In Francoist Spain, what steps were required for non-Catholics to marry?

In Francoist Spain, what steps were required for non-Catholics to marry?


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In Francoist Spain, if I understand correctly, the Roman Catholic Church had significant authority over many religious aspects of life, including marriage. On Wikipedia, I read:

Civil marriages that had taken place in Republican Spain were declared null and void unless they had been validated by the Church. (source)

This makes it sound like the Church had some sort of "final say" with respect to marriages. Based on this, I think it's a fair assumption that this validation would also have had to occur on any marriages between non-Catholics that took place during Franco's rule. But it's not clear to me what that process would have been.

Thus, my question: what was required for non-Catholics to marry in Francoist Spain? Imagine, for example, that two Protestants want to marry in Spain in 1950. What were the high-level steps that they needed to take, particularly with respect to the Roman Catholic Church, to get married? Did it make a difference if one or both were not citizens of Spain? Was there significant monetary cost or time required to complete the process?


what was required for non-Catholics to marry in Francoist Spain? Imagine, for example, that two Protestants want to marry in Spain in 1950

Short answer for 1950: they needed an affidavit expressing that they were not born catholic or the testimony of a protestant priest recognized as such by the Spanish State.

Long answer for the whole of the Francoist period (1936-1977):

1- 1870-1931. Legislation existed from the time of the parliamentary monarchy in Spain that gave legality to civil marriage "outside of Catholicism"

This law established that Catholics should marry within the Catholic Church, and that in all other cases (protestants, muslims, mixed marriages), the contracting parties should make a statement not to be Catholic. No further tests were required.

2- 1931-1939. This legislation was greatly expanded during the 2nd Spanish Republic (1931-1939) giving full freedom to civil marriage.

3- 1938-1941. The Francoist government at first recovered the legislation of the monarchy. He did this very early, in 1938, before the end of the Civil War in 1939. In theory, the Francoist "Bill of rights" aknowledged marriage as a fundamental right for every religion.

But the civil marriages contracted during the Republic only were valid if the contracting parties were not Catholics. If the spouses were Catholics, they were obliged to remarry within the Catholic Church, but the effects of marriage were retroactive ("sanatio in radice", according to the Canonical Code of 1917, a Vatican, not Spanish law). In fact, civil marriages inherited from the Republic had many practical problems, too long to fully detail here.

4- 1941-1951. Later, in 1941, the law was hardened. Civil marriage became a system of last resort, if not second class, and the contracting parties had to prove that they were not Catholics with the testimony of a Muslim or Protestant priest or other type of evidence that could be very difficult in the case of exotic religions. Atheism was not accepted as a motive for civil marriage. Not having been baptized as catholic was accepted: the declarant had to make an affidavit and the consequences if it was discovered that he lied could be serious.

5- 1951-1967. The law was further tightened in 1951 by the signing of the Concordat with the Catholic Church. Since then, only the Catholic Church could prove that you were not Catholic. If it took time to provide the evidence, you had to wait. The Church's willingness to help non-Catholics to marry was not always great. In practice Muslim marriages were protected by the state and had no problems if people to marry were both born Muslims.

6- 1967-1977. In 1965 the Catholic Church became much more liberal with the Second Vatican Council, and this was reflected in a Spanish law of 1967. Since then, a declaration of not being Catholic was enough.

Franco died in 1975. Civil marriage did not have full equality in Spain until 1977.


Firstly, the Catholic Church does not have jurisdiction over non-Catholics/non-members. In reference to 1917 Code of Canon Law canon #196, which was in force during Franco's reign, canonist Miaskiewicz says, in Supplied Jurisdiction According to Canon 209, Article 1. "Jurisdiction", §A. Definition, p. 9 (my emphasis):

And the ultimate purpose of this power of jurisdiction is the salvation of the subjects who are members of Christ's Church on earth. In a word, as canon 196 states, the power of jurisdiction denotes the whole power of ruling, i.e., the potestas regiminis, which is present in the Church as a juridically perfect society.… Jurisdictional power has a more social purpose in view, i.e., to rule the actions of the members of a community.

Secondly, the Statute Law of the Spanish People (Fuero de los Españoles) of 17th July 1945 tolerated non-Catholic religions (although reserving the right to suppress their public expression):

Article Six. The profession and practice of the Catholic religion, which is the religion of the Spanish State, shall enjoy official support. The State shall assume the responsibility of protecting religious freedom, which shall be guaranteed by an efficacious juridical machinery, which, at the same time, shall safeguard morals and public order.

And it highly valued marriage and the family:

Article Twenty-two. The State recognizes and protects the family as a natural institution and the foundation of society, with rights and duties anterior and superior to every positive human law. Matrimony shall be indissoluble. The State shall give special assistance to large families.

It makes no distinction between Catholic and non-Catholic marriage; thus, all citizens, regardless their religion, had to go through the same process for the State recognize their marriages.


Spanish society after the democratic transition

Under the rule of Francisco Franco, dominant Spanish social values were strongly conservative. Both public laws and church regulations enforced a set of social structures aimed at preserving the traditional role of the family, distant and formal relations between the sexes, and controls over expression in the press, film, and the mass media, as well as over many other important social institutions. By the 1960s, however, social values were changing faster than the law, inevitably creating tension between legal codes and reality. Even the church had begun to move away from its more conservative positions by the latter part of the decade. The government responded haltingly to these changes with some new cabinet appointments and with somewhat softer restrictions on the media. Yet underneath these superficial changes, Spanish society was experiencing wrenching changes as its people came increasingly into contact with the outside world. To some extent, these changes were due to the rural exodus that had uprooted hundreds of thousands of Spaniards and had brought them into new urban social settings. In the 1960s and the early 1970s, however, two other contacts were also important: the flow of European tourists to "sunny Spain" and the migration of Spain's workers to jobs in France, Switzerland, and West Germany. [1]


Contents

At the time of their marriage on October 19, 1469, Isabella was eighteen years old and the heiress presumptive to the Crown of Castile, while Ferdinand was seventeen and heir apparent to the Crown of Aragon. They met for the first time in Valladolid in 1469 and married within a week. From the start, they had a close relationship and worked well together. Both knew that the crown of Castile was "the prize, and that they were both jointly gambling for it". However, it was a step toward the unification of the lands on the Iberian peninsula, which would eventually become Spain.

They were second cousins, so in order to marry they needed a papal dispensation. Pope Paul II, an Italian pope opposed to Aragon's influence on the Mediterranean and to the rise of monarchies strong enough to challenge the Pope, refused to grant one, [4] so they falsified a papal bull of their own. Even though the bull is known to be false, it is uncertain who was the material author of the falsification. Some experts point at Carrillo de Acuña, Archbishop of Toledo, and others point at Antonio Veneris. [5] Pope Paul II remained a bitter enemy of Spain and the monarchy for all his life, and to him is attributed the quote, "May all Spaniards be cursed by God, schismatics and heretics, the seed of Jews and Moors." [4]

Isabella's claims to it were not secure, since her marriage to Ferdinand enraged her half-brother Henry IV of Castile and he withdrew his support for her being his heiress presumptive that had been codified in the Treaty of the Bulls of Guisando. Henry instead recognised Joanna of Castile, born during his marriage to Joanna of Portugal, but whose paternity was in doubt, since Henry was rumored to be impotent. When Henry died in 1474, Isabella asserted her claim to the throne, which was contested by thirteen-year-old Joanna. Joanna sought aid of her husband (who was also her uncle), Afonso V of Portugal, to claim the throne. This dispute between rival claimants led to the War of 1475–1479. Isabella called on the aid of Aragon, with her husband, the heir apparent, and his father, Juan II of Aragon providing it. Although Aragon provided support for Isabella's cause, Isabella's supporters had extracted concessions, Isabella was acknowledged as the sole heir to the crown of Castile. [6] Juan II died in 1479, and Ferdinand succeeded to the throne in January 1479.

In September 1479, Portugal and the Catholic Monarchs of Aragon and Castile resolved major issues between them through the Treaty of Alcáçovas, including the issue of Isabella's rights to the crown of Castile. Through close cooperation, the royal couple were successful in securing political power in the Iberian peninsula. Ferdinand's father had advised the couple that "neither was powerful without the other". [7] Though their marriage united the two kingdoms, leading to the beginnings of modern Spain, they ruled independently and their kingdoms retained part of their own regional laws and governments for the next centuries.

The coat of arms of the Catholic Monarchs was designed by Antonio de Nebrija with elements to show their cooperation and working in tandem. [8] The royal motto they shared, Tanto monta ("as much one as the other"), came to signify their cooperation." [9] The motto was originally used by Ferdinand as an allusion to the Gordian knot: Tanto monta, monta tanto, cortar como desatar ("It's one and the same, cutting or untying"), but later adopted as an expression of equality of the monarchs: Tanto monta, monta tanto, Isabel como Fernando ("It's one and the same, Isabella the same as Ferdinand"). [10]

Their emblems or heraldic devices, seen at the bottom of the coat of arms, were a yoke and a sheaf of arrows. Y and F are the initials of Ysabel (spelling at the time) and Fernando. A double yoke is worn by a team of oxen, emphasizing the couple's cooperation. Isabella's emblem of arrows showed the armed power of the crown, "a warning to Castilians not acknowledging the reach of royal authority or that greatest of royal functions, the right to mete out justice" by force of violence. [9] The iconography of the royal crest was widely reproduced and was found on various works of art. These badges were later used by the fascist Spanish political party Falange, which claimed to represent the inherited glory and the ideals of the Catholic Monarchs. [11]

The establishment of System of Royal Councils to oversee discrete regions or areas was Isabella succeeded to the throne of Castile in 1474 when Ferdinand was still heir-apparent to Aragon, and with Aragon's aid, Isabella's claim to the throne was secured. As Isabella's husband was king of Castile by his marriage and his father still ruled in Aragon, Ferdinand spent more time in Castile than Aragon at the beginning of their marriage. His pattern of residence Castile persisted even when he succeeded to the throne in 1479, and the absenteeism caused problems for Aragon. These were remedied to an extent by the creation of the Council of Aragon in 1494, joining the Council of Castile established in 1480. The Council of Castile was intended "to be the central governing body of Castile and the linch-pin of their governmental system" with wide powers and with royal officials who were loyal to them and excluded the old nobility from exercising power in it. [12] The monarchs created the Spanish Inquisition in 1478 to ensure that individuals converting to Christianity did not revert to their old faith or continue practicing it. The Council of the Crusade was created under their rule to administer funds from the sale of crusading bulls. In 1498 after Ferdinand had gained control of the revenues of the wealthy and powerful Spanish military orders, he created the Council of Military Orders to oversee them. The conciliar model was extended beyond the rule of the Catholic Monarchs, with their grandson, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor establishing the Council of the Indies, the Council of Finance, and the Council of State.

The Catholic Monarchs set out to restore royal authority in Spain. To accomplish their goal, they first created a group named the Holy Brotherhood. These men were used as a judicial police force for Castile, as well as to attempt to keep Castilian nobles in check. To establish a more uniform judicial system, the Catholic Monarchs created the Royal Council, and appointed magistrates (judges) to run the towns and cities. This establishment of royal authority is known as the Pacification of Castile, and can be seen as one of the crucial steps toward the creation of one of Europe's first strong nation-states. Isabella also sought various ways to diminish the influence of the Cortes Generales in Castile, though Ferdinand was too thoroughly Aragonese to do anything of the sort with the equivalent systems in the Crown of Aragon. Even after his death and the union of the crowns under one monarch, the Aragonese, Catalan, and Valencian Corts (parliaments) retained significant power in their respective regions. Further, the monarchs continued ruling through a form of medieval contractualism, which made their rule pre-modern in a few ways. One of those is that they traveled from town to town throughout the kingdom in order to promote loyalty, rather than possessing any single administrative center. Another is that each community and region was connected to them via loyalty to the crown, rather than bureaucratic ties. [c]

Along with the desire of the Catholic Monarchs to extend their dominion to all the kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula, their reign was characterised by religious unification of the peninsula through militant Catholicism. Petitioning the pope for authority, Pope Sixtus IV issued a bull in 1478 to establish a Holy Office of the Inquisition in Castile. This was to ensure that Jews and Muslims who converted to Christianity did not revert to their previous faiths. The papal bull gave the sovereigns full powers to name inquisitors, but the papacy retained the right to formally appoint the royal nominees. The inquisition did not have jurisdiction over Jews and Muslims who did not convert. Since in the kingdom of Aragon it had existed since 1248, the Spanish Inquisition was the only common institution for the two kingdoms. Pope Innocent VIII confirmed Dominican Tomás de Torquemada, a confessor of Isabella, as Grand Inquisitor of Spain, following in the tradition in Aragon of Dominican inquisitors. Torquemada pursued aggressive policies toward converted Jews (conversos) and moriscos. The pope also granted the Catholic Monarchs the right of patronage over the ecclesiastical establishment in Granada and the Canary Islands, which meant the control of the state in religious affairs.

The monarchs began a series of campaigns known as the Granada War (1482–1492), which was aided by Pope Sixtus IV's granting the tithe revenue and implementing a crusade tax so that the monarchs could finance the war. After 10 years of fighting the Granada War ended in 1492 when Emir Boabdil surrendered the keys of the Alhambra Palace in Granada to the Castilian soldiers. With the fall of Granada in January 1492, Isabella and Ferdinand pursued further policies of religious unification of their realms, in particular the expulsion of Jews who refused to convert to Christianity.

