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Moments (1948-1988), block A

--year 2018--

 

 

 

This book includes my first 40 years of life. My own life is a pretext (it could be another), but it is the one I know best. What really interest me is to participate in the interpretation of our collective history.

 

 

Many Spaniards, and also other citizens of the world, once had similar experiences. That is why I focus on common universal themes: education, poverty, sex, love, justice, political commitment, criticism of religion, globalization and the third world.

 

 

Since 2013, a comment that I reproduce here follows on the Internet and whose author I have already answered in private to thank him for his sensitivity:

 

"After reading, in addition to saying that it has moved me and that I advise everyone, I inform you that we are facing an authentic, true, lively, sincere and written book with moderation, which narrates with agile, vibrant and enjoyable language, intrahistory (the true story) of the 40 years of an idealistic Aragonese to the fullest, born in a humble family from a poor rural Spain, and who goes intensely through the chiaroscuro stages of the provincial clergy of Tarazona, to leave them behind with courage, but without anger and with affection, and start alone a new free vital dawn in his hard walk [...] And all this exciting book is written by heartbeat and framed in its historical context. 'By their works you will know them'. Here we have a good example. Thank you for writing it, Pedro. A big hug from a Novallas neighbor. Be happy. You deserve it". Pacobaroja.

__________________________________________________________

 

 

Here we present a part of the book, which goes in two blocks: A and B. Block B incorporates the years 1976 to 1980, plus the last endings of OWN NAMES cited, referring to the entire book. As a whole, I keep as well the initial INDEX intact. In the PDF, the pages corresponding to this web selection also appear in red.

 

 

The original English version file is in Word. There are small format dysfunctions, in sources and justifications, with the website's program. But in the included PDF (converted directly from Word) there is no dysfunction and it is shown as the original.

 

 

 

The original and complete version of this book was published

in 2010 in SPANISH (digital and paper versión) at

https://www.bubok.es/libros/187278/Mi-memoria-historica-19481988

 

 

 

 

The complete version of this book was published

in 2018 in ENGLISH (only digital version) at:

https://www.bubok.es/libros/254725/Moments-19481988

 

This ENGLISH version incorporates 46 images

that are not in the Spanish version.

_______________________________________________________

 

 

Moments (1948-1988) for web.
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Book data and Copyright

 

 

 

© PEDRO MENDOZA GONZALO

 

Original title in Spanish:..................... Mi memoria histórica (1948-1988)

1st edition in Spanish:........................ September 2010

Copyright ©:....................................... Pedro Mendoza Gonzalo

© 2010 Bubok Publishing S.L................................ www.bubok.es

Printed in Spain..................................................... Printed by Bubok

ISBN: International Standard Book Number......... 978-84-9916-937-8

DL: Depósito Legal / Legal Deposit...................... M-35707-2010

_________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Title in English:................................... Moments (1948-1988)

1st digital edition in English:............... October 2017

Copyright ©:........................................ Pedro Mendoza Gonzalo

© 2017 Amazone, Kindle Direct Publishing.............. https://kdp.amazon.com

ISBN: International Standard Book Number............. 978-84-697-6843-3

 

_________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Title in English:.................................... Moments (1948-1988)

2nd digital edition in English:............... January 2018

Copyright ©:......................................... Pedro Mendoza Gonzalo

Editado por Bubok Publishing S.L........................... www.bubok.es

ISBN formato papel................................................. 978-84-685-1915-9

ISBN formato pdf..................................................... 978-84-685-1916-6

 

 

*****************

 

Dedication

 

 

To all anonymous humans

Of whom nothing remained

More than their work

 

 

 

Moments (1948-1988)

 

 

Index

 

                                                                                   Pages

 

Book Data and Copyright.........................................................................................    2

Dedication................................................................................................................    3

Index........................................................................................................................    4

IMAGES: Chronological order of exposure............................................................... 10

Greetings to the English edition of 2017, by Pedro Mendoza................................... 11

PROLOGUE by ROBERTO MIRANDA..................................................................... 12

Acronyms and abbreviations..................................................................................... 14

Welcome to the History, by Pedro Mendoza............................................................. 16

 

1. CHILDHOOD: years 1948 to 1960

 

I confess that I was born............................................................................................ 17

The first time I saw it snowing.................................................................................... 20

Do you want to be an altar boy?................................................................................. 21

We will send you to the Seminary.............................................................................. 24

Journey to Infinity....................................................................................................... 25

Few are the chosen ones........................................................................................... 26

Holidays: “You go out to the world”............................................................................ 29

 

 

2. ADOLESCENCE: years 1960 to 1965

 

Latin second course................................................................................................... 32

All on their knees!...................................................................................................... 34

I like girls.................................................................................................................... 35

Lesson 20!................................................................................................................. 36

Ten slogans for my life............................................................................................... 39

Back, back, they're all the same!............................................................................... 41

I'll escape by the Moncayo......................................................................................... 42

City of Boys, open country......................................................................................... 43

The Second Vatican Council is closed....................................................................... 44

“The climate of Rome does not suit me”.................................................................... 45

Experiences and Thoughts........................................................................................ 45

 

 

3. YOUTH: years 1966 to 1972

 

Year 1966, News................................................................................. 32, here....... 47

HAVING PROBLEMS AND TRYING TO SOLVE THEM..................... 32, here....... 47

 

Year 1967, News................................................................................. 33, here....... 48

BETWEEN GOD AND ME, THERE ARE NO INTERMEDIARIES.......33, here....... 48

 

Year 1968, News................................................................................ 35................. 50

“WE HAVE TO PUT MORE EGGS”.................................................... 35................. 50

 

Year 1969, News................................................................................ 37................. 52

EVERY OCCASION IS FINAL............................................................ 37 ...............  52

 

Year 1970, News............................................................................... 40 ...............  55

IF WE HAVE TO INVENT, WE WILL INVENT................................... 41 ...............  56

 

Year 1971, News............................................................................... 54 ...............  69

“AND DO NOT BECOME A PRIEST, FOR WHAT YOU WANT MOST!”....... 54 ...............  69

 

Year 1972 News................................................................................ 57 ...............  72

“THE JUNGLE IS DARK, BUT FULL OF DIAMONDS”...................... 58 ...............  73

 

My first Mass, 1972 December 29..................................................... 67 ...............  82

 

 

 

4. THREE YOUNG PRIESTS IN MONCAYO:

years 1973 to 1976.

 

Year 1973 News................................................................................ 70 ...............  85

TODAY REVOLUTION BEGINS........................................................ 70 ...............  85

 

Year 1974 News................................................................................ 75 ...............  90

THE BEST FEATS ARE THOSE THAT NO POET SINGS................ 76 ...................  91

Stridency —song................................................................................ 77 ...............  92

Althoug I have nothing —song........................................................... 79 ...............  94

The “case Fabara”.............................................................................. 80 ...............  95

“I kiss your Pastoral Ring” —The Civil Governor................................ 83 ...............  98

Written comments on 2006................................................................. 84 ...............  99

 

Year 1975 News................................................................................. 86 .............  101

“TO HAVE HOPE, YOU HAVE TO SLEEP WELL”............................. 86 .................  101

“Being burned is”…............................................................................. 89 .................  104

Christianoids and Citizens Manifestation............................................ 90 .................  105

Be radical or extremist?...................................................................... 90 .............  105

Extreme right and extreme left............................................................ 91 .............  106

 

Year 1976 News................................................................................. 92 .............  107

ABOUT A STATISTIC......................................................................... 92 .............  107

Who MOVE and those who do NOT MOVE ...................................... 95 .............  110

 

 

5. MISSIONARY IN BURUNDI:

years 1976 to 1980.

