Catalonia”. Significant passages are: “To the people of Catalonia and all the peoples of the world… WE MAKE KNOWN to the international community and the authorities of the European Union the constitution of the Catalan Republic… WE APPEAL to States and to international organisations to recognise the Catalan Republic as an independent, sovereign State…”.[41]

The Declaration was signed by the separatist majority of the Parliament of Catalonia, in the absence of the remaining political representatives. It is true, as far as we know, that no country or institution has recognised the aspired-to independent republic, at least to date. Finally, on October 27, the Catalan Parliament unilaterally declared independence, following a secret ballot – which generates doubts about the freedom of the voting procedure – resulting in 70 votes in favour and 10 against, with 2 parliamentary members casting blank ballot papers. The parliamentary members of the three parties considered to be constitutionalist – Partido de los Socialistas de Cataluña, Partido Popular and Ciudadanos – were absent for the vote. This declaration of independence is merely a sample of a process to achieve the long-desired independence that has been ongoing since the 17th century. We are, in reality, speaking of the fourth proclamation of Catalan independence: Pau Clarís (the first), Francesc Maçià (the second), Lluis Companys (the third), and Carles Puigdemont (the fourth), omitting the failed attempt of the Proclamation of the Catalan State by the Barcelona Provincial Council in 1873

The reaction of the Spanish Government was immediate and they sought the application in Catalonia of the provisions of article 155 of the Spanish Constitution. On the same day, October 27, 2017, the Senate, by absolute majority, agreed to give authorisation to the Government for the application of article 155 and the Spanish Cabinet, also on the same day, dismissed Carles Puigdemont and the entire Government of Catalonia from their respective posts. Also on the same day, the Cabinet dissolved the Spanish parliament and convened autonomous elections for December 21, 2017. There was a turnout of 80% of the electorate for the elections, with 47.49% (i.e., 37.99% of the electorate) of the votes being in favour of the separatist parties. Although it is sad to have to remind ourselves of the fact, just after the dismissal of the members of the government, some – the dismissed President and some autonomous ministers – would flee Spanish justice and reside abroad – in Belgium, Switzerland, Scotland/United Kingdom – while others would be prosecuted for different crimes, in a procedure in which, for those occupying the highest positions, the oral hearing would substantively commence before the Spanish Supreme Court on February 5, 2019.

While the penal process was underway, the new Catalan Parliament was constituted on January 17, 2018, with Roger Torrent being elected Speaker of the Chamber. A first attempt was made to propose Carles Puigdemont, who had fled to Belgium, as a candidate for the Presidency of the Catalan Government. The Court warned that for a candidate to be sworn in, the candidate had to be present in the Chamber and the Court further advised that, in the case of Carles Puigdemont, he would require the necessary judicial authorisation. The Speaker complied with the decision of the Constitutional Court and postponed the presidential election in the Chamber. On March 1, 2018, a second attempt was made, this time to propose Jordi Sánchez (who was in prison) as a candidate for the Presidency of the Catalan Government. In this case, the judge, Pablo Llarena, of the Supreme Court refused to grant a permit to enable Sánchez to attend the plenary investiture session. The Speaker once again postponed the election of the President. The third attempt (March 22, 2018) saw the proposal of Jordi Turull, but the necessary support was not forthcoming. Meanwhile, Judge Llarena sent Turull, a further three ex-ministers of the Catalan Government and the former Speaker of the Catalan Parliament, Carmen Forcadell, to prison. He also handed down an indictment bill for rebellion against Puigdemont, Junqueras and seven former regional ministers, in addition to Jordi Sánchez, Jordi Cuixart, Camen Forcadell and Marta Rovira. The remaining former regional ministers were prosecuted for crimes of disobedience and misappropriation of public monies; a further seven were prosecuted only for disobedience. The fourth attempt was also unsuccessful because the proposed candidate was, once again Jordi Sánchez, who had already been proposed in the second attempt. As could not possibly be otherwise, Judge Llarena, once again, refused to grant leave from imprisonment to Sánchez, meaning that the challenge laid down by the Catalan Parliament to the Spanish judiciary was, once again, ineffective. And, finally, at the fifth attempt, on May 14, 2018, the Catalan Parliament inaugurated, with a simple majority in favour, Joaquim Torra, a candidate selected by Puigdemont from Berlin, as President of the Government of Catalonia. The swearing in of Torra’s new government (June 2, 2018), put an end to the application of article 155 of the Spanish Constitution. Five attempts to inaugurate a President, of which four were nothing more than acts of provocation, on the part of the separatists, against the laws and decisions of the Courts of Justice.

IV. An approach from the perspective of the Social Doctrine of the Church. From all that has been said, and following the historical analysis undertaken, it would appear that there are sufficient reasons to affirm that the question of nationalism, even nationalism based on ideological elements, and violent at several times throughout history, is not a passing, ephemeral social anecdote, but rather something encased in the maximum solidity, even if we simply take into consideration the struggles originating from it.

Although it may be a difficult matter to broach, an unknown factor remains on the table for debate: Can it be guaranteed that, in all the envisaged itinerary, the actors who defended Catalan nationalism/secessionism/separatism, and those who acted in defence of the unity of the kingdoms – first the kingdom of Aragon and later that of Spain – acted in the interests of the common good of the peoples affected, or can attitudes of hate, rancour, hunger for power, or class or group interests be observed? Subsequent to four proclamations of an independent Catalan Republic – the latest of which has still not been clarified –, we dare to ask, where is man? Or perhaps, and before anything else, what is man and what is society? Because, ultimately, without man and without society, it makes no sense to speak of nationalism, that makes demands, or of the supreme undertaking of national unity.