After a number of revolts, Ferdinand and Isabella ordered the expulsion of all Jews from Spain. [13] [14] People who converted to Catholicism were not subject to expulsion, but between 1480 and 1492 hundreds of those who had converted (conversos and moriscos) were accused of secretly practicing their original religion (crypto-Judaism or crypto-Islam) and arrested, imprisoned, interrogated under torture, and in some cases burned to death, in both Castile and Aragon. [ citation needed ]

The Inquisition had been created in the twelfth century by Pope Lucius III to fight heresy in the south of what is now France and was constituted in a number of European kingdoms. The Catholic Monarchs decided to introduce the Inquisition to Castile, and requested the Pope's assent. On 1 November 1478, Pope Sixtus IV published the papal bull Exigit Sinceras Devotionis Affectus, by which the Inquisition was established in the Kingdom of Castile it was later extended to all of Spain. The bull gave the monarchs exclusive authority to name the inquisitors. [15]

During the reign of the Catholic Monarchs and long afterwards the Inquisition was active in prosecuting people for violations of Catholic orthodoxy such as crypto-Judaism, heresy, Protestantism, blasphemy, and bigamy. The last trial for crypto-Judaism was held in 1818.

In 1492 the monarchs issued a decree of expulsion of Jews, known formally as the Alhambra Decree, which gave Jews in Spain four months to either convert to Catholicism or leave Spain. Tens of thousands of Jews emigrated to other lands such as Portugal, North Africa, the Low Countries, Italy and the Ottoman Empire.

Although the Catholic Monarchs pursued a partnership in many matters, because of the histories of their respective kingdoms, they did not always have unified viewpoint in foreign policy. Despite that, they did have a successful expansionist foreign policy due to a number of factors. The victory over the Muslims in Granada allowed Ferdinand to involve himself in policy outside the Iberian peninsula. [16]

The diplomatic initiative of King Ferdinand continued the traditional policy of the Crown of Aragon, with its interests set in the Mediterranean, with interests in Italy and sought conquests in North Africa. Aragon had a traditional rivalry with France, which had been traditional allies with Castile. Castile's foreign interests were focused on the Atlantic, making Castile's funding of the voyage of Columbus an extension of existing interests. [16]

Castile had traditionally had good relations with the neighboring Kingdom of Portugal, and after the Portuguese lost the War of the Castilian Succession, Castile and Portugal concluded the Treaty of Alcáçovas. The treaty set boundaries for overseas expansion which were at the time disadvantageous to Castile, but the treaty resolved any further Portuguese claims on the crown of Castile. Portugal did not take advantage of Castile's and Aragon's focus on the reconquest of Granada. Following the reestablishment of good relations, the Catholic Monarchs made two strategic marriages to Portuguese royalty.

The matrimonial policy of the monarchs sought advantageous marriages for their five children, forging royal alliances for the long term benefit of Spain. Their first-born, a daughter named Isabella, married Afonso of Portugal, forging important ties between these two neighboring kingdoms that would lead to enduring peace and future alliance. Joanna, their second daughter, married Philip the Handsome, the son of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I. This ensured alliance with the Holy Roman Empire, a powerful, far-reaching European territory which assured Spain's future political security. Their only son, John, married Margaret of Austria, seeking to maintain ties with the Habsburg dynasty, on which Spain relied heavily. Their fourth child, Maria, married Manuel I of Portugal, strengthening the link forged by Isabella's elder sister's marriage. Their fifth child, Catherine, married Arthur, Prince of Wales and heir to the throne of England, in 1501 he died at the age of 15 a few months later, and she married his younger brother shortly after he became King Henry VIII of England in 1509. These alliances were not all long lasting, with their only son and heir-apparent John dying young Catherine was divorced by Henry VIII and Joanna's husband Philip dying young, with the widowed Joanna deemed mentally unfit to rule.

Under the Catholic Monarchs an efficient army loyal to the Crown was created, commanded by Castilian Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, known as the Great Captain . Fernández de Córdoba reorganised the military troops on a new combat unit, tercios reales, which entailed the creation of the first modern army dependent on the crown, regardless of pretensions of the nobles. [17]

Through the Capitulations of Santa Fe, Genoese mariner Christopher Columbus received finances and was authorised to sail west and claim lands for Spain. The monarchs accorded him the title of Admiral of the Ocean Sea and he was given broad privileges. His voyage west resulted in the European colonization of the Americas and brought the knowledge of its existence to Europe. Columbus' first expedition to the supposed Indies actually landed in the Bahamas on October 12, 1492. Since Queen Isabella had provided the funding and authorization for the voyage, the benefits accrued to the Kingdom of Castile. "Although the subjects of the Crown of Aragon played some part in the discovery and colonization of the New World, the Indies were formally annexed not to Spain but to the Crown of Castile." [18] He landed on the island of Guanahani, and called it San Salvador. He continued onto Cuba, naming it Juana, and finished his journey on the island of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, calling it Hispaniola, or La Isla Española ("the Spanish [Island]" in Castilian). [19] On his second trip, begun in 1493, he found more Caribbean islands including Puerto Rico. His main goal was to colonize the existing discoveries with the 1500 men that he had brought the second time around. Columbus finished his last expedition in 1498, and discovered Trinidad and the coast of present-day Venezuela. The colonies Columbus established, and conquests in the Americas in later decades, generated an influx of wealth into the new unified state of Spain, leading it to be the major power of Europe from the end of the sixteenth century until the mid-seventeenth century, and the largest empire until 1810.

Isabella's death in 1504 ended the remarkably successful political partnership and personal relationship of their marriage. Ferdinand remarried Germaine of Foix in 1505, but they produced no living heir. Had there been one, Aragon would doubtless have been separated from Castile. The Catholic Monarchs' daughter Joanna succeeded to the crown of Castile, but was deemed unfit to rule and following the death of her husband Phillip the Fair, Ferdinand retained power in Castile as regent until his death. He died in 1516 and is buried alongside his first wife Isabella in Granada, the scene of their great triumph in 1492. Joanna's son Charles I of Spain (also Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor) came to Spain, and until his mother's death she was nominal co-ruler of both Castile and Aragon. With her death, Charles succeeded to the territories that his grandparents had accumulated and brought the Habsburg territories in Europe to the expanding Spanish Empire.


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Francoist forces in the Civil War period (1936 - 1939) Edit

Repression against women by Nationalist forces has been difficult to understand as historians have traditionally been obsessed with quantifying the number dead, imprisoned and wounded. As much more detailed records were kept about men than women, the history of Francoist repression specifically targeting women has historically underrepresented women or devalued the specific repression women faced in this period. Much of the violence in this period was gendered, and there were efforts to dismiss, hide or downplay violence against women as part of further efforts to repress women. Quantification has largely resulted in the erasure of women's history. [1] [2] [3]

Sexual violence was a commonly used tactic by Nationalist forces during the Spanish Civil War, aimed exclusively at women. It was coupled with other violence aimed at women, including forcing women to drink castor oil so they would uncontrollably soil themselves, taking children away from women in prison, taking children away from mothers and placing them in Nationalist homes before the mother was executed. [4] [5] [6] [1] [7] [2] Women were considered prizes of war their bodies were considered part of a battlefield that Nationalist forces had to defeat. [8] [9] The purpose was to force women into subordination or to use women's trauma to control male family members. [5] [4] Women in Nationalist prisons were raped. [4] [10] [1] [11] [12] As a form of punishment, women sometimes were paraded through the streets wearing very little clothing. They were made to sing "Face to the sun". [1] [12] [13] Their heads were often shaved in an attempt to humiliate them by stripping them of one of their outward signs of femininity. [7] [1] [13] Many of these practices were borrowed from Italian fascists. [7] To add to the humiliation of these women, many had their households ransacked, with all their valuables stolen by Nationalist supporters who then sold all their property on the black market. [13] The Franco regime's actions against women during the Civil War were flagrant and unprosecuted violations of the 1898 Hague Convention and 1929 Geneva Convention. [10] The total numbers of women who were victims of sexual violence and abuse during the Civil War will never be known. [14]

Falangist troops acted as rearguard troops, serving in places captured by troops or where there had never really been any nationalist opposition. [2] Daria and Mercedes Buxadé, two sisters from Barcelona, were participating in Republican action against Franco's nationalist forces in Mallorca in 1936. After being caught, Falangist troops gave them a virginity test, and then brutally and repeatedly raped the sisters. Margalida Jaume was in Mallorca in the same time, and Falangist also raped her. Pilar Sánchez, the wife of a socialist party member, was also hiding from Falangists. She too was discovered by a group of four Falangists who beat and raped her, before taking to her a cemetery where they raped her again and then executed her. [15] [11] All were thrown into common graves. [6] During the Civil War, Falangists raped women in the courtyard of the hospital in Oviedo, and in the Melilla prison. Civil Guard corporal Juan Vadillo and Falangist Fernando Zamacola were both decorated by Nationalists forces after they raped women in Benamahoma. [16] [11] In the town of Brenes, a woman was taken to a farmhouse, and then forced lay on the ground and roll up her dress to expose her genitals. After this was completed, Falangist Joaquín Barragán Díaz was given scissors so he could cut off all the woman's genital hair. He refused. A member of the Civil Guard was brought in to do this, but he only half finished removing her genital hair. Finally, the head of Falange de Brenes completed the job. [2] [17] [13] Wife of a socialist councilor of a pueblo in Andalucia of El Gastor, María Torreño was beaten so badly that she miscarried. She was then abandoned by her Falangist torturers, and died a short time later as a result of the torture she had been subjected to. After Frasquita Avilés rejected a Falangist who fell in love with her, the Falangist killed her and then raped her in a cemetery. [2] [17] In Fuentes de Andalucía, five young girls between the ages of 16 and 22 were raped, murdered and then thrown into a well by Falangists on 27 August 1936. Their names are María León Becerril, María Jesús Caro González, Joaquina Lora Muñoz, Coral García Lora and Josefa García Lora. Before their rapes and murders, they were forced to drink alcohol and perform oral sex on male Falangists and were paraded through the streets in only their underwear. After they were thrown in the well, the Falangists paraded through the town with the women's underwear hung like flags from their rifles and shotguns. [2] [18] Five female nurses from Barcelona were captured in Majorca after the Republican retreat. Falangists gave all gave intrusive virginity tests, and then engaged in group rape in Manacor. The next day, all five women were murdered in the Son Coletes cemetery. [2] [19] [20] Following their deaths, Falangists tried to depict these Republican nurses as prostitutes to justify their actions. The reputations of these Republican nurses would not be rehabilitated until 2005. [2] [20]

Nationalists forces would rape girls as young as 12, sometimes repeatedly. One such incident occurred in Moguer. Sometimes Nationalist soldiers would stay in homes of poor families with no man present. They would take advantage of the situation to rape women in the household. In Peguerinos, two female nurses and other local women were raped by Falangists. Pregnant and non-pregnant women were raped and then executed in Spanish cities like Fuente de Cantos, Zafra, Almendralejo, Aguacho, Fuente del Maestre, Boecillo, Valdedios, Pallars Sobirá and Zufre. Sometimes after Falangists were done raping women, they would brand the breasts of their victims with the yoke and phalanx arrows, the Falangist symbol. [15] [2] [21] In late 1938, a 17-year-old girl in Unarre was forced to watch her mother being executed, and then she was brutally gang raped and executed. [2] [3] When Nationalist troops occupied Vizcaya in the summer of 1937, their supporters engaged in wide scale sexual harassment. Women's heads were shaved, and some were publicly beaten while half naked. This caused psychological damage not just to the victims, but also to their families who had to bear witness to the abuse. [2] [22] Catholic Nationalist troops also engaged in sexual violence against Republican women. Led by General Mola, a group of regulars in Valdediós first raped fourteen nurses and a 15-year-old girl. They then murdered them. [9]

Regular Nationalists soldiers raped at least four women in Maials. Another group of Nationalist regulars raped a woman, her daughter and her female cousin in Callus. When they were done, they then bayoneted the women. Other regulars in Marganell raped two women and then executed them by placing grenades between their legs. Regulars also raped several young women in Cantalpino. [15] On 24 December 1938, four women in Maials were raped, including one who was raped at gunpoint in front of her husband and 7-year-old son. In Callús, a husband had to watch his wife, daughter and female cousin be raped by Regulars before they were bayoneted, also in front of him. [2] [3] Milicianas, female militia members, were also frequently raped by Nationalist supporters when captured on the battlefield. They too also had their heads shaved. [9]

Women in Nationalists prisons were often raped. This was common in the Las Sales Prison, where women were removed by Falangists to their barracks to be raped. Thirty women were raped in the course of three months by two officials at the Albacete prison. The voices of victims could be heard screaming throughout the prison. [15] [11] Women in prison were constantly faced with guards who asked them for sexual favors in exchange for improving their situation in prison or the situation of other incarcerated relatives. [7] Some female political prisoners in Vizcaya in late 1937 refused to have sex with their Nationalist military captors, even with the threat of being executed. The night after refusing, many were actually shot. The stories of these women's resistance were spread by word of mouth, and they became symbols of resistance for other women facing repression. [2] [22]