 

Travel to Burundi: Calatayud, Madrid, Brussels................................. 99 .............  114

Travel to Burundi: Brussels, Kinshasa, Bujumbura.......................... 100 .............  115

Psalm 1976 —song.......................................................................... 103 .............  118

 

Year 1977 News.............................................................................. 104 .............  119

“THE SEED MAKES NO NOISE WHEN IT GROWS”..................... 104 .............  119

Still —song....................................................................................... 107 .............  122

Payment of wages in Rushanga...................................................... 111 .............  126

I am just a man —song.................................................................... 113 .............  128

Between wine drinks —song........................................................... 114 ..............  129

 

Year 1978 News.............................................................................. 115 .............  130

“THE POOR UNDERSTAND ONLY THEIR MISFORTUNES” .................. 116 .............  131

Eternal question: a virtue called poverty.......................................... 119 .............  134

 

Year 1979 News.............................................................................. 121 .............  136

“ON HORSEBACK BETWEEN TWO CULTURES”.......................... 122 .................  137

What do the bishops of Aragon think? May 22, 1979...................... 124 .............  139

We enter in no return area, June 16, 1979...................................... 125 .............  140

Letter to Tarazona, July 2, 1979...................................................... 126 .............  141

 

Year 1980, News............................................................................ 126 .............  141

“WE CAN NOT BE TOYS IN THE HANDS OF A FEW PEOPLE”.............. 127 .................  142

Notes for Nuns................................................................................ 127............... 142

The benefactors, to whom do they benefit?.................................... 130 .................  145

ENLACE “Magazine”, Editorial, Letters to the Editor...................... 135 .............  150

How we have organized that “famous” letter to the Pope............... 138 .............  153

Open Letter to John Paul II, sent on Feb 6, 1980........................... 141 .............  156

Acknowledgement of Le Monde, Feb 8, 1980................................ 142 ..............  158

The Bishop of Tarazona (Aragon) writes to us............................... 143 ..............  158

Our letter to the Pope, in La Crónica of Lima (Peru)...................... 144 ..............  159

North-South Dialogue...................................................................... 145 ..................  160

“Thank you for the tone of your letter”, March 22, 1980................. 147 ..............  162

This is getting complicated............................................................. 148 ..............  163

Nyangwa, last minute..................................................................... 150 ..............  165

Letter from Makarakiza to Bududira, 31 Mar 31, 1980................... 152 ..............  167

We said goodbye to the population of Nyangwa, Apr 3, 1980....... 153 ..............  168

Bududira welcomes us and writes to Tarazona, Apr 9, 1980........ 154 ...............  169

Letter from Bududira to Makarakiza, Apr 9, 1980.......................... 154 ...............  169

Letter from Roberto and Pedro to Tarazona, Apr 12, 1980........... 155 ...............  170

The government of Burundi expels us, April 17, 1980.................. 156 ...............  171

Notification, April 19, 1980............................................................ 157 ...............  172

Facsimiles, in French.................................................................... 158 ...............  173

 

Roberto and Pedro from Spain,

to the recipients of the letter to Pope............................................ 160 ...............  175

 

“ECRIVEZ A JEAN PAUL II:

trust, the pope listens” (La Vie, 1980 April).................................. 162 ...............  177

 

“Do not come back from Burundi”................................................. 163 ...................  178

“Nyangwa was something ours”, May 5, 1980............................. 163 ...............  178

“With head high”............................................................................ 164 ...................  179

Burundi, 4 hours:

Diocesan Council, Calatayud, May 12, 1980............................... 164 ...............  179

What happened in Nyangwa, May 12, 1980................................ 166 ...............  181

“I offer you indefinite hospitality” (letters from Peru).................... 168 ...............  183

The visit of the Great Father White

Andalán, June 6, 1980............................................................. 169 ...............  184

Hans Küng writes to us: “Dear friends Roberto and Pedro”........ 173 ...............  188

 

 

6. PRIEST OF NOVALLAS: years 1980 to 1984

 

Atea and Novallas, distant destinations, Jul 1980.................................................... 189

Letter to the Native Clergy of Novallas, July 29 ........................................................ 190

The bishop of Tarazona answers to C.G.M............................................................. 190

Entry and first Mass in Novallas, August 3, 1980..................................................... 191

 

Year 1981 News...................................................................................................... 192

“OF THE COWARDS THERE IS NOTHING WRITTEN”.......................................... 193

My moment 23-F...................................................................................................... 194

“And you get to know it always by the radio!” —May 29, 1981................................ 197

Today I turned 33 years, Sep 25, 1981.................................................................... 198

 

Year 1982, News..................................................................................................... 199

“YOUNG PEOPLE

NO LONGER WE EXPECT ANYTHING FROM THE CHURCH”............................ 200

Archpriest of Tarazona-RURAL, July 2, 1982.......................................................... 200

“God can not be a monopoly”, 23 and 24 October 1982......................................... 201

“The Church-alternative” (article in El País, November 7, 1982.............................. 204

“By their fruits you will know them”, November 15, 1982........................................ 204

Some of us we are in permanent Inquisition, November 18, 1982.......................... 207

“It's too late to think about the future”, December 5, 1982...................................... 208

 

Year 1983 News..................................................................................................... 209

“I AM NOTHING, BUT I AM SOMEONE”................................................................ 209

The “coup makers” appear in the photo.................................................................. 210

Typology of rural cacique, Mar 5, 1983................................................................... 212

“Mom, do not kill me”, Mar 6, 1983......................................................................... 215

The people have reacted positively, Mar 7, 1983................................................... 215

Letter to Madrid, June 12, 1983.............................................................................. 217

Autumn is more beautiful ... October 25, 1983....................................................... 221

“Pacifist manifestation in Novallas”......................................................................... 222

Letter to Roberto Miranda, December 21, 1983..................................................... 224

 

Year 1984 News.................................................................................................... 226

“TO BE PERFECT IS TO HAVE CHANGED OFTEN”............................................ 226

Roberto leaves “for personal reasons”, Iglesia en Tarazona, Jan 15, 1984.......... 227

“How to work in a team”, Jan 19, 1984................................................................... 228

Institutional paradox, Jan 23, 1984........................................................................ 229

“Don Pedro, everything went wrong for me” —Don Carlos, Mar 16, 1984............ 230

How expensive is costing us to be free!  Mar 25, 1984......................................... 231

My first lipothymia, Apr 2, 1984............................................................................. 231

“I am a priest, but Jesus was not”, April 19, 1984................................................. 233

Looking for a future in Madrid, May 4, 1984.......................................................... 233

“Within ten days, the button will be pressed”, May 20, 1984................................. 237

My mission in Novallas has ended, June 4, 1984................................................. 237

God is freedom —Miguel Ríos, June 24, 1984..................................................... 239

“Novallas is already a part of me”, June 30, 1984................................................ 239

 

 

7. SECULARIZATION: years 1984 to 1988

 

“To live is to change”, Aug 26, 1984..................................................................... 244

“How many are two and two? Whatever the boss says”, Nov 2, 1984................. 247

Goodbye 1984, go forever, December 30, 1984.................................................. 248

 

Year 1985 News.................................................................................................. 248

“THIS WAR IS CARRIED BY FOUR CLOWNS WITH STARS”........................... 248

Letter from a parishioner woman in Madrid, May 17, 1985.................................. 249

Replay to the parishioner before, May 21, 1985.................................................. 250

Since now, I'm not a priest, July 1, 1985............................................................. 252

“Your decision has surprised me” —Jacinto Alcoitia, July 6, 1985...................... 255

