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The Catholic Church in Spain

The Catholic Church's role in Spanish politics and society between 1930-78 is a subject of great importance.

Relations between the Church and the monarchy were strong under Alfonso XIII - the Church was seen to be a great supporter of the monarchy and a key force against the fight for democracy. Pope Pius XI, leader of the Catholic Church from 1922-1939, believed democracy would lead to the rise of socialism and communism, ideas which would dilute the Church's influence. Under the Second Republic, however, the Catholic Church's power weakened as a raft of anti-clerical legislation was enshrined into the Spanish Constitution of December 1931.

After the Civil War (1936-39) in which the Nationalists emerged victorious, the Spanish Catholic Church's influence began to grow again as dictator Francisco Franco delegated control over aspects of society including primary education to the Church. Towards the end of Franco's rule, the Spanish Catholic Church distanced itself from the regime and in 1973, it issued a statement entitled 'The Church and the Political Community' in which it officially called for democracy and the end of Franco's dictatorship.

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