As a way of creating additional humiliation for women and their families, Nationalist troops would sometimes direct groups of Moroccan soldiers under their command to rape specific women and groups of women in villages. [15] [2] [3] These sexual assaults were often so brutal that women victims died within hours. One such case occurred in Navalcarnero. [15] [2] Because many died, it makes getting approximate numbers of rape victims difficult. [2] Another occurred in San Roque, with the anarchist woman subsequently being shot by a firing squad. Other incidents also occurred in Seville, which Gonzalo Queipo de Llano discussed on his radio program. [15] [23] This practice of using Moroccan Foreign Legion members to rape local women was a carryover from Spanish military actions in their colonial possessions. [2] German soldiers offering Nationalists support during the Civil War would sometimes delight in taking photographs of violence committed by Spanish Moroccan Legionaries against women, including the removal of women's breasts. Despite Franco's attempts to intervene to stop this behavior, it continued. [2] [21]

Foreign Affairs magazine in October 1942 said of Francoist commanders, "They never denied that they had promised white women to the Moors when they entered Madrid. Sitting with the officers on a camp bivouac, I overheard them discussing the collusion of that promise only some argued that a woman was still Spanish despite her "red" ideas. This practice was not denied either by El Mizzian, the only Moroccan officer of the Spanish army. I was with this soldier at the road junction of Navalcarnero when two Spanish girls, who seemed not to have turned twenty yet, were brought before him. One of them had worked in a textile factory in Barcelona and a union card was found on her jacket the other, from Valencia, claimed not to have political convictions. After questioning them to get some information of a military nature, El Mizzian took them to a small building that had been the village school, where about forty Moors rested. When they reached the door, there was a howling scream from the throats of the soldiers. I attended the scene horrified and uselessly indignant. El Mizzian smiled affectionately when I protested what happened saying, "Oh, they will not live more than four hours."" [2] [24] [14] [9]

On extreme occasions, men were prosecuted in military courts for the violence they committed against women, though even then most male perpetrators were acquitted. Sevillian homosexual Falangist Andrés Díaz murdered his pregnant ex-wife Ana Lineros while she was giving birth, having taken her from jail and shaving her first. He then tried to hide her body. Díaz was acquitted of murder because the court ruled Lineros was a dangerous red, despite lots of testimony from other women who claimed she was not. [13] In a case in Torre Alháquime, when there was a leadership in Falange, the incoming boss wrote an internal report that accused the outgoing leader as drunk, rapist and extortionist. For the most part, such written testimonies either do not exist, were destroyed or have gone missing. [13] [17]

Women in Extremadura who worked in homes of the rich as seamstresses tried to form a union in the spring of 1936. Following the start of the Civil War, these women were tried for their attempt to unionize. Their punishment was sexual abuse. [2] [3]

Gonzalo Queipo de Llano Edit

Queipo de Llano had a radio program, where he said of the mass rape which occurred in Seville, "Our brave legionaries and regulars have taught the cowards of the reds what it means to be a man. And, by the way, also to women. After all, these communists and anarchists deserve it, have not they been playing free love? Now at least they will know what real men are and not sissy militiamen. They will not fight, no matter how hard they struggle and kick." [23] [7] [25] [2] Queipo de Llana would also resort to calling Republican he opposed prostitutes. On his radio show, he said of Dolores Ibárruri "The famous Pasionaria has taken it with me because she does not realize that I admire her, for having managed to ascend from virgin of 30 reals to the first figure of the regime." [25] His radio show was so explicit in its violence that it was sometimes censored by Francoist forces. [25] Ahead of the Málaga–Almería road massacre, which saw thousands of women and children attempting to escape Malaga for Almería, "Yes, red scoundrel from Malaga, wait until I get there in ten days! I will sit in a café on Calle Larios drinking beer and for each sip of mine you will fall ten. I will fire ten . for each one of us who you shoot, even if I have to get you out of the grave to do it." Of the potential capture of Sevilla and Cordoba, he said, "Tomorrow we take Peñaflor, so let the women of the reds prepare their mourning shawls. We are determined to apply the law with inexorable firmness: Morón, Utrera, Puente Genil, to prepare graves. I authorize you to kill like any dog who resists you, that if you do so, you will be exempt from all guilt." [25]

Rafael Alberti wrote a poem that was read of Nationalist radio by Queipo de Llano that said, "Tonight I take Malaga, / on Monday, I took Jerez, / Montilla and Cazalla Tuesday, / Wednesday, Chinchón, and on Thursday, / drunk and in the morning, / all the stables / Madrid, all the blocks, / mullendo cagajones, / they will give me their soft bed./ Oh, what a treat sleeping / taking for a pillow / and at the reach of the snout / two cribs of alfalfa. / What an honor to go to the tying / of the halter! What remarkable grace / receive in my hooves, / nailed with hooks, / the horseshoes that Franco / won by boldness in Africa! / I already have my back lowered, / my legs are already lowered, and my ears are growing, / already the teeth are lengthened, / the cinch comes short, / the reins are falling out of my way, / gallop, gallop . step. / I'll be in Madrid tomorrow, / that the schools close, / that the taverns open, / nothing of Universities, / of Institutes, nothing, nothing, / that the wine runs to the meeting / of a liberator of Spain. / - Attention! Radio Sevilla. / The general of this square, / foolish brave idiot, / Queipo de Llano, he doesn't say anything." [23]

Nationalist supporters defined women two ways: Either as good, Catholic, self-sacrificing mothers, or immoral women who provoked men by their dress, showing off bare arms and using tight clothing to highlight their form. For figures like Gonzalo Queipo de Llano, these women were worth degenerating further through rape. [26]

Francoist period (1939 - 1975) Edit

When men returned home from the front lives of the Civil War, culture dictated they had a certain sexual freedom that women were denied. This included the ability to go out at night, have sex with prostitutes and otherwise be promiscuous. At the same time, the return of traditional Catholicism demanded the woman return to traditional roles such as the wife and mother.

Women were taught in the Francoist period that their purpose was to submit to their husbands, and this included in areas of sex where they were to humbly accede. [27] Domestic violence, committed by men towards their spouses, was a rampant problem in Francoist Spain. This sort of violence against women was perfectly legal, and women had no recourse for dealing with it as they were considered legal property of their husbands. [28] For many married women in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, sexual abuse was the norm in marriage. A woman from Cordoba named Theodora described her experiences with her husband in this period as, "I did not want, I did not want to [have sex]. Because if he came (. ) Because he has always came late (. ) Frozen from drinking and smoking, to me what I would like, if I came to a tart wine and I did not feel like it. But he, whether I wanted to or not, would take me and put me face up and go up and I gave him a speech and he did not care about me, that I had no pleasure." [29] Some women would pretend to be menstruating to avoid having sex with their husbands. [29]

The Penal Code of 1848 established the definition of sexual crimes in Spain. It would not be substantially altered until 1996, and was the major law related to this type of crime in the Francoist period. Title X had a section called "Crimes against honesty". This section deal with a number of crimes including adultery, rape and corruption of minors and kidnapping. Rape was specifically dealt with in article 363. It required that force or intimidation directed at the victim or deprivation "of reason or sense" on the part of the victim or the victim need to be under the age of 12 needed to be present for rape to occur. Dishonest abuse was another category related to sex crimes. This included things like anal penetration. Rape convictions lead to sentences of 12 to 20 years. Teachers, priests and authority figures could be imprisoned for having carnal knowledge of those under their care between the ages of 12 and 23, with a minor prison sentence of 4 to 6 years. If the charge was only of dishonest abuse, then prison time could be between 7 months and 6 years. Men could often avoid prison time by marrying their victims. [30]

A law enacted by Franco in December 1941 said that pregnant women given death sentences would have their executions stayed until they gave birth. At that point, the baby would be given to the father if he was alive and in Spain. Otherwise, many of these women had their newborns taken from them where, had the last names of their baby changed, and then were given to loyal Nationalist families. This law helped formalize the stolen babies process, a process that would not end until the middle of the democratic transition. [1] [7] [11] [12] Estimates by activists put the number of stolen babies at around 30,960 boys and girls. [11]

The Law of 6 November 1942 changed the criminal code around both rape and adultery. Women between the ages of 16 and 23 who were deceived into having sex could file a complaint again a man, which could see him going to prison for up to six months. If an honest woman was deceived into having carnal sex with a man and abuse was also involved, then he could receive 12 to 16 years in prison. Employers who abused honest women in their employ into having sex with them could also be imprisoned, though this sentence could be commuted if he married her. Financial penalties for committing rape were also increased. [30]

The 1944 Penal Code said rape was a punishable offense when a girl was between 12 and 23 if she was a virgin, and between the ages of 17 and 23 if she was not a virgin. [31] The 1944 Penal Code also made it so that in almost all cases, only married women and men they had affairs with could be guilty of adultery married men were only guilty if they brought their mistresses to live in the marital home. [32] The 1945 Law of Political Responsibilities punished anyone who showed any active or passive affinity towards the Second Republic or towards the "reds". [1] [12] In the Northwest Region of Murcia, only 2.49% of the arrests under the Law of Political Responsibilities involved women. Women guilty of this offense were not always charged this way. [1]

A 1944 edition of Semanario de la SF said, "The life of every woman, despite what she may pretend, is nothing but a continuous desire to find somebody to whom she can succumb. Voluntary dependency, the offering of every minute, every desire and illusion is the most beautiful thing, because it implies the cleaning away of all the bad germs -- vanity, selfishness, frivolity -- by love." [33]

Women in prison during the Francoist period continued to have their heads shaved as a way of denying their womanhood. [7] Women in Francoist Spain were sometimes subject to forced abortions. [4] The regime claimed that if a woman had an orgasm it was an insult to her husband. [34] Lidia Falcón O'Neill, arrested seven times, was abused so badly in Madrid's Yeseria prison and in Barcelona's Trinidad prison between 1960 and 1974 that she was left permanently damaged. While beating her, one guard shouted, "¡Now you will not give birth anymore, bitch witch!" [6] [11] Falcón later said of this, "In my case, in addition to the blows, one of the humiliations or insults that they repeated was 'bitch, that way you will not give birth anymore', because they hit me in the abdomen." She said of other women's experiences in prison with her, "Others were raped luckily it did not happen to me. [. ] They undressed them . there is a macho sadism that enjoys a free woman to deliver her to his criminal instincts." [6]

Children, both boys and girls, who lived in state run boarding schools or in orphanages run by the Catholic Church were often subject to violence, degradation and rape. [35] [36] Julia Ferrer, who lived at the Casa de la Caridad in Barcelona, said of her own personal experience, "They took me to Sant Boi. Sometimes I would answer the nun and they would punish me with electric shock, but not because she was crazy, but as punishment." [36]

Rape of women with Republican ties was common until at least the 1960s, with authorities generally treating male perpetrators as immune to prosecution. Everyone was taught to look the other way when violations of women occurred, and records of rape were not kept. [12] [37] Anita Sirgo and Tina Pérez were both raped while in prison as a result of their involvement in the 1962 Asturian mining strikes. The rapes took place as part of broader torture they were forced to submit to. [7]

Women in PCE were pressured to have sex in the mid-1960s and 1970s to prove that they were free. There was an element of lack of choice if they wanted to prove their leftist credentials. According to Merche Comalleba, "The PCE militants told us that we were some sluts, some whores, that our goals were neither feminist nor political nor anything". [38]

While rape was illegal in some instances in Spain, the crime was under-reported in the Franco period because women saw being a rape victim as a source of humiliation and shame. This was compounded by the fact that many victims were not highly educated and lacked the personal confidence to undergo a humiliating experience of reporting the act to the police who were often suspect of their claims or who would take the side of the rapist by default. [39]

Consultorio de Elana Francis Edit

Consultorio de Elana Francis was a radio program that aired in Spain between 1947 and 1984, where women were able to ask for advice on problems they had. Issues of marital gender violence often came up. [40] [31] [37] [32] [41] The show was created by Angela Castells, a member of Sección Feminina, Patronato de Protección de la Mujer and Spanish League against Public Immorality, Spain's immorality police. [31] [42] [41] Letters with delicate subject matters did not air, but did receive sometimes horrifying responses. [42] Many women wrote to the show as they had no one else to turn to. [43] None of the letters that have been preserved from the show use the word rape, but women writers described being raped using euphemisms, such as "He did what he wanted from me" and "I fall asleep and my brother does what he wants . " [31] [42] [41] Women who were abused by their husbands were routinely told to not leave home, to put up with his behavior, and that they were guilty of failing their husbands which was why they behaved violently towards them. [42] Women wrote to describe being victims of gender violence. [32] One woman, who described herself as a wretched wife whose husband bear her in front of her 10-year-old daughter, that she should, "Be brave, do not neglect your personal arrangement for a moment. And when he gets home, be willing to please him whenever he asks." Another woman talked about how her neighbor made her 15-year-old daughter pregnant, with Elana's advice being to give the child up for adoption. [31] Another woman wrote in to say, "When I was 9 years old, my brother-in-law took advantage of my sexual curiosity to make me lose my purity." Elana Francis told this woman to confess, as she was partly to blame as she had sinned and encouraged her to continue to living in the home where the violation took place. [37] [42] [44] One woman wrote asking what to do when she saw her husband out with his mistress, with Elana's response being, "If you see them together again, do not get upset pretend that and offer the sacrifice to the Lord." [32] Another teenaged girl from Barcelona wrote in to say of her father, "I have to wait with resignation the day I do not doubt my father would hit me or step on my face as one day he did and I would be forever disgraced." [32] The advice to women who were rape victims or victims of gender violence was that they should stay, endure and offer their suffering up to God. [41]