“I want to congratulate you on everything”

—Jesus Cunchillos, July 7, 1985......................................................................... 256

“Things as they are”, July 30, 1985..................................................................... 257

“I always have seen you too cerebral” —Ramón Búa, October 22, 1985........... 261

 

Year 1986 News................................................................................................. 261

SECULARIZATION IS AGE OF MAJORITY....................................................... 262

The Catholic Church in a secular world, Feb 20, 1986....................................... 263

 

Year 1987 News................................................................................................. 270

“WE ARE NOT MISSING”................................................................................... 273

COSARESE the VII Congress of Theology, September 1987............................ 277

I accept legal work stoppage, September 1987.................................................. 280

The “19 Vatican subjects” that Spain did not convalidate me............................. 281

 

Year 1988 News................................................................................................ 284

RACISM AMONG BLACKS............................................................................... 285

Tragedy in Black Africa El País, Aug 25, 1988.............................................. 287

 

 

8. BURUNDI: Historical Context, until 2010

 

BASIC HISTORICAL FACTS............................................................................ 292

Before 1972........................................................................................... 292

The genocide of Hutus in 1972.............................................................. 294

Until 1993, Tutsi military dictatorships................................................... 295

Significant events from 1988 to 1990......................................... 295

Significant events in 1991 and 1992.......................................... 296

Significant events in 1993.......................................................... 296

 

CIVIL WAR BEGINS IN BURUNDI................................................................... 297

Significant events in 1994..................................................................... 298

Year 1994, Rwanda: 800,000 dead in three months............................ 298

Significant events in 1995..................................................................... 299

Significant events in 1996..................................................................... 299

Significant events from 1997 to 1999................................................... 300

Significant events in 2000..................................................................... 301

Goodbye, Twentieth Century, good bye............................................... 303

 

BUILDING THE 21st CENTURY...................................................................... 303

350,000 refugees returned to Burundi.............................................................. 304

How difficult is peace........................................................................................ 305

Burundi, towards democracy............................................................................ 306

Primum vivere, deinde philosophari.................................................................. 307

Yes, we can..................................................................................................... 308

 

 

Year 2010: By way of farewell........... 174, here .............. 309

 

 

Proper names mentioned..................... 175, here .............. 310

 

Authors............................................................................. 175, here .............. 310

Leaders............................................................................ 177 ........................ 312

People.............................................................................. 178 ........................ 313

Populations, areas or sites................................................180 ........................ 315

 

 

AUTHOR of the book:

Biographical Sketch................................. 188 ........................ 323

 

 

 

 

ABSTRACT....................................................... 191 ........................ 325

 

 

______________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

IMAGES

Chronological order of exposure

 

 

 

Years.................................................................................... Pages

 

Cover photo, Nyangwa (Burundi), 1977.......................................    1

Golden wedding, 1997-1947 Oct 17,............................................. 17

1954, Pedro 6 years old, “Mi escuela”........................................... 18

1956 May 12, My First Communion............................................... 20

1958 May 19, Dance of Cetina (Zaragoza).................................... 22

1960 July, in Vinuesa (Soria)......................................................... 30

1962 December 25, in Tarazona-city............................................. 36

1966 Mar 30, Experiences ans Thoughts...................................... 45

1966 to 1990, Thought 812 and last.............................................. 46

1966 Oct 24, Standing, third on the right............................ 32 ...  47

1969 Jan: Paco and Pedro, 20 years old............................ 38 ...  53

1970 June: Grand Hotel Staff, Isle of Wight........................ 47 .....  62

1970 July: Grand Hotel Staff, Isle of Wight.......................... 47 ....  62

1970 July: Day off in London............................................... 48 ...  63

1970 Sept: Return to Spain via Paris................................... 51 ...  66

1973 Oct: Parochial choir, Vera de Moncayo...................... 73 ...  88

1974 Dec 13: “I kiss your Pastoral Ring”............................. 83 ...  98

1976 July: Last photo together the three............................. 97 ... 112

1976 August: Farewell in Cetina.......................................... 98 ... 113

1976 Sept 1, Burundi is here.............................................. 101 .. 116

1977 Jan: Guitar is called “igitari”....................................... 104 .. 119

1977 Jan: With President Bagaza in Ntita.......................... 105 .. 120

1977 Nyangwa: Child looks at his mother.......................... 108 .. 123

1978: Pedro, Pio with his son & Roberto............................ 119 .. 134

1979: Roberto with Deio, Rita & Samuele.......................... 123 .. 138

1979: Pedro & Roberto go into action................................ 125 .. 140

1980 Feb 8: Le Monde 2 days after................................... 143 .. 158

1980 Mar 15: La Crónica de Lima (Peru)........................... 144 .. 159

1980 Mar: Team Nyangwa, last photo............................... 152 .. 167

1980 April 19: Expulsion document.................................... 158 .. 173

1980 April 19: Notification document.................................. 159 .. 174

1980 April: “Ecrivez à Jean Paul II” LA VIE.................... 162 .. 177

1980 April 29: Our expulsion in El País.............................. 163 .. 178

1980 June 6: Andalán (Zaragoza)...................................... 169 .. 184

1980 June: Hans Küng writes to us.................................... 173 .. 188

1982: Pedro, priest of Novallas...................................................... 199

1982 Nov 7: El País, La Iglesia-alternativa.................................... 203

1983 Mar 6: El Día, Mamá no me mates....................................... 214

1983 Aug: Pedro, Jesús and Florentino......................................... 219

1986 Dec: Lupe, the bride.............................................................. 269

1986 Dec: Civil marriage in Madrid................................................ 270

1987 April, in Bárboles (Zaragoza)................................................. 271

1987 April: Pedro's parents in Zaragoza ....................................... 272

1987 Sept: Military coup in Burundi................................................ 273

1988 Aug 25: El País, Tragedia en África...................................... 287

1988 Oct 31: VIVA, Interview with Lupe........................................ 290

 

 

 

Greetings to the English edition of 2017

 

First of all, I send a warm greeting to the readers in English. This edition is practically identical to the Spanish edition, published in 2010 with the title Mi memoria histórica (1948-1988). I preferred to respect the original work, without adding or reworking information, because it would be another book. However, I changed the title, which in English is Moments (1948-1988). I have also introduced some personal photos and a few contextual footnotes. This on-line edition is adapted to din-A4 (210 x 297 mm) to encourage, if necessary, the printing of a specific page. I keep proper names with their original form. For example, it is Zaragoza, and not Saragossa.

 

Some readers of the Spanish edition have encouraged me to write already my experiences after 1988, but I do not feel special “rush”. Actually, my life after 1988 has been less atypical as the previous one. And also, it would be in 2028 when my second period of another 40 years is fulfilled. If I live then, I'll think about it. On the other hand, I am not a public figure and it is not an imperative need for any editorial.

 

In any case, a substantial part of my life after 1988 is already in my seven published books and in my dozens of press articles. I make a reference to all these writings in a website that I am updating in my free moments: www.pedromendoza.com. From 1985, among other things, I worked full time for 22 years as a high school teacher until 2011, when I retired. There is a synthesis of this teaching work in this website.

 

Moments (1948-1988) it is another contribution not to forget our own history. In the words of another author 14 years younger than me: “The only way to do something useful with the future is to have the past always present […] Today in the West we are repeating the errors of the thirties. We need a minimum agreement on the past, because who does not know where he comes from, does not know where he is going”. [1]

 

In my intention, this is not a “religious book”, but I dedicate many paragraphs to the necessary reform of the World and of my Catholic Church: ecclesia semper reformanda. 500 years ago, a significant Reformation began in 1517. Despite the mistakes of every human project, that Reformation meant a great advance in freedom. I did not look for this coincidence, I only record it now. And I join here to all human beings mistreated by all the Inquisitions of history.