IVa). Man and society. The question regarding man had already been asked by Saint Augustine. “What is man? A rational soul, having a body… [Previously in the same book XIX, 15, he had said:] soul having body does not make two persons, but one man”.[42] In the Creation story, when he was about to finish, God said: “Let us make man in our own image, in the likeness of ourselves… God created man in the image of himself, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them” (Gn. 126-27)”. Therefore, man will be the only one of the beings created privileged to be the image of God and, in consequence, the owner of inalienable dignity, endowed with two gifts not given to other beings: rationality and freedom.

The former implies the capacity to distinguish between good and evil, and the latter manifests itself in the capacity to choose, in its natural state between different forms of good but, even, disowning himself, the capacity to choose evil rather than good, in the same way as he chose rebellion over mandate. When it seemed that all had been finished, the Lord God added: “It is not right that the man should be alone. I shall make him a helper…” (Gn. 218-19). Thus, man appears in his social dimension; man as a social and sociable being, from his origin; the man called on to share, called on to give of himself and benefit from the giving of others. Man is born, lives and develops in a community, and although he is the greatest of the created beings, man is also a set of shortcomings, compared to other beings, shortcomings he offsets by means of a life in society.

Saint Thomas Aquinas said that “other animals are endowed with a natural awareness of everything which is useful or harmful to them. For example, the sheep naturally judges the wolf to be an enemy… Man, however, has a natural understanding of the things necessary to his life only in a general way, and it is by the use of reason that he passes from universal principles to an understanding of the particular things which are necessary to human life… It is therefore necessary for man to live in a community, so that each man may devote his reason to some particular branch…”[43]

Likewise, with the Second Vatican Council, it can be said that “For by his innermost nature man is a social being, and unless he relates himself to others he can neither live nor develop his potential”.[44] For this reason, although what we have just said is absolutely true, it is no less true that society does not exist without man. Therefore, while man seeks the community in which he finds shelter and the possibility of perfecting himself, the community would disappear without the human factor that endows it with existence. The diversity of communities which man feels part of, are not contradictory, but rather stronger. From the smallest, the most primary, into which man is born – the family –, to the national community in which he lives, right up to the greatest community to which he belongs – the human family –, are all different levels at which man has the opportunity to contribute his virtues and practice solidarity.

This, whilst being important, does not permit us to alter the natural order, in which man is the primary being, and cornerstone, of all other social, political, economic…structures, which, as local, national or supranational communities, are posterior and inferior, in essence, to man himself. It is for this reason that man holds the primary responsibility for community endeavours. Pope Leo XIII was prophetic when he said “There is no need to bring in the State. Man precedes the State, and possesses, prior to the formation of any State, the right of providing for the substance of his body”.[45] Therefore, above nations, states, supranational organisations; also regardless of nationalism, sovereignism, separatism and secessionism, the fate of a community, of a society, will be that of the persons of which it is composed.

This society, in that it is an assembly of the men and women who form part of it, has a proprietary objective, which in turn is the objective of each of its members: … it seems that the end for which a community is brought together is to live according to virtue; for men come together so that they may live well in a way that would not be possible for each of them living singly. For the good is life according to virtue, and so the end of human association is a virtuous life”.[46] Another thing is the coming together, perhaps accidental, of people in a group, as a mix of heterogenous magnitudes or elements, with different objectives, which could be classed as a human mass or, if you like, even a social mass, but not as society or community, for it lacks any force that brings it together or makes it coherent.

Pope Saint John XXIII left us the legacy of these words: “… we must think of human society as being primarily a spiritual reality. By its means enlightened men can share their knowledge of the truth, can claim their rights and fulfill their duties, receive encouragement in their aspirations for the goods of the spirit, share their enjoyment of all the wholesome pleasures of the world, and strive continually to pass on to others all that is best in themselves and to make their own the spiritual riches of others”.[47] It is virtue, that reality of spiritual order, upon which the true sense of friendship can be built, friendship so essential for life in society; St. Thomas states to the fifth reason why Aristotel argue that it pertains to ethics to treat friendship, by saying: “…if men are friends there should be no need of justice in the strict sense because they should have all things in common; a friend is another self and there is no justice to oneself. But if men are just they nevertheless need friendship for one another. Likewise perfect justice seems to preserve and restore friendship”.[48] In other words, justice and friendship feed off each other. They reinforce each other in the task of forming a better society.

Hence, what we should put in doubt is the character of the social project, when at its heart is found the aspiration for power, differentiation, marginalisation due to criteria or opinions that differ from, or are even contrary to, those held or professed by the artifices – instigators of social confrontation – as a project distant from the common good, which is nothing other than the good of each and every member of society; i.e., the essential good of man, the good of man as man.

So much so, that, “When man does not recognize in himself and in others the value and grandeur of the human person, he effectively deprives himself of the possibility of benefitting from his humanity and of entering into that relationship of solidarity and communion with others for which God created him”.[49] Every “I” of necessity requires a “YOU” which joins the “I” to create a “WE”. The absolute “I” can only occur in isolation from the rest of the beings who make up our community. The lack of the “YOU” leads to the absence of the “OTHERS”, as those who belong to the very community. “Thus society becomes a mass of individuals placed side by side, but without any mutual bonds. Each one wishes to assert himself independently of the other and in fact intends to make his own interests prevail… In this way, any reference to common values and to a truth absolutely binding on everyone is lost, and social life ventures on to the shifting sands of complete relativism. At that point, everything is negotiable, everything is open to bargaining...”[50]

A form of solitude of man occurs when man, renouncing his true objective, alienates himself, surrendering himself to passing, material goals, and when he subjects himself to false ideologies and utopias, leading society towards the paths of denial of humanity itself. “Our openness to others, each of whom is a «thou» capable of knowing, loving and entering into dialogue, remains the source of our nobility as human persons”.[51] Transforming what is perishable into what is permanent, converting vanity and arrogance into love and solidarity, is when man is capable of communication and developing a community, a society that is also caring and capable of achieving the common good of all its members.