Antonio González Pacheco (Billy the Kid) Edit

Antonio González Pacheco, also known as Billy the Kid, was a Social Political Brigade policeman. Decorated for a medal for police merit, he was known for his enjoyment of imposing terror, particularly on women, that he professionally came into contact with while investigating or arresting them. [45] [46] [47] One of his victims was Lidia Falcón. [6]

One alleged incident took place in 1975 involving an 18-year-old girl name Rosa García Alcón who belonged to the Spanish Democratic University Federation (FUDE), Revolutionary Antifascist and Patriotic Front (FRAP). She said of her experience with González Pacheco following her arrest by two policemen that summer, "What I remember most was his mouth, very big, how he approached my face and yelled at me . more than fear it made me sick, it smelled very bad, it was very unpleasant, I do not remember asking anything, just hit me like a crazy. [. ] He used to call me a bitch, a slut, he was very contemptuous of women, very macho, and he enjoyed imposing terror, I could see it in his eyes." She went on to say, "One night they took me out in a car, Billy the Kid and three other police officers were saying that they were going to show me a safe house they had located, and they threatened me saying that they were going to take me to the Casa de Campo, to rape and leave me out there, that my family would never know about me again.[. ] Imagine, when I had just turned 18, handcuffed in a car with four men . I was a girl, when they threw me on the floor in interrogations, like I was wearing a dress, they said 'look, what the bitch teaches us', those sort of things." [45]

Felisa Echegoyen was another González Pacheco survivor. She was had just destroyed documentation about her political affiliations before González Pacheco broke into her house. She said of this, "He would approach your face and take your breath, which was repulsive because it smelled like alcohol. This was something he did a lot with women he wanted to make us smaller, as if he were a monster." [45]

Complaints against his ill-treatment of prisoners had been made to the police by 1974, but had not been acted on, even after the start of the democratic transition. [46] The complaints, while he was still employed, would eventually total to 17. [47] In 1974, the Municipal Court Number 19 in Madrid sentenced González Pacheco single day in prison and fined him 1,000 pesetas for abuse by Enrique Aguilar Benítez de Lugo. Other proceedings against her were dismissed as a result of the 1977 Amnesty Law. [48]

In February 1975, Communist Youth member María Rumín was a 17-year-old when she became another one of his victims while she was defending free and quality publish schools at Plaza del Parterre in Carabanchel. She said of this, "Just to hear the name of Billy the Kid , my hair stood on end. I was detained for three days in the Puerta del Sol police station. No one warned my family and no one gave information about my whereabouts during those three days. My hair is still standing on end when I remember those days. Just to hear the name Billy the Kid makes my hair stand on end." González Pacheco broke her face by hitting it with his fists. González Pacheco also stole some of the money Rumín had on her when she entered detention. [49]

Democratic transition period (1975 - 1986) Edit

Franco died in November 1975. [50] The first protest condemning violence against women was held in Barcelona in 1976. Women marched, chanting phrases like "Against rape, castration" (Spanish: Contra violación, castración), "We want to walk calmly" (Spanish: Queremos caminar tranquilas), "Let's make our night" (Spanish: Hagamos nuestra la noche), "Alone, drunk, I want to go home" (Spanish: Sola, borracha, quiero volver a casa) and "Enough of violations!" (Spanish: ¡Basta de violaciones!). At the time, rape was not treated as a serious institutional problem inside Spain, and rape victims had few rights. [51]

The issue of age of consent was before the Congress in April 1978. [52] It was changed from eighteen, to between twelve and sixteen. Between those ages, consent was allowed only if the other person did not have authority over the younger person. [52] [30] Issues around women's honesty as it related to rape accusations also disappeared in 1978. [30] The Socialists also successfully got articles 436 and 442 repealed from the criminal code in April 1978. [52] Reforms in the law in 1978 meant men could also be considered victims of rape. [30] That year, contraception also became legal. [31] Divorce also became legal in 1981. [31]

A reform in 1983 said that a victim offering forgiveness to the perpetrator would not result in the dropping of criminal proceedings in the cases of rape, sexual abuse and kidnapping. [30] Thefts of children from female political prisoners continued into the early 1980s. These mothers were often told their children were born dead, or had serious illness at birth and subsequently died. [11] In 1987, Spain's Supreme Court ruled that rape victims did not need to prove they actively fought off their rapist to lodge a complaint. [53]

Post Francoist Spain (1985 - present) Edit

In the modern era, it is understood that the type of violence women experienced in the Spanish Civil War is common, having occurred throughout history in places like Troy and into the modern day in places like Darfur. [13] Spain's has been criticized for "the complete forgetfulness within the law of the Historical Memory of the crimes against humanity against republican women." [10] Prior to the 1990s, there was no way to tell in Spain that number of women who were killed by their boyfriends or husbands. [54] The abuse and murder of women in Spain was a form of sexist terrorism and claimed more victims than that of ETA. [54] El caso de los niños perdidos del franquismo by Miguel Ángel Rodríguez Arias ends with a demand that the Spanish government start "the opening of an effective and independent official investigation of all its crimes, as required by the European Court of Human Rights, which will lead to the clarification of the facts and the criminal prosecution of those responsible." [10]

In 2010, the Junta de Andalusia compensated women who were forced to swallow castor oil or had their hair shave or forced to walk naked through their towns with €1,800. This compensation was a result of the Historical Memory Board of Andalusia. Similar compensations were offered to other victims of historical repression during the Spanish Civil War in Andalusia. Of the 2,742 people who received compensation under this scheme, only 5% were women. [13]

On 16 March 2016, a case about Francoist sexual and gender violence was filed, citing human rights violations, in Argentina. [5] [11] The case was brought by Women's Link and was to be heard by María Servini de Cubría, the only Argentine judge reviewing Franco era human rights violations in the country. Of the six women named in the suit, five were murdered. They were Margalida Jaume Vendrel, Daria and Mercedes Buzadé Adroher, Pilar Sánchez Lladrés and Matilde Lanza Vaz. The other woman was Lidia Falcón, who was imprisoned repeatedly between 1960 and 1974. [4] [55] [11] Glenys de Jesús said of Women's Link's need to file this, saying, "both for the crimes already reported within the cause and for which Women's Link adds now, apply a perspective that takes into account that violence that was used against women and men was direct, had a different impact, and a different meaning." [11] She went on to say that, "not only of a different brutality, but also had a clear objective, which was to punish those women that the regime considered had broken with their social position." [11] She continued, saying the goal of Francoist was to, "send a message of pressure to the whole society of what the model of female behavior should be and at the same time they used women to punish the men of the Republican side." [11]

A new line of investigation into sexual abuse by the Franco regime was admitted in the National Criminal and Correctional Court No. 1 of Buenos Aires in October 2018. [6] A more general case about human rights violations by the regime had first been opened in Argentina in 2010. [6]

Antonio González Pacheco benefited from the Amnesty Law in October 1977. [47] Argentine Justice placed an international arrest warrant for González Pacheco in 2013 as part of their broader investigation into human rights abuses by the Francoist regime. [49] People first tried to bring charges in Spain against Antonio González Pacheco in the Spain's National Court in 2014. [56] González Pacheco was finally investigated in 2018 as a result of seven complaints filed in Madrid that alleged crimes against humanity. Only one of the seven cases was investigated for torture related offenses. The government argued against the cases being accepted as his actions and those of other men in the Spanish police were not part of a systemic pattern designed to repress a specific part of the population. González Pacheco was never stripped of any of his honors by the Spanish state, despite the allegations later made against him. [45]


Related Catholic Articles

361 thoughts on &ldquoCan a Catholic Marry a Non-Catholic?&rdquo

pls hlp. I am a Catholic and my partner is an Anglican it’s difficult to convince him we love each other and finally decide to get married but the problem is this: I recently found out from a friend of mine that getting married in the Catholic church is like a covenant that if we leave to another church it becomes a sin. I don’t know what to do. my question is how true is this please someone help

My wife is Catholic and I am Pentecostal. My wife wanted to get married in a beautiful catholic church in her country in Peru. But we live in Atlanta Georgia. We were already married in the court in Atlanta but to get permission to be married in the Church of San Pedro in Lima Peru we had to get approval from the Catholic Church. I would not agree to convert to Catholicism but we went through a lot of interviews and also had to provide numerous personal witnesses from different sides.

In the end the Priests there finished all their interviews and sent everything off supposedly with their recommendations to the Archdiocese of Atlanta and from there I believe to the Vatican. In the end the process took a fair amount of time but the church approved everything and provided us with papers granting permission to be married in the catholic church of San Pedro. It was really an Interesting experience and after almost 9 years of marriage has become something of a fond memory.

I am Presbyterian, i fall in love with a Catholic girl can i marry in Presbyterian Church? Please help me

I’m non-Catholic but I belong to Christian family. At the same time I fall in love with a Catholic girl. Here, my question is can I marry her? Please l really need help…

Im Orthodox and my partner is catholic, my partner is not religious and does not want to be in a church, i however am not fully religious but would still like to have a priest at my wedding for my family. It has been quite rough with them.

Is it possible to have a wedding outside with a priest there??
Please help.

If he really cares and respect u and ur family he will give u a valid orthodox marriage, since he is not religious it should make no difference to him. He gave u no choice so now he has no choice in this matter.

What matters is the church not the priest

It’s the church that matters not the priest.

It’s the church that matters not the priest

I forgot to mention that the Catholic Church doesn’t demand that the non catholic person convert in order to get married by the church. The emphasize that a person should only convert when they freely choose to do so.
On another note, my husband and I have had conversations on the similarities of the two religions rather than on the differences. I found recently that our Blessed Mother is mentioned in the Quran more than on any other religious book, including the Bible!
Our children now adults, were baptized, did First Communion and were Confirmed. Miracles do happen!

I have read all the comments and surprised to find that incorrect information is being provided. I’m a practicing born and raised Catholic and I have been married for 25 years to a non practicing Muslim. The Catholic Church does allow a marriage of a catholic spouse to a non catholic. The non catholic spouse cannot, however, practice the Sacraments.
Through the power of prayer I have experienced miracles in my marriage. We got married in the Catholic Church thanks to my husband who secretly met with the Pastor of the church I was attending and arranged for us to get married. This took place after 10 years of being married!
I have to admit that it is not easy, As I feel I’m the one that keeps God alive in the family. Through continued prayer, offering up my daily challenges, and leading by example, I Trust that God will one day answer my prayers.
I pray for Holier marriages every day. May God and the Blessed Virgin bless you all!

i belong to roman catholic im willing to marry a non catholic guy who is not willing to convert as christian whether it is possible to marry him in catholic church without converting and what are the procedures to be followed for our marriage

anyone knows please tell me

My wife was Pentecostal and I am a cradle Catholic. We always focused on what our faiths had in common. We also went to mass and her services every weekend. She had actually done her undergraduate work at a Catholic college and then worked for seven years in a private Catholic girls school before going to work at a public university.

I remember going to my dad when my wife (girlfriend at the time) were getting serious. I wasn’t sure how he would react having been a deeply religious man. I told him we were in love but she wasn’t Catholic. He looked me straight in the eyes and told me, “If you love each other, nothing else matters, it will work”. He was right. We had nine (six married) beautiful years together.

Unfortunately she was called home far too soon back in October at the age of 32, as a result of complications from cancer. She will always be my angel and my one true love. I just wanted to share though how a mixed marriage can be a blessing sometimes. I do believe I was truly fortunate to find someone like her. She really transcended many of the things that we worry about every day. She always saw the best in people and made the best out of every situation.

I am so happy that you found your true love and you shared your story with us! I am in love with a Catholic Man and I believe in all faiths. I am going to go back to the Catholic Church and learn more about the faith. God bless you!

Hi..am a Catholic
girl having a serious relation with a marthomite boy..for 7 years .We are planning to get married soon as we are now settled down
with job ,If the boy do not wishes to convert will the church allow to conduct betrothel ceremony there?

I’m not a 100% sure where to get help from so I assume here would be a good place to ask.
I’m agnostic I have lost my faith and no longer want or need the help of a god. Weather there is or there isn’t is not my concern in life. My concern is that I have found the woman of my dreams who I cannot live without. I wish to marry her have children and live our lives together happily. I’m not hateful towards her Catholic religion I just want no part of it. From what I read it sounds like no matter what option I choose someone has to be indoctrinated or forced to convert and see this true religion scheme. The idea of weather me or my future childrens own ideas and beliefs are taken from them Is just appalling. She’s adamant about the church marriage, and frankly I dont mind it. But how can they expect me to belive their beliefs just like that. I feel if I did all this for the church for her and for God then I would be betraying my own personal ideas. If I choose to fake it for the ceremony I’d be betraying God in her eyes, and my own. I like the idea of our kids deciding there own faith, but that’s practically given up through baptism it seems. All of it sounds very zealous and forced and what gets me is why everyone’s totally cool with that. I want to know how to make this work without the loss of any side of our families with the church’s approval and our kids unbaptised.