 

Pedro MENDOZA GONZALO

October 2017

 

 

 

[1] Javier CERCAS: “Un pacto sobre el pasado” (A Pact on the Past), in El País Semanal, number 2.115 / Sunday April 09, 2017, page 8.

 

 

 

Prologue

Roberto Miranda [1]

 

 

This is a man who rebelled against the destiny that life wanted to impose on him. And he beat it not to contradict, but for being more radical than the destination itself, pushing it in its same direction, to the bottom. Firstborn of five children, in the home of a rural road worker of 50’s, adult embraced voluntary poverty, and with courage and joy took the job as a laborer when he could have escaped, taking up priestly status spiritualist and comfortable.

 

He raised a church in Bisoro (inside Burundi) over several months, with a crew of unqualified workers, and I witnessed his courageous dawning days and his daily return to late afternoon, tired and broken of fatigue and with his blue monkey of missionary, in a place and time where nothing came in his favor, either from within or from outside the Church.

 

In a climate where personal tranquility was achieved by simply staying still, or go around “doing good, even by force”, Pedro opted for action in favor of freedoms and questions, instead of accepting the answers; against the misleading calm of credulity in the official God who had been tried to inculcate, he risked maintaining a faith full of interrogations, which forced him to an uncomfortable and sustained commitment.

 

Not only committed to the poor, disoriented and oppressed people of rural Spain and Burundi, by the dark way of learning their language first, but opted for honesty with himself and with the difficult God he was discovering among those people, whose situation called him and hurt him. His notes give account not only of intimate and personal events, but of a reality that was breaking through in that dark Spain of the dictatorship: the secularism that came from the depths of the sensible hearts of men and gradually impregnated the daily customs. It was one of the most explicit ways of revealing freedoms.

 

Pedro Mendoza was recording everything in writing: the obedient childhood of the good boy who runs errands, the patient entrance to a seminary, overcoming the child's tear, and adapting to the sordid and closed life of Tarazona. Taking the first doubts in positive and docility, although he did not possess from the beginning the mental, philosophical, theological and experiential tools in which later he would support to give important changes of direction in his life.

 

Everything is recorded in this book: from the dark supplications to God naively seeking explanations to the desperate calls for help from suffering and loneliness. But nothing has been able to separate him from the people.

 

In the first impression one did not know whether to stay with his good physical plant or with his common sense; a sense coming from far back, from the dark childhood of Cetina. Pedro has kept the documents that are now scattered throughout this book: excerpts from his diary, letters, notifications, minutes, homilies...

 

There is the letter, signed by two, but written by him, to a Pope who had opted to take the opposite of the Spirit; and that, together with a posture of non-compromise with submission to bishops and local boss, ended up returning him to Spain with a radical question after four years in Africa: Who benefits from benefactors? The world had rid itself of spurious spirits that were not its own, but of the economic powers, of a religion legitimating the rich and the pimps. Pedro arrived at archpriest and had charges when he no longer believed in them.

 

And one day he got out of the church car so he could feel his feet on the ground. He had to start some studies from scratch, without anyone being able to validate him anything. He even got his doctorate in Philosophy. Now, as high school teacher at an institute in Alicante, he follows his commitment with the young people. And when all fate wants to take him to retirement and rest, he returns to his past life and refuses to give it simply for lived, and forget it, as we all do. This is a book that teaches to live and at the same time shows a stage of transition in Spain. Not politics, but the one that occurred in the consciences from superstition to secularism.

ROBERTO MIRANDA

 

 

 

[1] Roberto Miranda was a missionary in Burundi (1975-1980) and companion of Pedro Mendoza, who arrived in September 1976. Roberto later served as a journalist in Aragon (Spain) since 1984. On January 24, 2008, the Aragon Press Association awarded him one of the three distinctions for “the best Journalistic Career in 2007”.

 

 

Acronyms and Abbreviations

 

AAH - ACF.....    Action against Hunger, NGO - Action contre la Faim, ONG

AFD...............     French Development Agency

AFP...............     Agence France-Press

AP.................     Alianza Popular

B. C. - BC.....      Before Christ

BAC..............      Library of Christian Authors - Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos

BOE..............      Official Spanish State Bulletin - Boletín Oficial del Estado

BUP..............      Bachelor Unified Multipurpose - Bachillerato Unificado Polivalente

C14...............      Carbon 14 test

CCOO...... ....      Workers' Commissions, Spain - Comisiones Obreras

CD-ROM.......      Compact Disc-Read Only Memory

CIA................      Central Intelligence Agency

CMD..............      Cassava Mosaic Disease, Virus

CNDD............      National Council for the Defence of Democracy, Burundi

COSARESE.....   Secularized Priests and Religious, Spain

                            Colectivo de Sacerdotes y Religiosos Secularizados

 

COU................    University Orientation Course - Curso de Orientación Universitaria

CSIC...............    Higher Council for Scientific Research, Spain

                           Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas

 

DINA...............   National Intelligence Directorate, Chile, Police of Pinochet

                          Dirección de Inteligencia Nacional

 

DNI................    National identity card, Spain - Documento Nacional de Identidad

EAC..............     East African Community (Tanzania, Uganda, Kenia, Ruanda, Burundi)

ECHO..........      European Community Humanitarian Office

EEC - CEE..      European Economic Community

EGB............      Basic General Education, Spain - Educación General Básica

ERE............      Employment Regulation File, Spain -  Expediente de Regulación de Empleo

ESO............      Secondary Education Compulsory - Educación Secundaria Obligatoria

ETA............      Euskadi ta Askatasuna: Basque Country and Freedom (Spain)

EU - UE......      European Union - Unión Europea

FAO............      Food and Agriculture Organization

FBu.............      Burundi Francs

FDD............      Forces for the Defence of Democracy, Burundi

FES............      State Federation of Secularized, Spain - Federación Estatal de Secularizados

FET............      Traditionalist Spanish Falange, Spain - Falange Española Tradicionalista

FNL............      National Forces of Liberation, Burundi - Forces Nationales de Libération

FRAP.........      Antifascist Revolutionary and Patriot Front, Spain

                         Frente Revolucionario Antifascista y Patriota

 

FRG - RFA....  Federal Republic of Germany (West) - República Federal Alemana

FRODEBU.....  Front for Democracy in Burundi - Front pour la Démocratie au Burundi

FRP - RPF.....  Rwandan Patriotic Front - Front Rwandais Patriotique

GDP - PIB.....   Gross Domestic Product - Producto Interior Bruto

HOAC...........   Working Brotherhood of Catholic Action, Spain

                         Hermandad Obrera de Acción Católica

 

IES...............    Institute of Secondary Education, Spain - Instituto de Educación Secundaria

IMF - FMI.....    International Monetary Fund - Fondo Monetario Internacional

INEM............    National Employment Institute, Spain - Instituto Nacional de Empleo

IOC - COI.....    International Olympic Committee

ITT...............     International Telephone and Telegraph

Jn, 1 Jn........    John the Evangelist, 1st Letter of John (Bible)

                        Juan evangelista, 1ª Carta de Juan

 

JONS ..........   Boards of National-Syndicalist Offensive, Spain

                       Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional-Sindicalista

KGB.............  Komitet Gosudárstvennoy Bezopásnosti: Committee for State Security

Lc ...............   Luke, Gospel (Bible)

Mc...............   Mark, Gospel (Bible)

MEC............   Ministry of Education and Science, Spain - Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia

MOCEOP....   Optional Celibacy Movement, Spain - Movimiento pro Celibato Opcional

MRC ...........   Rural Christian Movement, Spain - Movimiento Rural Cristiano

Mt................   Matthew, Gospel (Bible)

NATO - OTAN....North Atlantic Treaty Organization

                           Organización del Tratado del Atlántico Norte

 

NGO - ONG....... Non Governmental Organization - Organización No Gubernamental

OLP............  Organization for the Liberation of Palestine

ONUB.........  United Nations Operation in Burundi

                     Operación de Naciones Unidas en Burundi

 

OPEC-OPEP.......Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries

                            Organización de Países Exportadores de Petróleo

 

OUA - OAU........ Organization of African Unity – Organización para la Unidad Africana

Page-s, p, pp...... Page, pages

PALIPEHUTU..... Party of Liberation of the Hutu People, Burundi

                            Parti pour la Libération du Peuple Hutu

 

PAR.............. Host House for Religious, Bujumbura - Procure d’Accueil Religieux

PCE.............. Communist Party of Spain - Partido Comunista de España

PSOE........... Spanish Socialist Worker's Party - Partido Socialista Obrero Español

RAE.............. Royal Spanish Academy - Real Academia Española

Rom.............. Letter to the Romans (Bible) - Carta a los Romanos (Biblia)

RUMASA...... Ruiz Mateos Corporation, Spain - Ruiz Mateos Sociedad Anónima

SABENA......  Société Anonyme Belge pour l’Exploitation de la Navigation Aérienne

SEAT ..........  Spanish car Tourism Society - Sociedad Española de Automóviles Turismo

SER............   Spanish Broadcasting Company - Sociedad Española de Radiodifusión

TV, TVE......   Television, Spanish Television - Televisión, Televisión Española

U.S. - USA..    United States of America

UAM ...........   Autonomous University of Madrid - Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

UBS - SBU..   United Bible Societies  - Sociedades Bíblicas Unidas

UCD............   Democratic Centre Union, Spain - Unión de Centro Democrático

UCM...........   Complutense University of Madrid - Universidad Complutense de Madrid

UGT...........    General Union of Workers - Unión General de Trabajadores

UN - ONU...   United Nations - Organización de las Naciones Unidas

UNESCO....    United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

UNHCR......    United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

UPRONA....    Unit for National Progress, Burundi - Unité pour le Progrès National

URSS..........   Union of Soviet Socialist Republics - Unión de Repúblicas Socialistas Soviéticas

USA............    United States of America

USUMA......    Union of Major Superiors, Burundi - Unión de Superiores Mayores

V.E. Rvdma.  ... Most Rev. Your Lordship, from Governor to Bishop

                          Vuestra Excelencia Reverendísima

 

WFP - PMA...... World Food Programme (UN) - Programa Mundial de Alimentos (ONU)

WHO - OMS..... World Health Organization - Organización Mundial de la Salud

____________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Welcome to the History

 

This book is about experiences and facts related to my first 40 years of life (1948-1988). What form would suit: novel or essay? “Good novels, there are already many”, I thought. But besides that, I did not want to excite anyone, but to tell faithfully what happened. Or at least try. In a novel you never know what really happened and what the author invented. And I like history, a consistent source of wisdom and ultimate guarantee of all verisimilitude. So I decided on an essay and not a novel.

 

We already know what happens to memories, “we interpret” past events, filtered by our current angle and interests. Autobiographies are subjective, all right. But they are a necessary genre, for we know at least that intimate point of view which, added to other points of view, contributes to the overall vision. That is history: a combination of facts, expressions and writings.

 

I never attempt to please or offend anyone in this book. I feel, above all, the need to communicate acquired certainties: all provisional, of course, until I find a better one. Since 1966, I have them handwritten, dated. There are millions of other interesting lives, but you only learn from the few lives of which there are records, not from the countless who disappeared in the imposing tunnel of time.

 

Now, in the 21st century, while exploring a worthy global exit to the economic, sociopolitical and axiological megacrisis that we suffer, I have found it useful to recover intimate samples of identity.

 

I was a Catholic priest and missionary, an atypical profession. In any case, my life is, in fact, a pretext; it could be another, but it is the one I know best. What matters to me, really, is to participate in the interpretation of our collective history. If we let others tell our own story, it would seem that we have not existed.

 

The conscious human life span is brief. When the wisdom comes to us at last, we almost do not need it (if this happens). It is leading cultures that combine historical memory well with present creativity, but there are always powers interested in that the real history is not known, but the official one. That is why it is so important to investigate and listen to the witnesses of the past. To recover or to remember is to learn, for the amnesic peoples are always starting from scratch. Man or woman reader, if you learn something here or in your own life, please pass it on to others.

 

PEDRO MENDOZA GONZALO

Year 2010

 

 

 

1. Childhood

Years 1948 to 1960

 

 

I confess that I was born

It was five in the afternoon. September 1948, sign Libra. My parents had been married in Zaragoza 11 months before. Their golden wedding was celebrated in 1997 with them by the 5 brothers.

 

1997 October 17, Golden wedding

 

My country, Spain, expelled from the UN since 1946, was one of the asses of the world. Franco, former friend of Hitler and Mussolini, had obtained the ability to be against all the international powers at the same time. Against Allies, a nest of freedoms (or snakes) and against Russian communism, guilty of our civil war: “The extermination of Russia is a demand of history and the future of Europe” —shouted Serrano Súñer, Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, days before recruiting the Blue Division. [1]

 

But history has many twists and 1948 is the year of divorce capitalism-communism. Franco suddenly stops being bad, because he is anticommunist, “he can be useful to us”, think the Americans while laying their bases in Spain (1953). That same year, what a coincidence, the Vatican also signs its Concordat. Now it turns out that Franco is “providential”. In summary, that in 1955 Spain returns to the UN and we already have dictatorship for a while.

 

In 1948, other things happened. The Mahatma Gandhi is killed. Two American physicists invent the transistor. The state of Israel is born. Olympic Games were in London. Juan Carlos, future king, arrives to Spain with ten years of age. Declaration of Human Rights in Paris: 48 votes in favor and 8 abstentions: USSR, Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Union of South Africa and Saudi Arabia. [2]

 

 

 

[1] Words to the Political Board of FET and JONS, July 5, 1941. Taken from CRÓNICA DEL SIGLO XX. Plaza & Janés, 1986, p.607.

 

[2] CRÓNICA DEL SIGLO XX. Plaza & Janés, 1986, p.730.

 

1954 november, at 6 years old, in CETINA (Zaragoza)

 

In my village, in my first years of life, we did not know anything of the previous things. Well, some would know, but he was very quiet. I only heard of mules and chariots, blasphemies included, of the wheat harvest, of the flood of the Jalon, and suchlike. Someone also threw himself on the train track, although I did not quite understand why such a suicide. In my early years, only the rich had radio. I still remember the day my parents bought one in installments. It was my mother who deceived my father: “That way you'll hear ‘el parte’ (news), man, and the kids will learn things, because on the radio people speak very well”. ‘El parte’ (the part) [1]  was not made to inform my father, who was a vocation farmer and a road laborer by opposition. Besides, he was late coming home and very tired.