“As a spiritual being, the human creature is defined through interpersonal relations. The more authentically he or she lives these relations, the more his or her own personal identity matures. It is not by isolation that man establishes his worth, but by placing himself in relation with others and with God. Hence these relations take on fundamental importance”.[52] And, what we are saying with respect to man and with respect to the human community is also applicable to nations and peoples, considered formally. This means that, the solidarity that makes man virtuous can also be extended to nations. Does the nationalism / separatism of the “I” have a place in the endeavour of solidarity? “We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it. We have had enough of immorality and the mockery of ethics, goodness, faith and honesty. It is time to acknowledge that light-hearted superficiality has done us no good”.[53] It is selfishness, the predominance of what is personal, here and now, that closes eyes and mind to considerations of a higher order, surrendering ourselves to illusions presented to us as permanent and decisive in order to have a better life, which, in most cases, will surprise us because it is not even better in the material sense and, it has also impeded our spiritual dimension.

The necessary sociability of men can be extended to peoples; the interdependence we observe between persons, as a framework of solidarity, should also occur between peoples and nations. It is a very distinguishing mark of today’s world, probably more than at any other time in the past. Because, Every day human interdependence grows more tightly drawn and spreads by degrees over the whole world. As a result the common good, that is, the sum of those conditions of social life which allow social groups and their individual members relatively thorough and ready access to their own fulfillment, today takes on an increasingly universal complexion and consequently involves rights and duties with respect to the whole human race. Every social group must take account of the needs and legitimate aspirations of other groups, and even of the general welfare of the entire human family”.[54]

To guarantee the path for the achievement of the common good is the great task of the governing body, and what justifies its very existence. This has its origins in two realities, both of which are natural: firstly, that man is a sociable being, called upon to live in society, meaning that the private good, isolated from the good of the community, lacks sense and may lead to selfishness that damages society. And secondly, that man is a free being and, as such, is capable of choosing between different alternatives of good, which cannot be satisfied effectively in the absence of consent to join intentions for a determined purpose. “… in all cases where things are directed towards some end but it is possible to proceed in more than one way, it is necessary for there to be some guiding principle, so that the due end may be properly achieved”.[55]

From what we have been saying, if it is natural that an authority exists to guide society as a whole towards the common good, also originating from here would be, in accordance with nature, the mission of the authority, the achievement of which would result in its legitimacy and the goodness or evil of its action. Any authority which has knowingly gained access to the function through deceit will lack legitimacy for the mission entrusted to it. To govern is nothing other than to administer, order and coordinate the governed community so that it can achieve its natural objective, which, in the words of Saint Thomas, is none other than salvation; and “… the good and wellbeing of a community united in fellowship lies in the preservation of its unity. This is called peace, and when it is removed and the community is divided against itself, social life loses its advantage and instead becomes a burden. It is for this end, therefore, that the ruler of a community ought especially to strive: to procure the unity of peace”.[56] Therefore, the governor who, for the purpose of remaining in power, even with the pretext of considering himself essential to the wellbeing of society, or any other reason associated with his private interest, governs provoking social confrontations, is failing in his mission and, therefore, is delegitimising himself and should not continue to carry out the function of government.

Indeed, one of the most general features of dictatorial governments, and governments which, although not dictatorial in formal terms, are very close to being so in practice, is that, far from seeking peace in society, or that friendship reigns amongst the governed, they deliberately seek confrontation and conflict, and with it violence, based on the erroneous principle that as long as there is fighting between one party and another in society, it will not be possible to analyse the goodness or badness of the act of governing. The history of the 20th century was replete with events that humiliated the dignity of people.

Let us consider, as Pope Leo XIII reminded us, that man predates any political or social structure. What is more, those political and social structures have the single purpose of serving civil society, the human community. “Political authority is an instrument of coordination and direction by means of which the many individuals and intermediate bodies must move towards an order in which relationships, institutions and procedures are put at the service of integral human growth”.[57] Therein the political community finds its true justification and the determining feature of its legitimacy, not in exacerbating, with historical fantasies and falsehoods, people of good faith, making their presumed belonging an element of differentiation, and causing them to believe that they can use the violence necessary to make this differentiation patent.

That “I” that housed a “YOU”, of which we spoke in previous pages [section III-a)], capable of creating a “WE” will only be possible if the kingdom of love is built amongst men, with the conviction that that nobody is more important than anybody else and that, on the contrary, the smallest shall be considered great in the kingdom of heaven. Terms such as dignity, benevolence, justice, fraternity and solidarity all coalesce in a privileged recipient, in man, a rational, free and responsible creature, created in the image of the Creator. Capable and responsible for, firstly, building a human society where virtue abounds, whose prize, in the words of Saint Thomas Aquinas, would be happiness, the desire and quest for which is engraved on the mind of all rational beings; “… everyone, in acting well, is striving to achieve what he most desires, and that is to be happy: something that it is not possible not to wish for [St. Thomas, Sum. Theo. I-II, q.1, a. 6-7]”.[58]

V. By way of corollary. We would like to, in a summarised form, highlight some of the more significant points contained in these pages, once again, not wishing to go into political and social references, available every day in the media, which, could degrade the desired objectivity of the facts and, when possible, the justified interpretation of them. Let us recall that would it be necessary to rewrite history in order to accept that Catalonia was independent from the time of its origins (some situate these origins in Greece) and that, only from the 18th century, with the arrival of King Philip V, it has been enslaved, meaning that the separatism of today only seeks to recover the lost independence. This scenario, peddled by Catalan separatists, has nothing to do with the crudest reality. In the preceding pages, we have sought to provide evidence of the historical facts that contradict this story.