Hi, I am a random person who happened to come across your comment. Just to let you know, there are children who have grown up fine in Catholic families that aren’t really religious who have gone through the Sacrament of Baptism (whereas a person becomes a member of the Church), aka the First Sacrament of Initiation. In the Catholic Church Baptism usually happens when the person is a baby. However, this does not “determine” the faith of the child, as there are many ways he/she can grow up and have his/her faith go. Perhaps your wife will want the child to go through the other Sacraments such as Holy Communion, and learn more about Catholicism and such through CCD, Catholic schooling, or youth group, but by the time the child comes to the Sacrament of Confirmation, it will be his/her choice to make him/herself an official member of the Church, therefore “Confirming” themselves, as confirming the parents’ choice of baptizing them in the first place, and Confirming their faith and association with the Church.

As a person who grew up as a Catholic and have recently been Confirmed my ‘expertise’ is limited to my experiences and bits of research here and there. I don’t remember anything about my experience as “forced”, but sometimes I actually wish my parish were more zealous in preaching so more kids could pay more attention to understand why all of this was important, or at least connect it to formulate their own faith. Many of the people who I went to CCD with were not “zealous” in their religion, and were disinterested to learn more or apply it to their lives, however they found the CCD programs to be fun. Today they have their own beliefs gathered and materialized, some from social media, evolving society, the Internet, etc., many contradicting the Church’s teachings. No one reprimands them for that or forces them to recant their beliefs (but that depends on the family). When we arrived at the Sacrament of ‘Confirmation’, my youth minister did interviews so that the kids who were being forced by their grandparents or whoever but were not willing to commit to the Church did not have to do it. Then again, I cannot represent the face of the Church as these are mainly my own observations. If I was not sure what was a sin, I had to look it up, as the difference between “wrong” and “right” is blurring nowadays and people are more lenient on their interpretations of the Bible. Again, my parish may be less proper than others or just less focused on religion/dogma/doctrine, and more on faith, and one’s own relationship with God. Again, it’s all for what one takes it.

Anyway, as I went through religious classes we were mainly given moral lessons and taught about the fundamental parts of the Church, such as Sacraments. We learned about some stories from the Bible, and learned the Ten Commandments and some prayers but never were things forced on us, like the concept of ‘Creationism’ (which, again, is interpreted differently by many Christians/Catholics) and we were never taught to prove other beliefs as ‘evil’, neither did we focus on other religions as “wrong”, besides being taught the differences between a Catholic and another denomination of Christianity.

Side note: I understand you do not want any part of ‘religion’ but IMO having shared beliefs is what will hold a family together when times get tough. In this situation I’d do a lot more research on your wife’s beliefs and planning for your future together. I think it is unfortunate that you feel Catholic doctrine is very controlling but in the end for any Catholic it’s up to each individual to determine how they interpret the Church’s teachings or the Bible’s teachings and how they will follow their moral compass and apply it to their relationships with God and the world. Whenever I go on Roman Catholic forums there are many different commenters on numerous topics, and a surprising wide range of distinct beliefs that lead people to disagree on various things and give completely different advice on common questions. If you are curious about how your wife’s beliefs will affect daily or life-changing matters such as celebrating holidays, taking sides in politics, dressing up, etc., ask her for her opinion on controversial things (unless it makes her uncomfortable, but then again it would be a helpful thing to know about a partner in a future situation) and look up topics like Roman Catholic Ideas on Love, etc. I wouldn’t rely on any one site to represent the entire Catholic Church, as again in religion literally everything is up to interpretation and one zealous man could have a different opinion from one who’s not, and they could both be right. … I’m rambling.

Anyhow, I believe that as long as you allow your child to experience open-minded, perhaps philosophical discussions but most of all lots of love things will turn out alright. I wish you, your family, and your family-to-be the best and God bless you all :).

All I heard was you talk about ‘you’ YOUR faith, and what YOU want. That’s not an appropriate attitude to enter marriage. No word on the desires of your future spouse either.

You claim to have found the woman of YOUR dreams, whom you can’t live without (whatever that means) and wish to found a family with her, yet you’re not willing to sacrifice for her. You’re even willing to put her soul and the souls of your future children in peril, because you outright reject an integral part of her – her Faith.

The fact is, if you don’t know her faith, then you don’t know her.

Mixed faith marriages don’t work, but lazy priests and bishops allow it, even though such unions have resulted in myriads of broken families, where the burden of living in disunity and disharmony falls heavily upon the children.

You will not be allowed to NOT Baptize your children if you wish to marry a Catholic within the Catholic Church. You will have to agree to raise any offspring within the Catholic Faith. No exceptions.

Your claim that Baptizing children removes their right to accept or reject the Truth is false. God made man free. There are no chains in the Catholic Church. Your children can reject the Faith as adults if they wish. I think you are confused with Islam, where one cannot leave under penalty of death.

It does appear to me this pending marriage is about you, and you only.

Perhaps you should consider what marriage really is and whether or not you’re up to the challenge of a life long union founded on disunity and disharmony, and the damage that will cause.

To Lisa Marie, seems like you are the one who only thinks about your own perspective as a catholic. I can say the same for you where it’s only ‘you’ YOUR faith, and what YOU want.

YOU want non-believers to just happily accept their child to be baptized when they are uncomfortable with it. It is selfish of you to only think of what you want and what your faith wants you to do.

If you take away religion out of the equation, things would be a lot more simpler. Both parties can live their lives as a loving couple and bring their kid up with the correct values. Not everything is about religion.

As a non-believer, i understand that catholics have their faiths and i respect that. But a relationship is about finding a common ground and making things work. As much as a catholic wants to enforce her religion on her child, a non-believer can want the opposite just as much.

Ultimately, religion is something that helps and guide us through our voyage in life. It is ironic that it is causing us with such frustrations and dilemma. I do not have a answer for this issue because i am in the same predicament but i sure do hope that all couples face with such situation are able to brave through this rough patch together. Love transcends all.

The Catholic Church and all her teachings, is not ‘my’ faith. I did not found the Faith. Christ did. I accepted the Truth when I heard it, and I admit, some of it is hard to swallow, but you cannot cherry pick. It’s all or nothing.

I’m not asking non believers to accept anything. Truth is not based upon feelings and emotions. It exists without any human input or output.

All anyone gets to do (myself included) is accept or reject it.

That said, the Catholic Church actually forbids marriage to a non Catholic because of the disunity and disharmony it puts between the spouses from the beginning, and the burden it places upon the children.

Unfortunately, these marriages laws have been relaxed since Vatican II, but a dispensation is still required from the local Bishop, as these marriages are not recommended due to the high rate of failure.

It hasn’t got anything to do with being brave, but it has everything to do with Eternity.

People with a similar mindset like you are the reason the reformation happened. Were it not for Protestantism we’d still be in Medieval tiems

Agnostic still believes in God, but not religion. Are you sure you are Agnostic and not Atheist?

Hey Brandon , if you can find the time to educate yourself you may find that to be unevenly yoked in marriage or even a business partner ship rarely works out well. If you can find a Bible you can read about this 2 Corinthians Ch 6 V14. I hope you find your need of God ,with what is happening in our world today your going to need Him .

Hi, i wasn’t born a catholic, but got converted to a catholic and that’s what i practice now.

I’m getting married to a baptist and we are getting married in a catholic church.

he wants me to convert to baptist after the wedding and I’m happy to because i believe we all serve the same God.

will it be a problem if i covert from a catholic to a baptist after the wedding ?

Yes. That will be a HUGE problem for you. You will be abandoning the One True Faith for heresy.

Before the reformation, all Christians were Catholic. The CC is the only Church that was founded by Jesus Christ Himself. All others were founded by mere men who think they have a better plan than God.

Do a history search and see for yourself that the CC is the only Church that can be traced back to Jesus Christ. All others only a mere 500 years old, and there are 40,000+ fractions to choose from.

Just how many body’s do you think Jesus has? ONE. Within the Church HE founded.

Q. Why on earth would you marry in the CC if you intend to abandon it? Make sure you inform your priest of your intention to abandon the Church after receiving the Sacrament of Marriage there. He might have some strong advice for you.

This person is not a Christian of any sort, as her attitude is an utterly blasphemous betrayal of the Spirit of Christ.

Please explain how you came to that conclusion in your judgement of me.

Lisa Marie -Because you are closed minded, which is not supported in the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church doesnt preach that they are the one true religion, even the Pope recognizes other religions of the world, never condemning them.

The Catholic Church IS the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic, Church that Christ founded. The One True Church, and she does teach that!

Many have found the moral code to hard to accept, that’s why you now have over 40,000 different Christian denominations (who are referred to as our separated brethren) teaching their own doctrine, but are constantly invited to return to the One True Faith.

I am a Hindu boy originally from India, and have been dating an Indian Catholic girl from India only, who is very spiritual, devout and law abiding, and very conscious in receiving the “Holy Communion” I am not very religious, but I don’t want to convert. However, I am open to go to the Church and masses with her. I have a few questions if someone can kindly answer:

1. What is the Church’s stand on such a relationship? I am open to marry by Catholic Christian rituals or/and also Hindu rituals, one followed by the other. Does the Church allow this?

2. She is ready in getting married but in the same time she wants to continue receiving the “Holy Communion”. Is it possible if yes how ?

We also agreed it would be an interfaith home. Our children will be taught both religions and we will be by each others side for anything that involves religion. Has anyone else ever been in this situation and if so, how did you handle it? Does anyone know of a priest that would marry us in these terms or could someone else legally marry us other than a Catholic priest ?

Hi, please help with this as this is urgent..

I am a catholic getting married to a non-catholic.

Is there a part of the signing that says our children have to be brought up as a Catholic?


Politics [ edit ]

Politically, the Catholic Church has long been a very conservative force. For centuries, the Church has fought the creation of liberal democracy, vehemently opposing almost every progressive change in Europe and North America during the 18 th and 19 th centuries. As recently as 1864, Pius IX's infamous Syllabus of Errors declared that liberalism, rationalism and freedom of religion were all heretical. For most of the 20 th century it was little better, often supporting monarchies, dictatorships and fascist regimes against democracies and republics (Spain, Italy, and Latin America were all areas where the Church was a bulwark to fascism and militarism).

Economic policy [ edit ]

Their policies were largely reactions against the French Revolution, with its strongly anti-clerical turn, and later, against the rise of Communism and similar socialist movements, all of which they strongly opposed. In order to oppose the left-wing idea of class struggle by the working class, the Church attempted to create its own, contrary, political ideology. This was developed in a series of Papal encyclicals, including Leo XIII's Rerum Novarum ("Of Revolution. ", 1891) ⎦] and Pius XI's Quadragesimo Anno ("Forty years later. ", 1931). ⎧]

This Catholic political ideology sought to instill nationalism and ethnic solidarity, hoping that emphasizing the claims of unique national characters would encourage moral traditionalism, and hoping that ethnic solidarity would take the place of class solidarity. In order to attempt to quell the discontents caused by capitalist greed and resulting inequality, they advocated a "third way" system, sometimes called "distributism", under which government, industry, and labor work together under the direction of a powerful, strongman government. Not a liberal democracy — that was still heresy — but a government with the power to expropriate and redistribute property and enforce traditional morality. These governments were of course supposed to cede control of parts of their laws and institutions, such as their educational systems, and their laws on sex, marriage, and divorce, to the Church. This ideology had a way of not working all that well when translated into a political blueprint. The constitutions of Vichy France, Franco's Spain, and Antonio Salazar's Portugal all referenced these documents as having inspired their polities. ⎨]

After the war [ edit ]

During the second half of the 20 th century, the Church's posture changed somewhat: the environment of the Cold War meant that the Church's fanatical opposition to Communism landed it on the side of pro-democracy activists like Lech Wałęsa in Poland. In the 1960s, Catholic clergy in Latin America began challenging, instead of supporting, local elites, using the gospel as a basis. This so-called "liberation theology" was viewed dimly by the central hierarchy due to its links with Marxism and radicalism but it attracted considerable support among ordinary Catholics. The Church remains vehemently opposed to gay rights and homosexuality leading to complaints this makes life for millions of gay Catholics a tad difficult ⎩] , though it's not actually illegal in any predominantly catholic countries, including the Vatican. ⎪] Church opposition to abortion causes problems for victims of incest and rape, and women who are not in a position to care for a baby. Just saying no to birth control also cause serious problems for everyone in families that are too big and poor to support their children well without commie government handouts. Still the Church has taken a stand against the death penalty, unprovoked aggression, and torture outside of witch hunts, crusades and inquisitions. It has also made some effort to ameliorate its generally appalling record on the treatment of women, while still absolutely prohibiting the creation of women clergy: at least they're now allowed to learn how to read a bible, and in a language that isn't Latin even.

In the 21 st century the Church still has trouble accepting full democratic freedom. Voting in ways the Church dislikes can become mortal sin. That means before receiving Communion Catholics who voted against the direction of the Church should go to confession and listen penitently while the priest explains why they should have voted differently. ⎫] Remember God sees how a person votes so for believing Catholics and for many other believers there is no secret ballot.