 

Over time I realized that it was a goal of my mother, who had an urban mentality of Zaragoza, where she had worked until she married and decided to emigrate for the rural world of 1948. Things of love... My mother was at home most of the day, listening to novels, events, and music. If was possible, always with high volume. You could go down from the Church to the outskirts and hear the same song in the morning radio. The radio was to be heard; if not, you did not seem to have it. Except if you put the Pirenaica: “I am in my house and I can put what I want”, I would say years later to my father (and he answered talking to himself, speaking to the ground): “This boy is stupid”. [2]

 

Neither my father nor my mother had any studies. My mother told my father when they were engaged: “Our children will be ready, because I read well and you write well” (spelling, nothing)… My father fought in the civil war as a Franco infantryman; they called him in rows at his 18 years and a half in February 1938. That experience was probably the strongest of his life and to his five children indirectly marked us: “Papa (not papá), tell us things about the war”. I was of the moderns, for many companions then formally treated their parents, calling them padre (father) or madre (mother). To the one who said “papa”, we looked at him badly, as if he were a posh. [3]

 

My town was —and it is— in National II road, 200 km from Madrid and 130 km from Zaragoza, which by then they were many kilometers. It is called Cetina and here Quevedo married, author of those famous verses:

 

“Antes para mi entierro venga el cura

que para desposarme; antes me velen

por vecino a la muerte y sepultura”. [4]

 

My town has a lot of history, like all the towns: “Those of Cetina did not win for scares” —pointed the old Espasa talking about the border between the troops of Castile and Aragon. Also it is route of the Cid, who camped with more than 600 men between Ariza and Cetina:

 

“Entre Fariza e Çetina myo Cid yva albergar,

Grandes son las ganançias que priso por la tierra do va”. [5]

 

In the 50s and 60s, some Sundays, the children went to the road junction (km 200 today) to watch cars pass, one every ten or fifteen minutes. We made bets to see who hit the color of the next car. Through this junction Franco sometimes passed, on the way to Zaragoza and Barcelona. A couple of hours before, many motorists passed, as we called the civil highway guard. We never saw Franco, nor did we know what car he was going to (or if he was), but we were excited.

 

 

[1] After the Spanish Civil War (1939) and the World War II (1945), the news in Spain they are called “el parte” (the part) for many years, as if they were still “parts of war” —Footnote for the English edition.

 

[2] The popular name of Radio España Independiente was La Pirenaica. The mere fact of daring to tune it was already a gesture of opposition to the Franco regime. Created by the Communist Party of Spain, it began broadcasting from Moscow in 1941. The advertising nickname “Pyrenean station” intended to give the Spaniards a sense of closeness. Since 1955, it issued from Bucharest (Romania). There were Allocutions of Dolores Ibárruri, Santiago Carrillo or Gregorio López Raimundo. And also, interviews with diverse figures, like Rafael Alberti or Joan Manuel Serrat. And not Spanish, like Angela Davis or Mikis Teodororakis. Its last program was from Madrid, an authentic historical document, retransmitting the first session of the Cortes that would elaborate the Constitution of 1978. In total, 108,000 daily broadcasts from July 22, 1941 to July 14, 1977. Taken from https://es.vikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_Espa%C%B1a_Independiente —Footnote for the English edition.

 

[3] In the 1950s, many children we used papa or mama (without accent mark). But in finer or urban environments, they used papá or mamá (both mean the current Dad or Mom) —Footnote for the English edition.

 

[4] “It is better for my funeral to come the priest than for my wedding. Better watch me over as a neighbor to death and burial”. Francisco de QUEVEDO: Riesgos del matrimonio en los ruines casados (Risks of marriage in the ruined married). Taken from Joaquín IBÁÑEZ LACRUZ (2008): Quevedo y Cetina. Cetina: Asociación EL BATÁN y Ayuntamiento, pág. 93 (2ª edición).

 

[5] "Between Fariza and Çetina encamped Mio Cid, great are the profits he made for the land where he goes”. Poema del Mío Cid, verses 547-548. Ramon MENÉNDEZ PIDAL Paleographic Edition of the Manuscript of the National Library (Madrid: MEC 1961), straight page 12. It’s cited by Joaquín IBÁÑEZ LACRUZ, born in CETINA (Zaragoza). This author has published interesting works on this population and its surroundings. Among others, Breves Apuntes Históricos y Geográficos de la Villa de Cetina —Brief Historical and Geographical Notes of the Villa of Cetina— (Madrid 1973) or Quevedo y Cetina —Quevedo and Cetina (Cetina 2008). See also Boletín Informativo de la Casa de Cetina en ZaragozaNewsletter of the House of Cetina in Zaragoza: LA CARETA nº 1 (1997), p15 and nº 9 (2000), p3—. See: http://casadecetina.eurofor.net,  www.cetina.es, http://usuarios.efor.es/cetina.  LA CARETA is coordinated, designed and edited by Pedro Jesús MANCEBO, who has been promoting the identity of the people of Cetina for two decades: Pedro J. MANCEBO has become a “cultural soul” of Cetina for the 21st century.

 

1956 may 12, My First Communion

 

 

The first time I saw it snowing

In my early childhood the children liked sugar a lot, and it was expensive too. My mother hid it and told us that those who drink lots of sugar raise worms in the gut. I did not see the relationship between sugar and earthworms, I only knew that I liked chocolate, candies, cakes, sugar in milk... and that everything sweet tasted me of glory. In the early years I was pronouncing afucar instead of azúcar (sugar).

 

One day, as I got up from the bed and looked out the window, I had my first experience of utopia and called my mother anxiously, shouting: ¡afúcar, afúcar! (sugar, sugar!). Surely I intuited: “the miracle is already, since we have no money, it has snowed sugar”. My mother laughed: “No, my son, it's not sugar, it's snow”.

 

Surely I needed a few minutes to process that frustration: the snow was not sugar, but why did they look so much, to deceive? It was the first metaphor of my life, the first archived fraud of utopia. Since then, reality and I we have gotten pretty bad.

 

Otherwise, my childhood until the age of 9 passed without pain or glory. That, yes, I was the eldest of five brothers and that impresses character: “You know, son, you are the oldest and you have more knowledge, take care of your brothers, do not fight scandals or beat, what will the neighbors say?” —I was indoctrinated by my mother before going to the public laundry.

 

I was not a street kid, but integrated and obedient, rather timid. In addition, I was outstanding at school. Every day, before going to school, my mother would review “the lesson”. And when he could, my father controlled me on writing and “accounts”. The teacher was saying in the streets and shops: “What a pity for this boy, he will not be able to continue studying”.

 

I did not understand very well why the Magi brought more gifts to other boys than to me being obedient: “It is that we are poor” —mother's voice that I have in, and against which my incipient logic grunted: “Well go away, Kings of shit!”… Everything was solved when I learned that the Kings were the parents. Finish. Another of my first existential unknowns was clear.

 

Do you want to be an altar boy?

At the age of nine, in the summer of 1957, a seemingly casual and inconsequential fact would determine much of my later life:

—Pedrito, would you like to be an altar boy? —he asked me in the recess of the school Arsenio, the senior seminarian of the town, wearing everything in black.

—I do not know, I'll tell my father —I answered.

 

My father almost never went to church, just fair. But in public relations, my mother almost always decided:

—Well, yes, there is nothing wrong with being an altar boy; thay way he behaves, deal with people, learns to speak through speakers like seminarians... And besides, he gets tips.

—Well, you start and then we'll see —my father conceded without much conviction. My father was a second-time Virgo and my mother, a Leo of impulses.

 

When I was nine years old, I was obedient, nice and well-groomed, which in 1957 it was listed on the stock exchange, because neither I nor almost anyone had running water at home, nor showers nor manners of capital. Without realizing it, I had started a long life march, it was a point of no return.