We have argued, basing our arguments on historical facts, that the Catalonia of which the separatists speak, and that in which many Catalans of good faith believe, has little to do with the real Catalonia. In the interest of historical truth, we fight against opinions and proclamations that are in no way supported by historical data. At the end of the day, the first formal proclamation of an independent Catalan republic, as has been pointed out in previous pages, goes back to 1641 – January 16 – and, since then, the same has been attempted on three occasions, the last on October 10, 2017, when Carles Puigdemont formulated the Declaration of Independence.

We believe that Catalonia, like Spain or any other country, is not substantively identified by a territorial dimension. The territory is no more than accidental, while the basis for the identification of Catalans and Spaniards is the communion of ideas, objectives and, above all history. Not even the language is decisive, although it is the most important vehicle for communication; of affection and disaffection, of affiliations and exclusions. It is not surprising that separatists do not identify Catalans as those who live in Catalonia and speak Catalan. Many who satisfy these two requirements are not welcomed in Catalonia as Catalans, because their social and political commitment does not coincide with those who believe in separatism.

The union of Castile and Aragon, of which so much is written in the history books, was more formal than substantive and real. Isabella and Ferdinand continued to be Queen of Castile and King of Aragon respectively. With Emperor Charles I of Spain and V of the Holy Roman Empire (1516) would come the time at which it is possible to speak, for the first time, of a Spain with the sense of being so. A united Spain, with the same faith, the same ideals and a new Royal House, the House of Austria, which would reign over Spain for almost two centuries, i.e., until the end of the reign of Charles II the Bewitched. The monarchy of the House of Austria, which in the books of Spanish history is identified, as could not be otherwise, with the absolute monarchies, was, in the opinion of the Catalan nationalist movement, a model of tolerance and respect for the territories of which Catalonia was composed, both in terms of the form of government and with respect to its laws, customs and institutions.

Philip II himself would have been surprised to see such an assessment of the personality and governing style of the monarchs of the House of Austria. Quite another matter is that they were, in general terms, were more focused on conflictive issues – one war was followed by another – and barely had time to concern themselves with the task of government, and leave the institutions to do what they could resolve themselves. When this tolerance, interpreted by Catalan separatists as independence, was contrary to the interests of the King, he found means to ensure that his will prevailed.

The monarchies of the House of Habsburg would not be so tolerant of Catalan independence when the first proclamation of the independent Catalan Republic was made, precisely during the reign of a king from the House of Austria – Philip IV – and, what is worse, sought to put Catalonia under the protection of King Louis XIII and subsequently under that of Louis XIV of France – The Sun King – of the House of Bourbon. For Pau Clarís – President of the Government of Catalonia – this was preferable to remaining under the Crown of the House of Austria in Spain. Subsequently, the House of Bourbon would become the greatest enemy of Catalan nationalists and of most of the Crown of Aragon, to the point of leading to the War of the Spanish Succession, due to the refusal to enthrone Philip V as King of Spain. This war would last twelve years and, according to the Catalan nationalists/separatists of today, marks the time of the loss of independence of Catalonia. In our judgement, the independence alluded to had never previously existed as such.

We continue to believe that there are other reasons underlying the aspiration to the independence of Catalonia, reasons which would be easier to accept. We are thinking, for example, of the desire to create an independent State, without any further need to rewrite history. With this in mind, Catalans themselves, perhaps forgetting what has occurred, now refer to it is what Catalans want and that, the Catalan government of today is simply attempting to fulfil the mandate given to them by the citizens of Catalonia. As if the Spanish people were not affected by the decision.

The last elections to the Catalan Parliament, in a politically stable environment were those held on September 27, 2015. The most interesting results of these elections, which should reflect the will of the people through the exercising of their right to vote for candidates in accordance with their ideals, were as follows: of an electoral register of 5,314,913, separatist parties – at that time JxSí (Juntos por el SI) and CUP (Candidatura de Unidad Popular) – obtained 1,957,348 votes, i.e., 36.83% of the electorate, from which separatists deduced that the mandate given by Catalans was independence and that there was no margin for not accepting this. Some people, in Spain, suggested that the solution would lie in the structure of a Federal State – this opinion has been put forward many times by the Partido Socialista Obrero Español (PSOE) – although, from the outset, it is a solution that has not been accepted by Catalonia, because, as they express it very well, their demand is the recognition of the differential fact, and not a general solution for all the regions of Spain. In other words, the conviction that they are different, i.e., that they are better than other Spaniards, is what underpins their proposal of an Independent Catalan Republic. Federalism was already an option taken into consideration by constituents and rejected due to the strong opposition of the Catalans.

We are faced with what the historians Reglá and John Elliot summarised as the intransigent and condescending attitude of the Catalans [see footnote on page 45] as the cause of the conflicts between Catalonia and Spain. The legal-political principles of Catalans today are based on the idea that the will of the people is above any other consideration. This will, as interpreted by the Catalan Government, prevails over the laws – and amongst them, the constitution itself –. It prevails over the rulings of Judges and Courts – and also over the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court – and, of course, the Catalan Government must follow the direction set out, with its only reference being the Catalan parliament.

Does this mean that any decision, taken by any community, even following democratic principles, is equally valid and must be complied with, even if it is contrary to judicial rulings? In that case, what would differentiate a human community from a group of irrational beings, guided by instinct or appetite? The church reminds us that “… the political community and public authority are founded on human nature and hence belong to the order designed by God, even though the choice of a political regime and the appointment of rulers are left to the free will of citizens”.[59]

Would a person who held the position of ruler be worthy of this position if, in representation of the community, with the only pretext being fulfilment of the mandate received as a result of a vote – even a unanimous vote in a Parliament –, he were to lead this community to the moral, civic and social abyss, as has occurred so many times in the history of wars, confrontation, discrimination and extermination? Europe continues to have very clear memories of events that have brought shame on humanity, despite being supported by ample majorities in votes. We are not saying that democracy is a danger to humanity, to man; we are simply saying that, despite being the best of the known systems, it needs to be subjected to moral judgement. Discernment with respect to ends is essential for any proper government, and the end is man and his mission in this world; the reason for which he was created.