The Catholic Church is the only religious denomination to have full legal, internationally-recognized control of its own state, the Vatican City State in Rome. [note 3] Historically, from about the mid-7 th century onwards, the Popes controlled the Papal States, a territory covering a significant part of central Italy. [note 4] In 1860, however, most of the Papal States were lost as part of the wars that led to the unification of Italy. Rome was finally occupied by Italy in 1870, leading to a 59-year conflict between the Popes and the government of Italy. This conflict was finally resolved by the Concordat of 1929 with Fascist Italy that established the present-day Vatican City as a sovereign state.

Shortly before his death in 2012, the late Cardinal Carlo Martini commented that the Church was 200 years behind the times — just about in step with the Napoleonic era. The late cardinal was liberal by RC standards and he was widely respected and even considered as a possible pope. Martini was concerned about declining attendance and confidence in the church by its members and worried that official RC policy was alienating its followers. ⎬]


In Francoist Spain, what steps were required for non-Catholics to marry? - History

Background to Acts II and III: Act I traces the tense, stormy relationship between the principal occupants of Bernarda’s house (where all the action takes place): Bernarda , the domineering mother, her five unmarried daughters , Angustias, Magdalena, Amelia, Martirio and Adela, and the maid La Poncia . No men appear on stage, but they are constantly present in the conversation. Adela, the youngest, is the rebellious daughter and is in love with Pepe el Romano who is to marry Angustias, the oldest daughter. But Martirio, too, loves Pepe! Observing the conflicting emotions with some considerable pleasure is the long serving La Poncia. Gossip and innuendo add fuel to the volatile, unhappy atmosphere in the house.

Act II.
Opens with all of Bernarda’s daughters, except Adela, sewing and embroidering. La Poncia is also there. According to her, Adela is tense and jittery (147). The same goes for all of them, says Martirio, but Angustias disagrees stating that she will soon be out of “this hell” (148). La Poncia then reveals that she saw Angustias and Pepe together at the window at 1.00 a.m and heard him leave at about 4.00. a.m. “That couldn’t be him,” (149) argues Angustias. Following questions by La Poncia, Amelia, and Martirio, Angustias reports what Pepe said to her on their first “date” at the window (150). Lightening the mood slightly, La Poncia repeats her husband first words to her on their first “date:” “Come closer so that I can feel you” (151). She follows this with unflattering description of how men behave after marriage (151): a fortnight after the wedding, they leave the bed for the table and then the table for the bar while the wife weeps in a corner (151). Nevertheless, she was able to fight back thanks to the lessons learned from Bernarda (152).

Adela’s continued absence draws speculation after Magdalena has gone to fetch her (152). Adela complains that her body is out of sorts, and Martirio slyly asks if it is because she didn’t sleep well. Feeling put upon, Adela angrily tells Martirio to keep out of her business and adds that she can do whatever she wants with her body (153). [ All the innuendos in these opening pages of Act II will be clarified in time, but to give heads up: Pepe was heard leaving at about 4.00 a.m because he was with Adela after leaving Angustias at 1.00 a.m, and Martirio is annoying Adela because she, Martirio is also in love with Pepe. ] Adela gets personal alluding to Martirio’s hump back and defends her attack from La Poncia’s cynical observation that Martirio loves her (154): Adela feels suffocated by Martirio’s constant surveillance over her and adds that Martirio’s pitiful body won’t belong to anyone while she will give her body to whomever she wishes. “To Pepe el Romano?” is La Poncia’s pointed question. Adela is shocked that La Poncia knows her secret, but La Poncia reveals that she had seen Adela almost nude at her window when Pepe came to court Angustias the second time (155). They argue vehemently and even when La Poncia threatens to reveal all (155-56), Adela refuses to back down.

Martirio, Amelia and Magdalena arrive discussing Angustias’s trousseau. La Poncia’s comment that the sisters will have a lot of sewing etc. to do if Angustias has children draws negative replies from Magdalena and Amelia. They are interrupted by the sound of bells signaling the return of the men to the fields. Sitting down, Adela longs for the freedom associated with the fields (159), but her sisters, also sitting down, are resigned to their fate.

La Poncia observes that she had seen a woman accompanying the men to the countryside (olive grove), having been paid to do so. She then adds that she too had paid for her son to have sex with a woman because “men need these things” (159). The men pass by singing a love song. Adela, La Poncia and Magdalena rush to the window in Adela’s room to see them (161) but Martirio remains seated with her head in her hands. Although she tells Amelia that she feels unwell, what really seems to trouble her is that she thinks she heard people in the yard the night before (162). They are interrupted by Angustias who is furious. She cannot find her picture of Pepe el Romano (163) and wants to know who has it. All deny including Adela and Magdalena who have just returned from the window with La Poncia.

The argument is cut short by Bernarda (appearing for the first time in Act II,164) whose immediate concern is that the neighbours might hear the noise. Being met only by silence when she asks which of her daughters has the picture, Bernarda sends La Poncia to search their rooms. Almost immediately La Poncia returns with the picture which she had found hidden in Martirio’s bed. Furious, Bernarda hits Martirio who reacts angrily.

Arguments ensue. Angustias tries to intervene, seizing her mother (166). Martirio claims she had taken the picture as a joke on Angustias which provokes Adela to jealously accuse Martirio of hiding her true feelings and tell Angustias that Pepe is only after her money. Martirio adds “And your land” (167). Bernarda demands silence and then dismisses her daughters.

Alone with La Poncia, Bernarda says that Angustias’s wedding has to be soon, but La Poncia accuses her of not seeing what is really going on. The fact that Martirio stole Pepe’s picture suggests that she is easily infatuated. Why didn’t Bernarda let her marry Enrique Humanas? (169). Bernarda’s reply is simple: the Humanas family is much inferior Enrique’s father was only a labourer (170). When La Poncia reproaches Bernarda for having airs, Bernarda reminds La Poncia of her humble origin and suggests that she (La Poncia) would be happy to see Bernarda and her daughters reduced to prostitution (170). The nasty exchange continues. Bernarda tells La Poncia that since she is a servant, she should work and shut up. La Poncia insinuates that perhaps Pepe should marry Martirio or … Adela. Bernarda says no, upon which La Poncia tells her that Adela is Pepe’s real fiancée. Bernarda recognises La Poncia’s maliciousness and reminds her that her daughters will obey her. Adding fuel to fire, La Poncia reveals that her son had seen Pepe and Angustias talking at the window at 4.00 am, which scandalizes Bernarda (172).

At this point, Angustias bursts in denying being at the window with Pepe at 4.00 a.m and adding that he has always left by 1.00 a.m. Martirio then appears and confirms that Pepe did leave at 4.00 although she admits not to have seen him when questioned by Bernarda. La Poncia insists that Pepe was at one of the windows at 4.00. Adela advises her mother not to listen to La Poncia, while Bernarda insists that she will get to the bottom of all this, and until then they are not to discuss the matter.

They are momentarily distracted when the Criada enters saying that something is going on at the top of the street. All leave to find out what is happening, except Martirio who sees Adela coming into the room. They argue, Martirio indirectly threatening to reveal that she had seen Adela and Pepe together, Adela taunting her that she had been able to do what Martirio couldn’t (174). They are interrupted by La Poncia and Bernarda, with La Poncia explaining to Bernarda what was happening in the street: the daughter of a local widow, la Librada, had given birth to a child by an unknown father and killed it to cover her shame and left it buried under some stones. The body had been found by some dogs which had pulled it through the streets and left it at the door of mother. Now the villagers had dragged the mother through the street to kill her. While Adela reacts with horror, calling for the mother to be spared and allowed to escape, Bernarda and Martirio demand she pay for her sins. The act ends with Bernarda shouting “Kill her, Kill her” (176) over Adela’s protestations.

Act III.
The action has moved to the inner patio of Bernarda’s house where Bernarda is seated with her daughters and a friend, Prudencia. It is nighttime. Prudencia stands up to leave, but Bernarda persuades her to stay a little longer. Conversation continues with Bernarda asking Prudencia about her husband. It transpires that he has argued with his brothers over an inheritance and has never forgiven their daughter (the reason is not revealed, but it evidently touches on family honour). Bernarda approves of Prudencia’s husband’s action in both cases and believes that a disobedient daughter is no daughter but an enemy (178). But Prudencia’s suffers the consequences and finds relief and refuge in the church.

They are interrupted by the sound of a horse kicking the wall. It is a stallion which will mate with Bernarda’s fillies next day. After this digression, Prudencia asks about Angustias’s marriage which will take place in three days. The ensuing conversation is loaded with bad omens: Magdalena spills some salt, and Prudencia points out that the pearls on Angustias’s ring signify tears, an observation which Adela quickly affirms. Rings should have diamonds (180). When Prudencia concludes that what is important is that everything ends well, Adela responds enigmatically: ”One never knows” (181). After Prudencia leaves, Adela announces that she is going to take some air rejecting Amelia and Martirio’s offer to accompany her. Nevertheless, Amelia insists, leaving Bernarda and Angustias alone (182).

Bernarda urges Angustias to forget the matter of the picture which Martirio had stolen (Act II, 163), and insists on a public display of family harmony (182). She then quizzes Angustias about Pepe’s mood the night before. After finding out from Angustias that Pepe seemed distracted and preoccupied with “men’s matters,” Bernarda advises her daughter not to question him and never let him see her crying (183).

Adela, Amelia and Martirio return (184). Adela and Martirio react differently to the starlit sky, with the former delighting in its beauty. Bernarda orders all to bed since Pepe has gone to town with his mother (184) and will not be with Angustias at the window that night.

After her daughters have left, Bernarda engages in a conversation with La Poncia who has just appeared. Bernarda boasts of being vigilant where her daughters are concerned but La Poncia hints that she shouldn’t be so sure of herself (187). Bernarda’s self-confidence blinds her to La Poncia’s words and she heads to bed feeling very sure of herself (186).

La Poncia is joined by the Criada who reveals that there is gossip about Pepe seeing Adela often to which La Poncia adds suggestively: “And there are other things” (189). Although Bernarda is hurrying the wedding along, La Poncia foresees problems with Adela being headstrong and Martirio ready to blow everything up because she is “poisonous,” knowing that Pepe will never be hers (189). At this moment they hear some dogs barking, which coincides with Adela appearing dressed in a white petticoat and bra. She is, she says, thirsty (190) as she passes through. With the dogs still barking, La Poncia and the Criada leave the patio.

In the darkness and silence, Bernarda’s mother Maria Josefa appears carrying a lamb followed by Martirio who urges her grandmother to return to her room. Martirio then heads for the yard calling for Adela, who appears with her hair somewhat tousled (193). Their rivalry explodes into the open with Martirio telling her sister to leave “that man” (193), adding that he will be marrying Angustias. Adela replies that Pepe is hers and that he loves her and not Angustias (194).

The argument becomes more intense when Martirio –under pressure from Adela– admits being in love with Pepe. She rejects Adela’s attempt to console her. Adela then reaffirms that Pepe is hers regardless of what people might say. She fans Martirio’s anger describing the taste of Pepe’s mouth adding that even if he should marry Angustias she will always be available for Pepe whenever he wants her (196). Martirio swears that that will never happen.

Their quarrels erupts into violence when Martirio tries to stop Adela rushing for the door following a whistle (presumably from Pepe). Martirio calls for Bernarda. When Bernarda arrives, Martirio accuses Adela of having been with Pepe and points to Adela’s petticoat which is full of straw. Bernarda is furious but Adela stands up to her, snatching her mother’s walking stick and breaking it in two. At the same time, she tells her mother not to take another step towards her adding that only Pepe will be able to give her orders (197).

Bernarda reacts by running in search of her shotgun while Angustias attacks Adela as a thief who has dishonoured their house. Outside a shot is heard. Bernarda enters followed by Martirio who declares that Pepe is dead. Horrified, Adela rushes out. Scarcely able to believe what has happened, La Poncia asks if Pepe is really dead to which Martirio replies that he actually escaped on horseback. A sudden bump is heard from Adela’s room. Bernarda demands that Adela open the door while the Criada announces that the neighbours have all got up and are about. They force their way into Adela’s room only to see that Adela has hanged herself.

There are no regrets on Bernarda’s part. Her only concern is that there be no scandal and that the family insist that Adela died a virgin. She commands total obedience with her last words being “Silence, silence, I said! Silence!” echoing her opening command when she first appeared on stage.

Edition used:
García Lorca, Federico La Casa de Bernarda Alba eds. Josephs, Allen and Caballero, Juan. Madrid: Ediciones Cátedra. (For those who read Spanish, numerals in the summary refer to page numbers in the Spanish text.)


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I t would be hard to consider the Spanish women’s movement independently of recent events in Spanish politics. footnote * The death of General Franco in 1975, the gradual dismantling of the authoritarian system imposed on the country after the Civil War, together with the rapid rise to power of the Socialist Party, psoe , all exercised a crucial influence on the way the movement evolved, shaping its achievements and failures. Therefore it will be fruitful to study the women’s movement from the point of view of its involvement in the political life of the country and its specific contribution to the democratization of society. This is not to overlook other approaches. An analysis of the nature of Spanish patriarchy, with its particular form of gender domination, and of the characteristics of Spanish capitalism, could also be used to explain the evolution of the movement. The situation of Spanish women is certainly also conditioned by the country’s level of economic development and the prevalent culture of feminine acquiescence and self-sacrifice. A third possibility would be to view Spanish feminism as part of

the wider international women’s movement which has its own time and rhythm of development—that is, in terms of its share in the history of twentieth-century women’s liberation. Simply, at this relatively early stage of research and reflection on the Spanish movement, a political account is a necessary first step. It also best reflects my own experience as a member for five years of the psoe women’s caucus Mujer y Socialismo.