 

A year later, I was appointed First Servant, and I was responsible for everything prepared before the masses: clothes, candles, lights, loudspeakers, corporal, cruet, chalice, paten, purifiers, cup and hosts, (before consecrating, they actually called “shapes”). Also, there were the three ringtones. Although I was initially shy, I started sending boys sometimes older than me: “you play the second”, “you, clean the railing and the armchairs”... When the seminarians came, the hierarchy was respected, we were at their command. And among themselves, everyone was under the orders of the oldest.

 

When they left in September, the routine returned. But they left us the habit of playing chess and sometimes the priest arrived at the last minute, with things unprepared. And we did not throw the chips, we kept thinking about the next plays while we helped mass with automated answers: Ad Deum qui laetificat iuventutem meam (To the God who rejoices my youth)... It was the first formula. At this point in the casting some candidates for altar servers were already falling. In my house no one knew Latin, of course, but I pronounced well and had a lot of memory.

 

The experience of altar boy, nine to eleven years old, socialized me, expanded my domestic horizon and made me less fearful. I was afraid of the large church in the dark, which I opened and closed frequently alone. Sometimes, on dark mornings, as I went up to play the first one, I carried the heavy keys in my hand in case I had to hit an intruder, for psychological help. Among us, too, the altar boys gave us scares, we had authentic skulls, would turn off the lights if it was night, we would light a candle inside the skull and surprise the beginners.

 

1958 may 19, Dance of Cetina

 

In these years, 1957 to 1959, I saw newborn children and fragments of Buñuel cinema live. According to the ritual of baptism, which was usually celebrated eight days after birth, with the convalescent mother, the priest asked in Latin the father of the child if he believed in God, in Jesus Christ, in the Church and such. The father had to respond in Latin with the word credo (I believe). And when he had learned it, the ritual changed the verb:

 

            —Vis baptizari? (Do you want to be baptized?) —continued the priest.

       —Credo —the baby’s father was already sure.

       —Volo —said the priest, looking into his eyes.

       —How? Bolo? For the child? —the father wondered. [1]

            — No, you must now say volo —we intervened, the altar boys.

            — Ah, well, I'll say that: volo —the father agreed.

 

Over time, the memory of that time has helped me understand previous centuries of our history and other current cultural environments. The concept of the sacred passed through the rite, an indispensable condition to calm the divinity. This led to ridiculous situations, like the following.

 

An old woman came to communion; at that time she was always on her knees. She opened her mouth and received two wafers on her tongue. Neither short nor lazy, she took them out with her fingers and said to Don Jacinto:

            —You gave me two.

            —So, swallow them up! —no friend of liturgical troubles, the priest said to her.

 

And it is that the liturgy considered it a sin to touch the consecrated host with the hands (except priests, of course). Take and eat all of Jesus Christ, penalized by the Vatican, now must be done without hands. The underlying theology is glorious: as in every particle of host God is whole, there is danger that God will be on the ground if we are not careful... In short, that don Jacinto, at the end of the mass, and with the church half full, sends me to the old lady with a cup of holy water and a white purifier:

 

—Don Jacinto told me to wet here and dry your fingers, please.

—Oh, my son, what have I done, what have I done! —she says frightened.

 

Incredible but true. The most curious thing is that don Jacinto had common sense and he was fed up with hypocrisies of the Ecclesiastical Curia. From the conversations I heard him with the seminarians my impression was that he maintained an intimate tension against the Scrupulous Catholics of Canon Law or something like that. He was several years private secretary of the bishop and one day he told him that he had not become a priest to be a bishop's acolyte. So he went away from the Diocesan Curia, to the rural world. But the absurdity and threats of institutions end up eating up to the common sense and energy of people like don Jacinto.

 

In my master as altar boy, I also saw terminally ill people in the Extreme Unction (“receiving the Lord”). “This is worse than the Lord”, was a popular expression to diagnose a dangerous situation. I saw corpses, burials, and strident cries of women. They cried harder when we arrived and when we left. Before leaving, the priest began on his own to sing In paradisum and the altar servers made the signal to lift the box to the church.

 

In the normal burials, the priest went with a book and two altar servers, one with the cross raised and the other with holy water. But there were also “first class burials” and you had to increase the staff as well as lights, candles and velvet cape. We the altar boys, it was always the same: white cassock and short cape with blue sky sash.

 

In spite of the fact that I was getting better and better, from time to time “I got the Indian”. Don Jacinto once sent me with a parcel to the post office, a book or something like. But I, seeing that the opening of the mailbox was smaller than the shipment (strange thing for me), I returned with the package to say that “it does not fit”.

 

—That does not fit, that does not fit... Pedrito, you have some firefighter’s occurrences! — pissed told me don Jacinto, who was sometimes a bad pedagogue. Neither I had ever seen a firefighter nor explained that in those cases the postman's house attached was called, who also had his barbershop there.

 

 

 

[1] The word bolo (with b) has in Spanish more than 20 meanings collected by the RAE (Royal Spanish Academy). One of them is “ignorant man or of little utility” —Footnote for the English edition.

 

 

We will send you to the Seminary

I was nine and a half years old. One day a week, from school, the teachers took us to church, to the Catechism. Once, don Jacinto, as if playing, asked about 40 boys sitting on the benches that “who would want to go to study outside Cetina”. And I, not knowing why, raised my hand:

—“We will send you to the seminary” —he said loudly, in front of everyone.

I told it at home and that's the thing. My parents laughed and reminded me just in case:

“We do not have money for that, we are poor”.

 

In September of 1959, with almost eleven years, I entered the Seminary of Tarazona (Zaragoza). Programmer and the promoter was don Jacinto, of course. Although I said that sometimes he was a bad pedagogue, he was interested in culture, he read the newspaper every day, he was hardworking, intelligent, austere, son of a widow, originally from Madrid and with a vision for the future. He was never money-grubbing or mean.

 

When applied historians and sociologists try to understand why religions have had so much influence, there is not much to be discussed, not only explained by their coercive oppression, their economic or political power. Within their ideological errors and alongside undesirable or degenerate personages, religions have arranged in all the places of people of great human quality, from the lost towns of old people to the forgotten missions of the third world.

 

In this case mine (as in others I know), it was not the town hall, the party, the titular doctor of the town, or other living forces, not even the village teachers, who solved my economic insolvency. It was precisely the priest of the town who managed to make me, who was outstanding at school, to continue studying.

 

A family from Zaragoza, closely related to Cetina, took care of my expenses in the Seminary. The role of Maria Caballero, single, fervent Christian and teacher at Institute of Higher Education, was determinant in this decision. And why would I go to a Seminary but not an Institute? Because both Jacinto Alcoitia and María Caballero believed that being a priest was “the most dignified”. And the one who pays, rules.

 

My mother had no opinion, only saw advantages. For now, I could leave the village and study, here I had no future. But my father did not like having a priest son:

 

—Well, you're going to study now. But priest, no. The priests are always in trouble, they call them at any hour of the day or night, have to say mass every day for three or four sanctimonious women... Priest, no. Of course, but there's plenty left for that. You now learn and study what you are told. And when you grow up, you can go out, like almost everyone. Look at the Duce, which came out a few months before being priest...

 

The Duce was not a relative of Mussolini, but a well-known family name in Cetina, more still by this major seminarian who came out being already a deacon, “even gave communion, no less”. For 13 years later, I had to hear phrases like this: “You will do like the Duce, will not you?”

 

Journey to Infinity

It was night, a dark dawn, autumn had just begun. The train to Calatayud was about six-fifteen in the morning. My mother said goodbye to me in the corner of my alley and sobbed in silence, I almost cried myself too. I, the eldest son, had not yet reached age 11. From this moment, all my birthdays would be out of my family. My father shortened the farewell with something like: “come, come, we do not arrive”.

