The previous glance a few days ago generated enough interest & questions, that I felt a follow up article would be appropriate. While there are countless interesting things about Spain, my goal is to provide info that will be useful to my readers. I believe one of the lessons Spain provides is what the religion of Roman Catholicism does to a nation…for Spain has been the epitome of Catholicism. The stark contrast between the teachings of Christ and the culture of Spain, which has been controlled by Catholicism, is most remarkable, and forms the foundation for this continued segment. If we try the spirits of Catholicism, it is found wanting. (A)
SPAIN’S ANCIENT BASQUE PEOPLE. The Basque tribes are a pre-Indo European people, with a unique ancient language & distinctive genetics who managed to survive in the remote mountains & valleys of the western end of the Pyrenees Mtns., which straddle France & Spain. They have been known for their witchcraft, among other things. For instance, Sabbats were held at Zugarramurdi (Valley of Bastan, Fr.) prior to the inquisition. Worship of Satan with chanting rituals, candles & orgies was at Labourd’s Aquelarre (Meadow of the Goat). For various reasons, they have had to fight for survival, & in 1959 the organization ETA (Euzkadi Ta Askatasuna—Basque Homeland & Liberty) was founded to fight for Basque Independence. The ETA has killed at least 800 people in their fight. Spain has given them quite a bit of autonomy, but they still want complete independence.
SPAIN’S PEOPLE A COMPOSITE. After the Basques came Celts, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Goths, Moors, Jews & others. Because the Moslems were attempting to conquer the entire area of Spain, the Christians in the region became very militant. The ricos hombres (high nobles of medieval Castille & Aragon) created Catholic military orders: Calatrava (in 1158), Santiago (in 1170), Alcantara (in 1176) & the Order of Avis (in Portugal in 1176). The powers of the various military orders were centralized with the creation of the Council of Military Orders in 1495. A few years earier a Council of the Inquisition had been created to make sure people believed correctly. The inquisition’s policy making body was the Suprema, which directed individual inquisitors. They dealt with Moorish alchemists, Jewish Cabalists, Basque witches, and astrology & necromancy courses at the Spanish universities, and “heretical” Christian beliefs (non-Roman Catholic ideas). Witchcraft & astrology books were banned. Interestingly, the Inquisitors in general were lenient & believed witchcraft was benign & the result of drug trips by deluded people, and in general only sought to have witches repent. However, they came down hard on sorcery. Sorcerers were executed. After 1611, it was virtually impossible to convict someone on witchcraft. Cabala (which means “tradition” in Hebrew) was developed in Spain. The Zohar was written in Spain c. in 1275. An example of a Spanish Kabalist is the 13th century Spanish Jew Abraham Abulafia. When the Cabalist Jews were driven out, they went mainly to Italy, but also all over western Europe. Spain’s Kabala went esp. to the Medici circle in Florence, It. Two basic Biblical ideas that contrast Kabala are: the condemnation of angel worship (B) and that there is only one mediator between man & God, which is Christ.(C)
ORDER OF SANTIAGO’S MASSIVE EL ESCORIAL MONASTERY/MAUSOLEUM in Madrid. Escorial was discussed in the previous post. The massive somber structure was built by Philip II and has granite walls & a greenish reflecting pool. The vault for the Spanish dead kings is the Panteon de los Reyes. The throne of Spain has 4 steps and 4 lion statues (2 on each side), each with its right front paw on a globe. As Madrid was the center of the political-religious bureaucracy for centuries, it became an object of distrust to the average Spaniard, a totally different perspective than the one tourists have today. The King of Spain & the church became two pillars of power supporting each other. This concept of church & state in power together continued under Gen. Franco after he won the Spanish Civil War in the late 1930’s. Over the centuries this has resulted in stagnating the nation’s thinking. Gen. Franco died on 20 NOV ’75. He directed that the King Juan Carlos be his successor. In recent years, the monopoly over thinking that the establishment had under Franco has melted and artists are much free-er to express themselves.
AVERSION TO LABOR. Spain has been controlled by its nobility since antiquity. Spanish nobility had a rule—more like a law– that they could not work, they could not do manual labor. As the Spanish love honor, everyone dreamed of being a nobleman, in other words one who would never labor. Spaniards who went to the Americas refused to get their hands dirty, so they enslaved the native populations. Encomienda is the word meaning the authority of a Spanish settler to enslave a group of natives. A Spanish engineer in 1900 listed 4 common vices among his countrymen: laziness, ignorance, fantasy, & lack of patriotism. I quote him: “The land of Don Quixote is a land of dreamers. With all that dreaming, we sleep a great deal…”(D) One Spanish history book states “aversion to honest labor became a national calamity.” Whether deserved or not, the stereotype in Europe of Spaniards was that they were lazy & ignorant. A 1782 Encyclopedia listed Spain as “the most ignorant nation in Europe”. In 1910, 50% of the people over age 10 were illiterate.
The rule not to do manual labor and not to educate the common people to read can be laid at the feet of the Catholic Church, who preferred the masses to be ignorant, rather than reading the Bible for themselves. Protestant and Anabaptist groups were strong advocates of education so that their congregations could read the Bible for themselves. The Protestant work ethic is well known. With the nobility in charge of the Spanish Catholic church it is no surprise that the Bible’s injunctions to earn one’s bread by the sweat of one’s labor and those who don’t work should not eat, were ignored. And if the laity can’t read the Bible and are taught that nobles should not work, who would challenge such laziness?
The church also supported the kings’ “divine right” to the throne and their right to be incompetent despots. In 1830, Spain’s King Ferdinand VII decided to by pass his brother Don Carlos and give the throne to his daughter. This set off a family feud/vendetta bet ween Carlist & Bourbon factions for the crown that lasts even to this day. If Spain were not suffering enough woes, they have had to endure fighting over the throne for around 140 some years. Final thought, in c. 1850, a Spanish nobleman who witnessed the Rochester Rappings in the U.S. came back and started Spiritism circles all over Spain. Spain became the center for Spiritism.
I hope that these historical details will add more understanding. I believe that one can look at places that the Spanish administered, like California & Florida, and note how much more functional they became after they got out from under the Spanish nobles and the Catholic church.
(A) Cf. 1 JN 4:1 (B) COL 2:18-19 (C) 1 TIM 2:5 (D )Mallocda, Lucas. Los males de la patria. 1900.