This ascendancy of national political factors can be traced back to the last years of the dictatorship. The existence of a regime which denied citizens the right to virtually all forms of meeting and association made it much more difficult for the ideas and actions launched by women in other parts of Europe and North America to catch on in Spain. Indeed, the clandestine origins of the movement scattered with experiences of fear and secrecy, meetings broken up by the police, detention, court cases and even exile, footnote 1 probably make it unique in Europe.

Although the first meetings of women to discuss the situation of women date back to the late sixties, these were few and far between. They were concerned with both consciousness-raising and the need for women to carry on a separate political struggle. footnote 2 But the bulk of the efforts at organizing women in those days and throughout the first half of the seventies were not inspired by feminism or an understanding of gender conflict. They were designed to bring women who were not part of the labour movement into the anti-Franco struggle at the level of their neighbourhood. Such activities were chiefly organized by the Movimiento Democrático de Mujeres ( mdm ), one of the mass fronts of the illegal Communist Party, and mainly reflected the pce ’s belief that food prices, the need for a pedestrian crossing, or solidarity with their persecuted menfolk, were the only issues on which housewives could be mobilized.

Yet the ideas of women’s liberation gradually took root, and in 1975, International Women’s Year, the United Nations call for non-governmental organizations to take action over sex discrimination encouraged and to a certain extent protected the already emergent Spanish movement. This was also an eventful year in Spanish politics: there was an upsurge of activity by the illegal opposition parties and trade unions, particularly Comisiones Obreras, with widespread protests and strikes and General Franco, having refused to reprieve five activists under sentence of death despite an international outcry, went into the terminal phase of his illness. Two weeks after his death, the women’s movement held its first national conference in Madrid, in an atmosphere tingling with political excitement, heightened by the new king’s announcement the day before of a pardon for certain political prisoners and by the urgent feeling that reform could be achieved if the opposition and the

labour movement played its cards right and acted with strength and unity.

The situation for the women’s movement was by no means easy, since the opposition parties of the Left now tried to control it with arguments about political priorities, backed up by dogmatic analyses that women’s liberation was a deviation from the more urgent task of building democracy and socialism. footnote 3 Most feminists were sensitive to the fact that without a complete overhaul and renewal of the political system, the deeply engrained structures of sex discrimination would not begin to be eradicated. Their outlook was very political. footnote 4 Nevertheless, they struggled to establish themselves virtually as an opposition within the opposition, in argument against the Left’s entrenched theoretical notions and paternalist practice. footnote 5 At its worst this attitude implied that only working women or the wives of workers were deserving enough to be brought out of the cold of their marginal existence into the sunnier climes of men’s world, the rest being considered too backward, or too bourgeois. Debate in this pre-democratic period therefore centred on the notion of the specificity of women’s oppression, over and above the division of class, and on the need for an autonomous organization independent of the political parties. footnote 6 Within the women’s movement itself, the discussion went further and opinions divided over the question of doble militancia, of whether women should spend their time being activists in a political party as well as in a women’s group, or whether they should devote their energies exclusively to the latter, a position defended by the more radical feminists and those who argued that women were an exploited class.

In their fight for political legitimacy, feminists were further undermined by the difficulty of drawing on two potential sources of conceptual support. On the one hand, Spanish feminism had had a fairly unremarkable history. In its first stage it had been a subdued phenomenon in which conservative women, liberal men and the Catholic Church played rather too prominent a part. There had been no epoch-making suffragette movement, a fact not unconnected with the country’s turbulent political life which excluded most forms of suffrage for long periods. footnote 7 It was not that women’s struggles had no history but that they shared it almost entirely with men. The past which women could relate to was the same as that of the male left and the labour movement: the change of political system represented by the Second Republic, between 1931 and the end of the Civil War. But the gains for women at that time—suffrage,

constitutional equality, better education and more jobs, the right to divorce and even abortion—were the outcome of battles between male-dominated parties of right and left rather than of the pressure of a powerful women’s movement. footnote 8 They were also extremely short-lived, for Franco abolished them all in favour of a sex-role ideology that reflected the most philistine aspect of the traditional Catholicism with which the new authoritarian state was imbued.

Secondly, the new feminism was not backed by a democratic culture sympathetic on principle to the notion of equal rights. No current of liberal or bourgeois feminism had survived the dark ages of dictatorship, so that the ideas of feminism fell on almost virgin soil and sounded more radical than they really were. footnote 9 In this way, the movement emerged solely from the political traditions of the Left, from whose analytical framework and type of practice it began to take a critical distance. The risk of isolation was considerable. Most early feminists were members, ex-members or sympathizers of one or other of the left parties, from the democratic-socialist psoe to the armed separatist eta , which still constituted a minority force in Spanish politics. footnote 10 They were also part of what is known as la progresía —the progressive set which considered itself modern, open-minded and sexually tolerant. A double minority, Spanish feminists were initially at the opposite end of the political and cultural spectrum to the bulk of Spanish women, who were even less experienced, politically conscious and able to be mobilized than the average male. footnote 11


Can a Lapsed Catholic Be a Godparent?

Q1: Is it written anywhere, or in any authoritative text from the Holy See (or Bishops Conference), that being in an irregular marriage bars one from being a godparent? The canon seems vague. One could argue that living in a state of unrepentant sin is contrary to leading a life of faith… –Nathan

Q2: I work in a parish and have the joy of helping families prepare for baptisms. I’m struggling with how to interpret the canons regarding sponsors for infant baptism. It can be hard to explain why someone’s sister, brother, etc., cannot be a godparent. This is complicated by the fact that different parishes seem to interpret the law differently.
The requirements are clear until the last part [of canon 874.1 n. 3] about living in keeping with the faith. I wish this were spelled out more clearly, because of course we are all sinners. Is a Catholic allowed to be a godparent if he/she was married in another Christian church? –Cecilia

A: There are many canons in the code which seem ambiguous, and so we could perhaps do with an additional document to explain them. But the canon regarding who may and may not be Catholic baptismal sponsors is not among them. The law on this matter is actually crystal-clear, if you understand the theological purpose of having godparents in the first place. After all, as has been said many times before in this space, canon law follows theology, and can never contradict it! So let’s take a look at the Church’s teaching on baptism and baptismal sponsors, and then the reasoning behind the canons on this subject should be obvious.

The practice of choosing godparents for a person to be baptized has existed since the earliest years of the Church. The action of the godparent(s) at a baptism, when they physically raise the baptized person up from the font after the sacrament has just been administered, has always symbolized the godparents’ spiritual care for the newly baptized one. Saint Augustine (354-430) mentioned this in passing in an Easter homily:

“In the first place I admonish you men and women, who have raised children in baptism, that you stand before God as surety for those whom you have raised from the sacred font” (Sermo CLXVII (a), emphasis added).

In the Church’s nearly 2000-year history, there have been times and places where the role of godparent was filled by the biological parents of the person to be baptized. But by the early Middle Ages, the role of “spiritual mother/father” had been separated from that of the birth parents and the godparents’ duty came to be seen as that of caring for the spiritual welfare of the baptized person (who by that point was usually an infant) if anything happened to the biological parents.

It goes without saying, therefore, that godparents’ number-one responsibility is to see to it that the godchild is raised in the Catholic faith. As canon 872 states, godparents are to help the newly baptized to live a Christian life and faithfully to fulfill the duties inherent in baptism. This is why it makes no sense for a Catholic child to have either a godfather or a godmother who is not Catholic (see “Can Non-Catholics Serve as Baptismal Sponsors?” for more on this), and so it’s only logical that this is not permitted by law (c. 874.2).

It likewise makes no sense for a godparent of a Catholic to be someone who has ceased to practice the Catholic faith, or who lives in a sinful state that is incompatible with the life of a Catholic. Canon 874.1 follows from the Church’s theological understanding of godparents as a matter of course. It states that a godparent must be a Catholic who has been confirmed, has already made his First Holy Communion, and who leads a life of faith compatible with the duty to be taken on (c. 874.1 n. 3, emphasis added).

If Catholic parents appreciate the gravity of their responsibility to raise their child in the Catholic faith, and understand that the whole purpose of godparents is both to assist in this task if something ever happens to the parents, and provide the child with a good example of Catholic witness, then they will strive to choose baptismal sponsors who take their Catholic faith seriously and strive to live it! They should naturally want to find the most committed Catholics they can, to take on this role—the eternal salvation of their child might ultimately depend on it.

(At this point, some readers might be thinking, “I’m a godparent myself, and have no involvement in the spiritual life of my godchild.” Perhaps this is a good time to ask oneself why not?)

Sadly, for Catholics in many countries the seriousness of the role of a child’s godparents has been lost. Instead of seeking out practicing Catholics who understand the importance of raising a child in the faith, who will provide the child with a good example, and who are willing to step in and undertake the child’s spiritual formation if necessary… many people have come to think that being a godparent is nothing more than a matter of social standing. They look at the issue rather like choosing bridesmaids and groomsmen for a wedding, and wrongly conclude that it’s somehow appropriate to give the role to their favorite sibling or best friend. Even worse, some parents actually look at a prospective godparent’s financial situation, as if providing the child with a Christmas present every year is the primary purpose of being a godparent!

Since such parents have strayed so incredibly far from the correct understanding of the role of godparents in their child’s life, it’s not terribly surprising that they find canon 874.1 n. 3 confusing. In reality, of course, there’s nothing vague about this canon at all. It’s only a matter of common sense that parents shouldn’t want a nominal Catholic who never attends Mass or receives the sacraments, much less someone who has left the Catholic Church altogether, to potentially be tasked with their child’s spiritual upbringing!

Similarly, it’s hardly worth mentioning that a Catholic who married outside the Church is not a suitable godparent either. As we have seen countless times before in this space, Catholics are required to observe the canonical form for marriage (c. 1108.1)—and if they fail to do that, in the eyes of the Church they aren’t married at all. (For more on canonical form, see “Why Would a Wedding in Our College Chapel be Invalid?” and “Why Don’t We Marry Validly Before a Ukrainian Catholic Priest?” among many others.) A Catholic who is living with another person as husband and wife, but without the benefit of marriage, is of course living in a state of objectively grave moral evil. What Catholic parent would want to present his child with such a person as an example of Catholic living, and put that person in possible charge of his child’s spiritual welfare?

The same canon also notes that a godparent cannot be someone who is under any canonical penalty, whether imposed or declared (c. 874.1 n. 4 see “Have Pro-Abortion Politicians Excommunicated Themselves?” for a more detailed discussion of what “imposed or declared” means). A “canonical penalty” is exactly what it sounds like, a punishment for a crime. It involves a sanction (such as excommunication), and once again this part of the canon is completely consistent with the Church’s theological understanding of the purpose of godparents. It makes no sense to ask a Catholic to oversee the spiritual formation of your child, if the Catholic Church has sanctioned him for the commission of a crime.

In regions where Catholics are few and far between, Catholic parents might object that they simply doesn’t know any “good Catholics” whom they might ask. In such a case, they should explain this to their parish priest, and ask him for suggestions. He ought to be able to introduce the parents to other parishioners who take their faith seriously. Note that it’s not required to have both a godfather and a godmother one or the other is sufficient (c. 873).

There’s also no reason why the godparents have to be close friends, much less relatives, of the parents. Why not ask that saintly retired lady whom you see every week at Sunday Mass, always sitting in the same pew? Who knows, this could be the beginning of a beautiful spiritual friendship!

Cecilia asserts that “different parishes seem to interpret the law differently.” If there are Catholic parishes out there which permit non-practicing Catholics (or those living in an irregular marriage situation) to be godparents, it would be more accurate to say that they are—whether through negligence or human error—violating both Catholic sacramental theology and canon law. There is no wiggle-room for “interpretation” as she describes it and the pastor of the parish is ultimately the one who is morally responsible for it (see cc. 528, 529, and 530 n. 1).

A recent, highly publicized case in Spain serves to illustrate the Church’s teaching on godparents. A 21-year-old transgender woman, living as a man, wanted to be the “godfather” to her Catholic nephew. The bishop, unsurprisingly, nixed the idea. The social firestorm that erupted in the fashionably left Spanish media wasn’t surprising either—so Bishop Rafael Zornoza Boy, of the diocese of Cádiz and Ceuta, sent the case to Rome for an official statement. (Note that it’s pretty clear that the bishop did this, not because he was unsure of his decision, but because he felt he needed some official back-up from the Vatican.)

The response from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), confirming the bishop’s decision, was likewise no surprise. It is perhaps unfortunate that the text of the CDF’s statement is not public. On the one hand, since this matter concerned one single case involving a particular individual, it was evidently not considered appropriate for the CDF to publicize their response but on the other hand it probably would have helped to clarify this issue for Catholics who fail to understand the role of godparents.

But according to a statement released by Bishop Zornoza Boy, the decision apparently noted that

…it is evident that this person does not possess the requirement of leading a life according to the faith and in the position of godfather and is therefore unable to be admitted to the position of godfather or godmother.

