Joseph McCabe (1867-1955) was one of the most prolific authors of all time. He was brought up as a Roman Catholic, worked on Latin documents, and made himself very well-informed about Christianity, but turned against it. But he was extremely naive about Jews; bear this in mind.

Click for Detailed notes on McCabe - scroll down for selections from A Rationalist Encyclopaedia (1948).

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Spain, Religion in.

J. McCabe, Rationalists Encyclopaedia

Three untruthful statements in connection with recent events in Spain have been put into circulation by Catholic writers. The first is that Catholic monarchs made Spain a great country when they delivered it from the Moors, and may be trusted to restore its greatness. The second is that the great majority of the people are devoted to the Church and welcome the Franco regime. The third is that outrages were introduced into Spanish life by the "enemies of religion." The first statement is opposed to the facts as given in any authoritative history, and must here be dismissed briefly. Not only did the Catholic monarchs of the Middle Ages, who were quite generally corrupt and worthless, have to attract (by the promise of loot) very large bodies of foreign knights and soldiers to help them to evict the Arabs, but the civilization which they completely destroyed was far larger, richer, and more enlightened than Spain is to-day. [See Arabs.] In the fifteenth century the last area of it, the Kingdom of Granada, was got by trickery as much as by war (Ferdinand II). To the wealth thus acquired was soon added the wealth of America, yet, while this was just the period of general European advance, the Catholic monarchs within one century brought complete ruin upon the country. In the year 1000 Arab Spain - the half of the Peninsula which they occupied - had had a population of 30,000,000 very prosperous, happy, tolerant, and enlightened people. In the seventeenth century the entire country had only about 6,500,000 people, and they were among the poorest, most intolerant and ignorant in Europe (Cambridge Modern History). These undisputed historical facts were made widely known by the Liberal writers of the late eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries, and revolt against the Church spread. The monarchy - and again most of the monarchs of the Bourbon dynasty were among the most corrupt in Europe - was in intimate alliance with the Church, except during the Carlist War; yet every single monarch of that dynasty in the last hundred years except Alfonso XII, who died prematurely, was ignominiously driven out of the country by the people, and at each revolution the workers were with difficulty checked in burning churches and convents. It is enough here to give the figures for the last free period. After the expulsion of Alfonso XIII, in 1931, the hierarchy urged the people, in lurid language, to vote against "the enemies of Jesus Christ" at the next election, for it was freely announced that the Liberal-Socialist alliance would disestablish the rich and very corrupt Church. Yet the Liberal-Socialists won 315 seats to 121 and two-thirds of the votes in the cities. The country still supported the Government when it passed measure after measure against the Church; but the Catholics now organized, the Liberals and Socialists split (and the Anarchists and Communists opposed both), and in the 1934 election the Catholic Right polled 4,750,000 votes and the supporters of the Government 4,356,000. This was hailed in the British Press as proof that the country had changed or had proved itself Catholic, and not a single writer warned the public that there were about 3,000,000 Anarchists and Communists (all Atheists) who had refrained from voting, or that it was the generous extension of the franchise to women by the Socialists that had made the difference in the Catholic vote. In fact, if we add the vote (340,000) of the Liberals, who had sulked in their tents, but were all opposed to the Church, to that of the Government supporters, we see that even now, when the economic quarrel gravely complicated the issue, the majority were against the Church. Add 3,000,000 non-voters - the total electorate was 12,548,499-and we find that only a little more than a third voted for the Church, in spite of the frenzied appeals of the clergy. So the Pope, Italy, and Germany organized the Catholic rebellion. Our conclusion is sufficiently confirmed by the Jesuit Father Gannon, who (Irish Times, January 23, 1937) estimated the number of Catholics as "ten or fifteen million." If we take the average of his very loose figures, we get about 12,000,000 Catholics in a total population of 29,000,000, which is a maximum. The third statement - that violence was introduced by "the Reds" - is still more amazingly opposed to the admitted facts. These are that from 1812 to 1931 there were nine revolutions. Six of these were won - nearly all without war - by the anti-clericals, and the defeated clerical-royalists were treated very humanely. Three revolts were won by the Right, and they were followed by incredible official outrages in which the Church egged on the royalists. As these are fully described in the Cambridge Modern History (Vol. XI) and Major Hume's Modern Spain (Story of the Nations Series), there is no need to go into detail. From 1814 onward the "gentlemen" and priests of Spain are shown in these authoritative manuals to have perpetrated horrible brutalities on their opponents, causing the death of at least 50,000 men, women, and children. In the nineteenth century, and it was only after a century of this that some sections of the popular party, chiefly the Anarchists - the Communists were one of the smallest parties and not violent-retaliated in kind. For a popular account of events from 1812 to 1931, see McCabe's Spain in Revolt (1931); for the corruption of the Church and the brutality under Alfonso XIII, see his Martyrdom of Ferrer (1909); and, for the recent period, The Papacy in Modern Politics (cheap ed., 1939).


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