Bearing this in mind, we have to acknowledge that, in current democratic systems, with large quantities of populism, and the Catalan case is no exception, messianism, and its consequence of aspiring to glory, are the great enemies of a government, and therefore, of those who are governed. Saint Thomas warned of this, saying that “… dangerous evils arise from the desire for glory. For many have brought the liberty of their fatherland under the power of an enemy when they have sought immoderate Glory in the commerce of war and have perished along with their army…There is another vice closely related to the desire for glory, namely, dissimulation. For it is difficult to pursue those true virtues… and few manage to do so; but, desiring glory, many pretend to be virtuous”.[60] What is narrated by Saint Thomas has occurred to Catalonia on more than one occasion, if we bear in mind the four independent republics proclaimed.

Glory and personal indulgence obscure “… the enormous inequalities in our midst, whereby we continue to tolerate some considering themselves more worthy than others… In practice, we continue to tolerate that some consider themselves more human than others, as if they had been born with greater rights”.[61] How many wars, how many brothers dead, due to the presence amongst men of this sense of superiority, be it singular, ethnic or associated with social class, which separates rather than unites, which discriminates between the chosen and the excluded, between the powerful and the humble, to the point where they annihilate each other, when we all belong to the same human family, that is to say brothers, children of the same Father. A family which feels itself segmented, divided by this sense of superiority, of being better, of distinction, pride and vanity, all guarantors of disdain for everything and everyone around us.

When will we see collaboration – the collaboration of all – in the great work of the Creation? By the will of God, we are all called to the task; each in accordance with his possibilities. When will we see the effectiveness of our commitment to build a more just, more fraternal and more caring society? Are we ready to be accountable?

V. Bibliography.

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–    Carbonell, Pere Miquel compiler of “Chroniques de Espanya fins aci no divulgades: que tracta d’ls Nobles e Invictissims Reys dels gots: y gestes de aquells: y dels Comtes de Barcelona: e Reys de Arago: ab moltes coses dignes de perpetua memoria”. Compilada per lo honorable y discret mossen Pere Miquel Carbonell: Escriva y Archiver del Rey nostre señor, e Notari publich de Barcelona. Novament imprimida en lany MDXLVI.

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–      Castro, Américo La realidad histórica de España. Fifth edition renewed. Editorial Porrua, S.A. México, 1973.

–      Catechism of the Catholic Church, approved by John Paul II by Apostolic letter Laetamur magnopere (Castelgandolfo 15.08.1997) and published according to Apostolic constitution Fidei depositum of said Pope (11.10.1992).

–      Ecumenical Council Vatican II Pastoral constitution Gaudium et spes. (Rome 07.12.1965).

–      Constitución Española. Boletín Oficial del Estado, num. 311.1 (December 29, 1978).

–      Cortes de los antiguos Reinos de Aragón y de Valencia y Principado de Cataluña. Published by Real Academia de la Historia. Vol. I, First Part. Madrid, MDCCCXCVI.

–      de Mariana, Juan De monetae mutatione. In ‘Ioannis Marianae e societate Iesu Tractatus VII’. IV. De monetae mutatione. Nunc primum in lucem editi. Coloniae Agrippinae, Sumptibus Antonij Hierati, 1609. Goldsmiths’ Kress Library of Economic Literature; Rol. 0044, Doc. 00380.1. Microfilm. Woodbridge, CT.: Research Publications, [1976].

–      Diz, A. “El tránsito del «rey guerrero» y «cortesano» al rey o gobernante «comerciante»: Felipe V, el último «rey guerrero»”. In: E. Serrano (ed.), Felipe V y su tiempo. Congreso Internacional, I. Institución Fernando el Católico (CSIC). Zaragoza, 2004.

–      Domínguez Ortiz, A. La sociedad española en el siglo XVII. CSIC. Madrid, 1963.

–      Domínguez Ortiz, A. Política y Hacienda de Felipe IV. Second Edition. Ediciones Pegaso. Madrid, 1983.

–      Domínguez Ortiz, A. Sociedad y Estado en el Sigo XVIII español. Ariel. Barcelona, 1990.

–      Fernández Navarrete, Pedro Conservación de monarquías y discursos políticos – sobre la Gran Consulta que el Consejo hizo al Señor Rey Don Felipe Tercero. Fifth edition. Madrid, in the printer’s of Don Tomás Alban. Year 1805.

–      Francis Encyclical letter Laudato si’” (Rome 24.05.2015).

–      Francis Apostolic exhortation Evangelii gaudium. (Rome 24.11.2013).

–      Giménez, E. “Contener con más autoridad y fuerza. La represión del australismo en los territorios de la Corona de Aragón (1707-1725)”. In: Cuadernos Dieciochistas, vol. 1. Ediciones Universidad de Salamanca. Salamanca, 2000.

–      Giménez, E. “Conflicto armado con Francia y guerrilla austracista en Cataluña (1719-1720)”. In: Hispania, vol. LXV/2 220. Madrid, May-August 2005.

–      Iglesias Ferreirós, Aquilino “Las Constituciones de Paz y Tregua de 1173”. In INITIUM Revista Catalana d’Història del Dret, num. 17, 2012.