And the CDF cited canon 874.1 n. 3 as their authority.

Of course it’s true, as Cecilia notes, that we are all sinners. But the Church doesn’t expect Catholic parents to find sinless people to serve as godparents to their children. They merely have to choose Catholics who take their faith seriously and practice it. You don’t need to be a canon lawyer to recognize that being a “good Catholic” is not incompatible with being an imperfect one. And similarly, no advanced degree is needed to appreciate that someone who doesn’t regularly attend Mass and receive the sacraments, and/or who is living in an objectively immoral way in an irregular marriage situation, can’t be considered a “good Catholic.”

Concerns about hurting people’s feelings have no effect on the truth of the Church’s teaching. Bear in mind that this is a baptism, not a birthday party. It makes no more sense to choose godparents solely because they’re family or close friends, than it does to choose a heart surgeon simply because you’ve lived next door for years and you really like the guy.

If only all canon law were so clear as this!

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Isabella of Castile: Part Two: Catholic Monarch, Warrior Queen

Isabella and Ferdinand were officially co-monarchs of both the huge kingdom of Castile and the smaller but important Aragon. They were truly an equal pairing, with Isabella given the same level of respect and responsibility as her husband. This feels like “so what” until you remember that this was the first time in Western history that a woman actively ruled a country. This was pre- Elizabeth I , pre-Catherine the Great, during a time and place where the word Queen usually just meant “the King’s wife”. When Isabella, twenty-three years old and slightly built, paraded down the street with a giant sword and declared herself Queen the people were like, “What?” But by the middle of her thirty-year reign, those same people were like, “She is the greatest human being that the world has potentially ever seen, at least in the past 500 years.” So what made Isabella such a notable Queen?

Well, first of all, she was able to turn around the Castile’s finances through her careful and meticulous leadership. The past two kings—her half-brother El Impotente, and her father who had been the puppet of his evil pal Evil Del Luna—had been straight-up awful at the job. She inherited a country that was in massive amounts of debt due to her predecessor’s financial mismanagement, including El Impotente’s short-sighted plan to increase the country’s money by just minting more coins. Guess what, that never works. Isabella had paid close attention during her time in El Impotente’s court and came into the job with numerous ideas about how to salvage this particular situation like, for instance, putting an end to the excess coin manufacturing and also forcing nobles to pay off their debts to the crown.

The ongoing war between Castile and Portugal had also been putting too much pressure on the country’s budget, so she used her brilliant strategic mind to put an end to this war with a number of peace treaties. Among the terms of these treaties was Portugal’s agreement that Juana La Beltraneja would be confined to a convent for the rest of her life, and forced to do lots of compulsory prayers. This is a peculiar clause, but it’s a hint at the way that Isabella would proceed to wield piety and religious devotion as a kind of punishment.

Michelle Jenner as Isabella in Isabel

Yet another terrible thing about the reigns of El Impotente and his father was that criminals had never really been tracked down or punished in any sort of organized manner. This kind of made sense because the country’s laws had never actually been written down in a book, so Isabella also hired a scholar to write out an eight-volume set of all of the laws of the land. She saw herself as the divinely appointed arbiter of all that was good and holy, and she was determined to have a ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY against criminality, especially rape and sexual crimes. More rapists were tried and convicted during her reign than ever before .

BUT, IMPORTANT NOTE: Isabella considered homosexual acts in the same league of unforgivable criminality as she did rape, and the punishment for men convicted of sodomy was to be castrated and hanged (also the punishment for heterosexual rapists).

And because you can’t have Medieval Spanish law without Medieval Spanish order, Isabella also invented the concept of a state-sanctioned police department. Up to this point, justice had mostly been meted out by ad hoc gangs of men called brotherhoods or hermandads, so Isabella called her new royally appointe d squad La Santa Hermandad (The Holy Brotherhood).

Her predecessors had been largely under the thumb of powerful aristocrats, who themselves gave and accepted bribes for their own self-interest. Isabella and Ferdinand put an end to this whole situation by positioning themselves as absolute monarchs. Now, obviously being a dictator isn’t ideal under most circumstances, but this was one situation where it was their best and only option. The country’s allegiances had been scattered, and the new monarchs were determined to coalesce all support behind them. This also meant that they removed all power from the nobles, consolidating it all for themselves. Isabella had the nobles moved from active participants in government to mere audience members, replacing them with actual administrative staff like lawyers who would perform the actual tasks of running the country.

Michelle Jenner as Isabella in Isabel

Basically, Isabella and Ferdinand got a stronghold over the country by just having a vision and a plan. The pair of them—especially Isabella—also wound being really effective in other ways, but their first steps were to take a struggling country and make it over into something actually productive. And in a sort of triage scenario, once they’d gathered all control into their own hands and had established law and order, they moved onto phase two: unify the country under a single religion.

he and Ferdinand were so pious that the Pope bestowed upon them the name The Catholic Monarchs. So it should come as no surprise that they wanted everyone in their newly-unifying Spain to convert. This wasn’t conversion for conversion’s sake: Isabella truly saw herself as God’s hand on Earth, and her role as savior to all non-Catholics. Now, at the time that Isabella took over, Spain was populated not only by Catholics, but also by some Muslim s, and the largest concentration of Jewish people of anywhere in Europe . So did this mean she ran around like a missionary, converting Jewish and Muslim people? No, this meant that she initially created policies forcing non-Catholics to convert, then later decreed that all non-Catholics were to be expelled from Spain without their money or possessions (which were then given to the crown, which also helped Isabella out financially).

It was a horrifying time for Jewish and Muslim people in Spain, which there isn’t room here to get into, so here are some articles explaining how horrendous this whole thing was and the effect it had on world history:

Simultaneous to the expulsion of Jewish and Muslim people, Isabella and Ferdinand were also hard at word conquering the remaining Muslim strongholds in their area, which were run by the Nasrid dynasty. Isabella was actively involved with this multi-year campaign, helping to plan campaigns and accompanying troops near the field of battle. Using the newly increased treasury, she amassed a larger arsenal of weapons than any previous monarch had ever acquired, including cannons strong enough to destroy castle walls. Her tactics and arsenal forced all armies in Europe to change their battle strategies.

Michelle Jenner as Isabella in Isabel

The final stronghold of the Nasrid empire was Granada, which finally surrendered to the Catholic monarchs in 1492. Isabella and Ferdinand entered the city and were ceremonially presented with the keys to the city, and then set out converting not only the people but the place itself—reconsecrating the primary mosque into a Catholic church, for instance. Their success in defeating Muslim expansion forever altered the global balance of power, which to this point had been in favor of the East. Spain was becoming the first Western superpower, paving the way for the domination of France, then England, and then the United States on the world stage. More on that in this article: ‘These are the keys of this paradise’: how 700 years of Muslim rule in Spain came to an end .

Isabella and Ferdinand had achieved massive success in their plans to consolidate the various parts of Spain into a single empire with themselves as supreme rulers. Rather than spreading themselves to the East, Isabella’s interest was piqued by a persistent Italian adventurer named Cristoffa Corombo, or as his Anglicized name is better known, Christopher Columbus. Corombo approached the Catholic monarchs numerous times for support for his goal to voyage across the Atlantic to find a new trade route to the Indies, but it was only when he dropped his price to something Isabella found acceptable that she agreed to fund his trip. The money she had seized from the expelled Jewish and Muslim people was used to fund this trip.

Now, Corombo’s actions in North America are fairly well known and in case you weren’t sure how truly awful he was and the things he perpetrated were, here’s some reading material:

What’s interesting about this whole scenario is that Isabella was never comfortable with the idea of enslaving or mistreating the Indigenous people of the Americas. This was partly because she viewed Corombo’s colonies in the Americas as subsidiaries of Castile, which made the Indigenous people—to her—Castilian subjects. And the law of the land was that Castilian subjects could not be enslaved. Furthermore, she was keen to convert the Indigenous people to Catholicism—and, to her, Catholics could also not be enslaved. (But, to her, Black people captured during her conquest on the African continent could be enslaved).

Michelle Jenner as Isabella in Isabel

Of course, her desire to convert people to Catholicism was not limited to Indigenous people of the Americas. Isabella and Ferdinand were also consistently obsessed with ensuring that every single person living in Spain practiced the same religion they did, to the point that they began mistrusting people who claimed to be Catholic. Their goal was to build a country that was entirely homogenized—100% Catholics, 100% of whom fully supported the Catholic monarchs. And so they founded a royal Inquisition aka The Spanish Inquisition. They weren’t the first people to do this, but they were among the most successful at it, by which I mean they captured and killed more than most other Inquisitions did. Here’s more info on this point:

Isabella’s religious fervor was not limited to her subjects she applied similar high standards, and problematic/abusive methods on her own family members as well. And it is in her home life that Isabella found herself caught in a sequence of events she was not able to defeat with her cleverness or ruthlessness.

Isabella and Ferdinand had five children: Isabel of Aragon Juan, Prince of Asturias Juana of Castile Maria of Aragon and Katherine of Aragon . Isabella ensured that all of her children were provided with extensive education, hiring Italian humanists as tutors. It had not been standard for children to be educated to this extent, especially not girls. Isabella presented herself as a role model to her daughters in other ways too, such as by bringing them with her when she accompanied troops into battle.

Michelle Jenner as Isabella, with Rodolfo Sancho as Ferdinand, in Isabel

Isabella, having grown up in a ghost castle and having spent her adolescence leading a coup to steal the throne, hadn’t received much schooling in her childhood, and so worked to ensure her children would all get the best possible education. Isabel, Juan, Juana, Katherine, and Maria were all taught basically everything possible for that era and location: various languages, science, history, politics, archery, dancing, music, and more. As Juan was trained in how to become the new King, the girls learned both the skills required to be a wife and mother alongside their other studies. Isabella and Ferdinand ensured that their family would be impervious to criticism, and each of the children was recorded as having been both accomplished and gorgeous. The girls all seem to have inherited many of the personality traits of their mother, as they all wound up expressing tenacity alongside very powerful streaks of stubbornness. Of all of the children, Isabella clashed most often with Juana, perhaps because these two were more alike than any of the others.

One final part of Isabella and Ferdinand’s strategy for complete Spanish domination was to connect their dynasty with royal families in other countries. As such, they arranged the best possible matches for each of their children. Isabel was shipped off to marry the Portuguese king, while Juan and Juana were each married off to a Habsburg royal. Isabel’s husband died suddenly at a very young age, after which Isabel begged to be allowed to remain unmarried and to life as a nun. But she was needed to help firm up the alliance with Portugal, and so Isabella sent her daughter back to marry the new Portuguese King. Isabel died in childbirth a year later, her baby son soon passing away as well. At around this same time, Juan—who Isabella had always favored, referring to him as her “angel”—also died. This meant—much to Isabella’s grief and frustration—that her seeming least-favourite daughter, Juana, was suddenly and unexpectedly heir to the thrones of Castile and Aragon.

Isabella’s youngest daughters, Maria and Katherine, were sent off shortly for their own politically advantageous marriages—Maria, to be the second wife to Isabel’s widower, the King of Portugal, and Katherine off to marry Arthur, the English crown prince. (This did not go particularly easily for Katherine , which is what the new show The Spanish Princess will be about).

These deaths in quick succession, combined with the heartbreak of having her children move away, severely affected Isabella’s health, including her mental health. She turned to prayer and fasting for strength, which only weakened her constitution. Isabella slowly succumbed to the effects of dropsy , but kept enough of her wits about her to be able to compose her will . This document is part advice and instruction to Ferdinand (who would go on to rule for another twelve years) as well as their successors, in which she charges them to remain vigilant against the Devil and his minions (including Muslim and Jewish people), as well as to continue working to conquer the African continent and to continue the Inquisition. She also notes her desire for the Indigenous people of the American colonies to be treated fairly, and not to be abused.

Queen Isabella died at age 53 on November 26, 1504, at the Medina del Campo Royal Palace , where she had been living bedridden for her final months . Her tomb is in Granada, the site of one of her greatest military and political victories, in the Capilla Real . Queen Isabella is laid next to her husband, Ferdinand, as her daughter and heir Juana (who died 55 years later), Juana’s awful husband who we don’t care about, and Isabel’s dead baby son, Miguel.

Isabella forever changed the course of world history. She founded the first cross-Atlantic colonial empire, creating a template to be used later by both the French and the English. Her successes in the wars against Muslim areas paved the way for Christianity to become the dominant religion through most of Western Europe. She was also the first European woman to be recognized as a monarch in her own right, changing the meaning of the word Queen to mean “a woman who rules” rather than just “the woman married to the King.” There are echoes of her story in the character arc of Daenerys Targaryen on Game of Thrones. Like Isabella, the character of Daenerys went from a forgotten, sidelined young woman to am ambitious would-be Queen to a seemingly power-mad colonizer. Isabella’s legacy is complex and impossible to label as entirely positive or entirely negative what I can say without a doubt is that hers was one of the most consequential and important reigns in European history.

Note: a previous version of this essay suggested that Isabella had physically abused and tortured her daughter Juana during her childhood. The idea that Isabella or Ferdinand had applied torture methods to Juana seems to have originated in letters from, some of which can be found here. However, as further verification of this cannot be found, all references to Isabella abusing Juana in this manner have been removed from this essay.


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