In this vast world we live in, there are many ways of seeing reality. Everyone, on the basis of their experiences and their way of relating to the world, has developed a political opinion.
However, it is not uncommon to find people who are overly dogmatic and intolerant of ideological diversity, seeing others who are terribly wrong or who threaten their way of seeing the world.
Fundamentalism refers to any ideology which, in itself, does not tolerate any deviation from its principles.. Although it has its origins in the most faithful Catholicism, the concept has evolved to refer to any thought that borders on bigotry. Let’s see below.
What is fundamentalism?
Initially linked to the European context, fundamentalism, in particular Catholicism, is understood as the political current which advocates that the Catholic faith be the basis of legal legislation and the order of society. Catholic Fundamentalists they considered it unacceptable that a European state could dissociate itself from the principles of God and that any new, liberal and modernist idea endangered the social order and the integrity of the country as the Catholic nation that it was.
Today, the term has evolved to refer to any socio-political movement that borders on sectarianism, whether religious or ethnic, nationalist or cultural. In essence, a fundamentalist, whatever the ideal, wants society to be socially and politically ordered on the basis of inflexible and immutable principles, such as laws being made in accordance with what is stated in a holy book., That the entire state only speaks the language that gives the country a name or that there is only one ethnic group.
History of Catholic Fundamentalism
While the original fundamentalist ideas have their roots in the Middle Ages, with Popes Gregory VII and Boniface VIII, fundamentalism it would only end up being articulated as a sophisticated movement after the Enlightenment and the French Revolution.. The nineteenth century shook all Catholic principles and the power of the Church given the shocking ideas that emerged from bourgeois revolutions, such as popular sovereignty, science and methods based on reason and empiricism.
Catholic fundamentalism appeared in Europe between the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries, around the controversies of the Catholic Church with various post-revolutionary principles and French liberalism. This term was first coined to refer to those who opposed the so-called “modernists”, who advocated the creation of a synthetic movement between Christian theology and liberal philosophy, a defender of human freedom and a supporter. of a “greater religious tolerance”.
Proponents of Catholic fundamentalism considered it unthinkable to leave the state without the guidance of God. Much less acceptable to fundamentalists was to dissociate the Church from the social order, leaving it in the background or as a subordinate institution as the laws of the state indicated.
Over time, Catholic fundamentalism would take shape, becoming a powerful anti-pluralist movement of Catholicism, having many supporters in France, given the importance of liberal ideas in the country, but also strengthening in Portugal, Spain. , in Italy and Romania at the end of the 19th. century. In these countries, the idea that the Catholic faith should be the first, and that any means of reducing or eliminating ideological competitors was legitimate, Especially against liberalism and humanism.
Pope Pius IX condemned liberal ideas by exposing errors in his Syllabus errorum complectens praecipuos nostrae aetatis. It would be this Syllabus that would end up laying the foundations of Catholic fundamentalism, especially in the case of Spanish. This Catholic fundamentalism would reach its most classic vision in the papal reaction to modernism, led by Pius X in 1907. Those who were most partdarios of the papal vision were called “integral Catholics”.
Catholic Fundamentalism would eventually decline after Vatican Council II, given the lack of support within the Catholic hierarchy. At that time, the idea that State and Church should be strongly united was considered very outdated, even among the most devout Catholics. In that same Council, the idea of personal freedom of thought and thought was defended, tolerating less orthodox views and accepting, albeit with the limitations that all religion has, freedom of belief.
Catholic fundamentalism in Spain
In Spain, Catholic fundamentalism is said to be one of the three most important branches of Hispanic political Catholicism, with Carlism and liberal Catholicism being the most outspoken choice of Catholic integrity. In fact, in the current the Catholic being was taken as the main characteristic of the identity of the individual, over any political or social activism.
This fundamentalism materialized in the form of the National Catholic Party, founded in 1888 by Ramon Nocedal, the militants came mainly from Carlista ranks and had as a means of distribution the newspaper “The Future” century (1875-1936). The party, like the rest of European Catholic fundamentalism, was a staunch enemy of the enlightened ideas of liberalism, seen as a direct threat to the Spanish way of life, as well as the rejection of rationalism, seen as the path that led to heresy while he doubted the word of God.
After the decades and the arrival of the Second Spanish Republic, this Spanish Catholic fundamentalism would lose its strength as a separate current and would eventually merge with Carlism. After the death of Nocedal, the most important figure as a leader of fundamentalist thought, Recycled and transformed into traditionalism would be that of Fal Conde, who would be the main leader of the movement since 1934.
Postulates of the fundamentalist attitude
Whether Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Serbian or Catalan supremacist, any fundamentalist ideology responds, in substance, to the following postulates.
Fundamentalism rejects anyone who does not share its principles, often in a hostile manner. Visions outside of their way of thinking are seen as direct threats to their identity and react aggressively.
2. Antipluralist and dogmatic
Plurality is rejected. There is only one way or way of looking at things that is right and you have to fight to make it happen. He is whole insofar as he agrees with his way of being: his own.
Any interdisciplinary attempt is considered dangerous, as a means of contagion or abandonment by those who have the “truth”. You cannot argue the “truth”, nor believe yourself or be a traitor. We aspire that there is only one way of seeing the world, one faith, one law or one rule. Any alternative is unacceptable.
3. Evil is in others
Fundamentalist movements consider that any vision outside their way of thinking is a danger for the social order.
In the case of the Catholic, the only way to protect society from itself was the regeneration of the Church as a regulator of collective behavior. Secularization, that is to say the passage from the religious sphere to the civil sphere, was the decline of society.
4. Static attitude
An attitude contrary to any change or opening of thought is assumed. In other words, the acceptance of outside ideas endangers one’s own, and for this reason the system must be closed and static in time.
Many fundamentalist movements view the past as an ideal vision of what a perfect world is according to their ideals, while the future is seen as dangerous. In Catholicism, it was Europe before the French Revolution, in Islam it would be before the intrusion of Western freedoms, or, in the case of the most identifiable Catalan independence, the Middle Ages.
5. Rejection of reason
There is no reconciliation between what is understood as its truth and his mistake. Either he runs between rationalism or he runs with identity, be it Catholic, Muslim, Protestant or whatever.
Reason is, from a fundamentalist point of view, a secondary dimension of the human being. It is considered that reason alone is not able to give all its meaning to the existence of man. We have the “truth” beyond all rationality.
6. Use of the apocalyptic language
It is very common in fundamentalist movements to use expressions with an apocalyptic air.Regardless of how religious fundamentalism is in particular. In the case of Catholics, it is very common to treat liberalism as heresy, as synonymous with the decay of Western culture and the cause of the wrath of God.
In more ethnic fundamentalism, such as Serbian nationalism during the Yugoslav wars or expressed by some Espanyol and pancatalanista currents the xenophobic idea of any cultural mixture and tolerance that speak other languages is considered the end of culture, the end of “us” because of “them”.
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- Aretin, K. (1970). The Papacy and the Modern World, Madrid.
- Colldeforns, F. (1912) Data for the history of the fundamentalist party, Barcelona.
- Urigüen, B (1985) Origin and evolution of the Spanish right: neo-Catholicism, CSIC, Madrid.
- Velasco, F. (1995). Approach to Current Catholic Political Fundamentalism, IgVi 178-179.