–      Jacme I Llibre dels feits del rei en Jacme. Biblioteca Virtual Joan Lluís Vives (Alacant) and Biblioteca Nacional (Madrid) 2006.

–      Saint John Paul II Encyclical letter Centesimus annus (Rome 01.05.1991).

–      Saint John Paul II Encyclical letter Evangelium vitae. (Rome 25.03.1995).

–      Saint John Paul II Encyclical letter Solicitudo rei socialis (Rome 30.12.1987).

–      Saint John XXIII Encyclical letter Pacem in terris. (Rome 11.04.1963).

–      Leo XIII Encyclical letter Rerum novarum. (Rome, 15.05.1891).

–      Marfany, J.-L. Llengua, nació i disglòssia. L’Avenç. Barcelona, 2008.

–      Saint Paul VI “Message of His Holiness Pope Paul VI for the celebration of the X Day of Peace If you want Peace, defend life, 1 January 1977. (Vatican 08.12.1976).

–      Sancti Aurelii Augustini. In Iohannis Evangelium XIX, 15. Corpus Christianorum. Series Latina XXXVI. Turnholti. Typographi Brepols Editores Pontificii. 1954.

–      Saint Thomas Aquinas De Regimine principum or De regno. In St. Thomas Aquinas, Political Writings. Edited and translated by R.W. Dyson. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge (UK) 2004. First published in printed format, 2002. First edition in Latin lenguage under the title De regimine Principum ad Cypri regem Ed. Piana, t. XVII. Edit. Tecnos. 4th edition. Reprinting, Madrid 2012;

–      Saint Thomas Aquinas Commentary on the Nicomachean Ethics. Translated by C.I. Litzinger, O.P. Henry Regnery Company. Chicago 1964 (2 volumes). Original title In decem libros Ethicorum Aristotelis ad Nicomachum Expositio. Reymundi M. Spiazzi (edit.) Marietti. Taurino, Italia, 1964.

–      Sanz Ayán, C. Estado, monarquía y finanzas. Estudios de Historia financiera en tiempos de los Austrias. Centro de Estudios Políticos y Constitucionales. Madrid, 2004.

–      Schaub, J.-F. La France Espagnole. Les racines hispaniques de l’absolutisme français. L’Universe Historique, Seuil. Paris, 2003.

–      Soldevila, Ferran (text) and Granyer, Josep (illustrations) Història de Catalunya Il.lustrada. Edicions Proa. Barcelona 1994.

–      Suñé Llinás, Emilio La constitución profunda de Las Españas y la Federación Ibérica – Una visión catalana de la unidad de España en su diversidad. Servicio de Publicaciones de la Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad Complutense. Madrid 2018.

–      Torras i Ribé, J.M. “Cataluña, 1713: asediados por Felipe V, abandonados por el archiduque”. In: E. Serrano (ed.) Felipe V y su tiempo. Congreso Internacional, vol. II. Institución Fernando el Católico (CSIC), Excma. Diputación de Zaragoza. Zaragoza, 2004.

–      Ubieto, Reglá, Jover, Seco Introducción a la Historia de España. Editorial Teide. Barcelona. Seventeenth edition, 1987.

–      Vicens Vives, J. Manual de Historia Económica de España. Editorial Teide. Barcelona 1959.

–      Villanueva, J. Política y discurso histórico en la España del siglo XVII. Las polémicas sobre los orígenes medievales de Cataluña. Publicaciones de la Universidad de Alicante. Alicante, 2004.




* I am very grateful to Prof. Rocco Buttiglione (Pres. Con. Naz. UDC), Prof. Vittorio Hösle (University of Notre Dame, IN, USA), Prof. John McEldowney (University of Warwick, UK), H. E. Mgr. Prof. Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo (Chancellor),Prof. Herbert Schambeck (University of Linz, Austria), Prof. Stefano Zamagni (Università di Bologna, Italy) and Prof. Paulus Zulu (University of Kwazulu Natal, South Africa) for their kind, outstanding and most stimulating comments to this paper. Any responsibility for error and misunderstandings is exclusiveli the author’s.
[1] Real Academia Española Diccionario de la Lengua Española. Actualización de 2017 de la vigésimo tercera Edición. Real Academia Española. Madrid 2014.
[2] Américo Castro La realidad histórica de España. Quinta edición renovada. Editorial Porrua, S.A. México, 1973; p. 28.
[3] Vide, Ferran Soldevila (text) and Josep Granyer (illustrations) Història de Catalunya Il.lustrada. Edicions Proa. Barcelona 1994, pp. 18-20.
[4] Américo Castro La realidad histórica de España. Quinta edición renovada. Editorial Porrua, S.A. México, 1973; p. 168.
[5] Américo Castro La realidad histórica de España. Quinta edición renovada. Editorial Porrua, S.A. México, 1973; p. 171.
[6] Américo Castro La realidad histórica de España. Quinta edición renovada. Editorial Porrua, S.A. México, 1973; p. 211.
[7] Antonio Ubieto, “VI – Apogeo Medieval del Siglo XIII. Lenguas romances”. In Ubieto, Reglá, Jover, Seco Introducción a la Historia de España. Editorial Teide. Barcelona. Decimoséptima edición, 1987; p. 217.
[8] Pedro Fernández Navarrete Conservación de monarquías y discursos políticos – sobre la Gran Consulta que el Consejo hizo al Señor Rey Don Phillip Tercero. Quinta edición. Madrid, en la imprenta de Don Tomás Alban. Año de 1805, Discurso XXXVIII; Texto, núm. 16, p. 287.
[9] Américo Castro La realidad histórica de España. Quinta edición renovada. Editorial Porrua, S.A. México, 1973; p. 252.
[10] Corresponding to the quote “Après moi, le déluge”, attributed to the King of France, Louis XV.
[11] Jacme I Llibre dels feits del rei en Jacme. Biblioteca Virtual Joan Lluís Vives (Alacant) y Biblioteca Nacional (Madrid) 2006; p. 5. [Literally: “Et hagren acort can foren en Catalunya qui nos nudriria e acordarense tots quens nudris lo maestre del temple en Monço…”]. Freely translated by the author.
[12] Jacme I Llibre dels feits del rei en Jacme. Biblioteca Virtual Joan Lluís Vives (Alacant) y Biblioteca Nacional (Madrid) 2006; p. 10. [Literally: “E passat aço entram nos en Arago e en G. de Munchada feu son aiustament en Cathalunya… E sino fos lo conduyt que trayien de la ost ab consell dels aragonesos qui eren ab nos quils dauen que menjar ab los diners dels aragonesos qui eren en Muncada e los cathalans qui trayien que menjar de barcelona no agueren que menjar a III dies…”]. Freely translated by the author.
[13] J. Vicens Vives Manual de Historia Económica de España. Editorial Teide. Barcelona 1959; pp. 97-98.
[14] Antonio Ubieto, “El afianzamiento de las nacionalidades. Evolución política”. In, Ubieto, Reglá, Jover, Seco Introducción a la Historia de España. Editorial Teide. Barcelona. Decimoséptima edición, 1987; p. 179.
[15] Emilio Suñé Llinás La constitución profunda de Las Españas y la Federación Ibérica – Una visión catalana de la unidad de España en su diversidad. Servicio de Publicaciones de la Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad Complutense. Madrid 2018; pp. 27-28.
[16] Antonio Ubieto “Apogeo medieval en el siglo XIII. Predominio de la nobleza”. In Ubieto, Reglá, Jover, Seco Introducción a la Historia de España. Editorial Teide. Barcelona. Decimoséptima edición, 1987; p. 209.
[17] Joan Reglá “El Estado. La monarquía autoritaria y sus órganos de gobierno”. In Ubieto, Reglá, Jover, Seco Introducción a la Historia de España. Editorial Teide. Barcelona. Decimoséptima edición, 1987; p. 280.
[18] “Cortes de Fontaldara en 1173”. In Cortes de los antiguos Reinos de Aragón y de Valencia y Principado de Cataluña. Published by the Real Academia de la Historia. Tomo I, Primera Parte. Madrid, MDCCCXCVI; Preámbulo, pp. 55-57. [Translation from Latin by J.T. Raga]. The Latin text says: “Has paces et treguas constituit Rex Alfonsus Primus Rex Aragonum apud fontem daldara. Divinarum et humanarum rerum tuitio ad neminem magis quam ad principem pertinet, nichilque tam proprium debt esse boni ac recti principis quam iniurias propulsare, bella sedare, pacem stabilire et informare, et informatam subditis conservandam trajere, ut de eo non incongrue dici et predicari possit… Eapropter, ego Ildefonsus… Predictorum omnium assensu et voluntate omnibus tam clericis quam laycis, qui in dicta terra mea degere noscuntur, treugam et pacem… tenendam et inviolabiliter observandam injungo; neque ad conservandum et in eos qui eam violaverint vindicandum allego et astringo”.
[19] Vide, footnote no. 16.
[20] Vide, Perry Anderson Lineages of the Absolutist State. Verso books. London & NewYork, 1979.
[21] Américo Castro La realidad histórica de España. Quinta edición renovada. Editorial Porrua, S.A. México, 1973; p. 58.
[22] J. Vicens Vives Manual de Historia Económica de España”. Editorial Teide. Barcelona 1959; p. 221.
[23] J. Vicens Vives Manual de Historia Económica de España. Editorial Teide. Barcelona 1959; p. 221.
[24] Vide particularly St. Basilius the Grate “Homily VII”; St. Ambrosius “De Nabuthe” III-11 y XV-53; and St. John Crisostomus “Homily on the passage of the rich Epulon”.
[25] J. Vicens Vives Manual de Historia Económica de España. Editorial Teide. Barcelona 1959; pp. 272-273.
[26] Juan Reglá “El Estado de los Habsburgo”. In Ubieto, Reglá, Jover, Seco Introducción a la Historia de España. Editorial Teide. Barcelona. Decimoséptima edición, 1987; pp. 325-326.
[27] Vide Juan Reglá “El Estado de los Habsburgo”. In Ubieto, Reglá, Jover, Seco Introducción a la Historia de España. Editorial Teide. Barcelona. Decimoséptima edición, 1987; p. 326.
[28] Emilio Suñé Llinás La constitución profunda de Las Españas y la Federación Ibérica – Una visión catalana de la unidad de España en su diversidad. Servicio de Publicaciones de la Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad Complutense. Madrid 2018; p. 35.
[29] Emilio Suñé Llinás La constitución profunda de Las Españas y la Federación Ibérica – Una visión catalana de la unidad de España en su diversidad. Servicio de Publicaciones de la Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad Complutense. Madrid 2018; p. 48.
[30] Vide, footnote num. 13.
[31] J. Vicens Vives Manual de Historia Económica de España. Editorial Teide. Barcelona 1959; pp. 422-423.
[32] Antonio Domínguez Ortiz Política y Hacienda de Phillip IV. Segunda Edición. Ediciones Pegaso. Madrid, 1983; pp. 155-156.
[33] A. Domínguez Ortiz Política y Hacienda de Phillip I. Segunda Edición. Ediciones Pegaso. Madrid, 1983; pp. 156-157. [What appears in square brackets is mine].
[34] J. Reglá Campistol “La crisis política. Las revoluciones. a) Cataluña”. In, Ubieto, Reglá, Jover, Seco Introducción a la Historia de España. Editorial Teide. Barcelona. Decimoséptima edición, 1987; p. 396.
[35] Joaquim Albareda Salvadó La Guerra de Sucesión en España (1700-1714). Crítica. Barcelona, 2010; p. 375. [What appears in brackets is mine].
[36] J. Vicens Vives Manual de Historia Económica de España. Editorial Teide. Barcelona 1959; p. 425.
[37] Antonio Domínguez Ortiz La sociedad española en el siglo XVIII. Instituto Balmes de Sociología. Departamento de Historia Social. Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas. Madrid, 1955; pp. 40-41.
[38] J. Vicens Vives Manual de Historia Económica de España. Editorial Teide. Barcelona 1959; pp. 637-638.
[39] The two quoted texts are taken literally from the first and third paragraphs of article 1 of the Constitution of the Spanish Republic, the text of which was sanctioned by the Constituent Assembly (Cortes Constituyentes), presided over by Julián Besteiro, on December ninth of 1931.
[40] The Government coalition known as the Frente Popular was created on January 15, 1936, and presided over by Manuel Azaña (President of the Government) and the following political parties – Partido Socialista Obrero Español, Izquierda Repúblicana, Unión Repúblicana, Partido Comunista de España, Partido Sindicalista, Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista and Partido Galeguista – made up the Government, on February 21, 1936, date on which the amnesty referred to was decreed.
[41] The original version of the text (using partial direct quotation) says: “DECLARACIÓ DELS REPRESENTANTS DE CATALUNYA. Al poble de Catalunya i a tots els pobles del món... La constitució de la República catalana es fonamenta en la necessitat de protegir la llibertat, la seguretat i la convivència de tots els ciutadans de Catalunya… En virtut de tot… nosaltres, representants democràtics del poble de Catalunya… CONSTITUÏM la República catalana, com a Estat independent i sobirà, de dret, democràtic i social… POSEM EN CONEIXEMENT de la comunitat internacional i les autoritats de la Unió Europea la constitució de la República catalana… APEL·LEM als Estats i a les organitzacions internacionals a reconèixer la República catalana com Estat independent i sobirà…”. [Text translated by author].
[42] St. Augustine “Homilies on the Gospel of John”. In Philip Schaff (Ed.) Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers. Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Grand Rapids, MI; Series I, vol. 7, Tract. XIX, num. 15; p. 207. The original text says: “Quid est homo? Anima rationalis habens corpus… [in the same book XIX, 15, he had said:] Anima habens corpus non facit duas personas sed unum hominem”. Sancti Aurelii Augustini. “In Iohannis Evangelium” XIX, 15. Corpus Christianorum. Series Latina XXXVI. Turnholti. Typographi Brepols Editores Pontificii. 1954, p. 199, no. marg. 30. [text in square brackets by author].   
[43] St. Thomas Aquinas De Regimine principum or De regno. In ‘St. Thomas Aquinas, Political Writings’. Edited and translated by R.W. Dyson. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge (UK) 2004. First published in printed format, 2002. Book I, Chapter I, p. 6.
[44] Ecumenical Council Vatican II Pastoral constitution Gaudium et spes. Rome 07.12.1965) num. 12.
[45] Leo XIII Encyclical Letter Rerum novarum. (Rome, 15.05.1891) num. 7.
[46] St. Thomas Aquinas De Regimine principum or De regno. In ‘St. Thomas Aquinas, Political Writings’. Edited and translated by R.W. Dyson. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge (UK) 2004. First published in printed format, 2002. Book I, Chapter XV, p. 40.
[47] St. John XXIII Encyclical Letter Pacem in terris. (Rome 11.04.1963) num. 36.
[48] St. Thomas Aquinas Commentary on the Nicomachean Ethics. Translated by C.I. Litzinger, O.P. Henry Regnery Company. Chicago 1964 (2 volumes); Book VIII, Lect. 1, Chap. 1; num. 1543.
[49] St. John Paul II Encyclical Letter Centesimus annus. (Rome 01.05.1991), num. 41.
[50] St. John Paul II Encyclical Letter Evangelium Vitae. (Rome 25.03.1995), num. 20.
[51] Francis Encyclical letter Laudato Si’. (Rome 24.05.2015) num. 119.
[52] Benedict XVI Encyclical letter Caritas in Veritate. (Rome 29.06.2009) num. 53.
[53] Francis Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’. (Rome 24.05.2015), num. 229.
[54] Pope Paul VI Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes (Rome 07.12.1965), num. 26.
[55] St. Thomas Aquinas De Regimine principum or De regno. In ‘St. Thomas Aquinas, Political Writings’. Edited and translated by R.W. Dyson. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge (UK) 2004. First published in printed format, 2002. Book I, Chapter I, p. 5.
[56] St. Thomas Aquinas De Regimine principum or De regno. In ‘St. Thomas Aquinas, Political Writings’. Edited and translated by R.W. Dyson. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge (UK) 2004. First published in printed format, 2002. Book I, Chapter III, p. 10.
[57] Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Città del Vaticano 2005; num. 394.
[58] St. Thomas Aquinas De Regimine principum or De regno. In ‘St. Thomas Aquinas, Political Writings’. Edited and translated by R.W. Dyson. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge (UK) 2004. First published in printed format, 2002. Book I, Chap. IX, p. 25.
[59] Ecumenical Council Vatican II “Pastoral Constitution «Gaudium et spes»”. (Rome 07.12.1965), num. 74.
[60] St. Thomas Aquinas De Regimine principum or De regno. In St. Thomas Aquinas, Political Writings. Edited and translated by R.W. Dyson. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge (UK) 2004. First published in printed format, 2002. Book I, Chap. VIII, p. 23.
[61] Francis Encyclical letter Laudato Si’. (Rome 24.05.2015) num. 90.


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