 

I did not go alone, we were eight seminarians of the village; the elders protected us and kept our money, as I would later with smaller ones. We each carried a trunk and a suitcase. Tarazona was far away and the Moncayo in the middle. My nomadic identity was inaugurated. There were no cars or automatic telephones. If I wanted to telephone my parents, I had to talk to the switchboard in my town and decide the time they could tell them, to call them again. Overall, it was not practical.

 

Graham Bell patented the invention of the telephone in 1876, taking advantage of his position in the Western Union Telegrapf Company, although its true inventor was the Italian Antonio Meucci, whose finding was already published in 1860 by an Italian newspaper in New York. In June 2002, the US Congress apologized and acknowledged the authorship of Antonio Meucci. [1] In my town, the invention did not take away the dream. A century later,  no one had an automatic telephone.

 

My mother came crying home to take care of the dream of my little brothers, a girl of nine months included. Until another nine months, we would not see each other again. We did not come home for the whole course, not for Christmas or Easter. And so it happened, from my 11 to 15 years: that was a boarding school, really. Only on Christmas day did one of the family come to see us, the father or the mother. They made a pilgrimage by train: Cetina-Casetas, Casetas-Tudela and Tudela-Tarazona. With his travel bag and a package with food for the son, of course!

 

In the big seminary church, I remember a miracle taste as we watched our parents pass before we could hug. And we sang loudly: “Come, shepherds, come, let us go to Bethlehem, to see in that Child the glory of Eden. His little mouth I love; His little eyes, too. The mother caresses him, the father looks at him, and the two entranced ones contemplate that Being”… After the mass and the hugs, the official reception came to the families. Every year the parents complained to the Rector, it was the moment of the Cold War:

 

—It is not Christmas here or there, and the family is broken —the parents protested.

—You are right, but it is the Bishop's decision. In any case —the Rector comforted them— you see that your children have fun here, they do theater, play activities, sports, they spend less money on trips and they do not have classes, they are also on vacation.

 

In other places, the seminarians went out at Christmas and Easter to be with their families. But this Ordinary of the place that touched me (the bishop) did not think the same. In addition, during a month of the three of summer, we were also protected by the bishop, who built us a hostel in Vinuesa (Soria) and there "we approached God and nature, instead of contaminating us with the vulgar summers of people”. So, from 1959 to 1963, the passage from my childhood to my adolescence, I lived it outside my family of origin: “He who loves his father or his mother more than me is not worthy of me”, we they repeated, remembering Jesus of Nazareth. [2]

 

Since childhood, therefore, it has been relatively easy for me to understand the sacrifice of many saints, martyrs, crusaders, guerrillas, heroes, conquerors, inventors, discoverers and those who struggle without cease for a transcendental cause to their individual existence: “Whoever wants to come with me let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me”. [3]

 

The repetition (without analysis) of a watchword, a short phrase, a slogan or an order is a very old practice, but some have elevated it to the category of theory. For example, Goebbels (1897-1945), the Nazi propaganda minister, said that “any lie can become true if it is repeated a thousand times”. It seems that Goebbels ended up committing suicide after poisoning his wife and their seven children. I do not know if at that moment he felt proud of his lies.

 

 

Few are the chosen ones

Recently, the Spanish word seminario [1]  has come to mean, almost always, a working group or department on a specific topic. In 1959, the dominant sociological meaning, collected today in the official RAE dictionary, was the one we use here: "House designed for the education of young people who are dedicated to the ecclesiastical state". Seminary (seminario) means seedbed, from the Latin seminarium, derived from semen or seed.

 

The word seminarium was officially used for the first time in the Council of Trent (1545-1563). Not so the concept, which is much earlier. As early as 531, the Second Council of Toledo decreed that aspirants to the priesthood should be instructed by a superior in a house of the Church. And the Fourth Council of Toledo (533) recommended that the formation of aspirants to the priesthood begin in the adolescent years. The cathedral schools arose, among them the school of the Basilica of the Lateran in Rome, from which came many bishops and popes of the Middle Age.

 

The Council of Trent established for all dioceses the obligation to erect a seminary for the formation of their priests. The decree approved in July of 1556 (Session XXIII), became the authentic Magna Carta of the seminaries. Candidates to enter the seminary should be legitimate children of canonically constituted marriage and be at least twelve years of age. [2] They should have a minimum of intellectual training, and a sincere desire to dedicate their lifes to the service of the church.

 

The document makes special reference to the children of the poor, not excluding children from the rich, as long as they cover the costs of their studies. The seminary would be under the direct administration of the bishop. [3]  With the pospect of four centuries later, we can say that this decree of Trent is among the most successful.

 

According to the 2006 Pontifical Yearbook, the Catholic Church had 113,044 senior seminarians. In the major seminary philosophy and theology are studied. It is after the minor seminary, where the children and adolescents are. This segregating mentality has enabled the Catholic Church in 2006 to have 405,891 priests in the world. Two out of three (66%) were diocesan, not belonging to a religious order.

 

In addition, there were 32,324 permanent deacons, about 50,000 religious non-priests and 770,000 religious women (contemplatives, almost 50,000 of them). Also, almost 29,000 members of secular institutes (almost all women), about 175,000 lay missionaries and 2,850,000 catechists. And all this “army” with four and a half million people, ruled in theory by 4,742 bishops.

 

According to the 2010 Pontifical Yearbook, presented to the Pope on February 20, 2010, the baptized rose to 1,166 million (2008 data). There are 5,002 bishops, 409,166 priests and 739,067 nuns. In 2008, there are 117,024 candidates for the priesthood. [4]

 

According to the 2017 Pontifical Yearbook (2015 data) presented on 2017 April 06, the basic coordinates remain similar. [5] The number of baptized Catholics is 1,285 million in 2015, with a relative increase of 1%. This is equivalent to 17.7% of the total planetary population. Brazil occupies the first place (with 172.2 million). It's followed by Mexico (110.9 million), Philippines (83.6 million), USA (72.3), France (48.3), Colombia (45.3), Spain ( 43.3), Democratic Republic of Congo (43.2) and Argentina (40.8). The statistics for 2015 also indicate that the total number of clerics in the world amounts to 466,215, with 5,304 bishops, 415,656 priests and 45,255 permanent deacons. The religious professed women surpased in 61% the number of priests. Globally, they are 670,320 in 2015.

 

This staff, including over one million single “liberated” (celibate), makes possible so many innumerable projects. According to the FIDES Agency, [6]  in October 2009, in Education, the Catholic Church administered: 67,264 Children's schools with 6,386,497 students; 91,694 Primary schools with 29,800,338 students; 41,210 Secondary schools with 16,778,633 students. It also attended 1,894,148 students from Higher Schools and another 2,847,370 students from the University.

 

In Health, it administered 5,378 hospitals, 18,088 dispensaries, 521 leprosy centers, 15,448 residences for the elderly and handicapped, 9,376 orphanages, 11,555 kindergartens, 13,599 matrimonial offices, 33,146 re-education centers and 10,356 other centers with different objectives.

 

The River mouth is that 17.4% of the world's population is baptized by the Catholic Church, 1,166 million people among the 6,700 million in the world. All this religious ocean would not be possible without an educational philosophy that began by channeling the original springs through the conciliar seminary.

 

In my 1959 Minor Seminary of Tarazona (Zaragoza), there were about 200 students, in six different courses or levels of Humanities, grouped into two communities with different regulations: Latinos and Rhetoricians. The rhetoricians, 4th, 5th and 6th, were serious and in dark gray robes. The Latinos, 1st, 2nd and 3rd, were more unconscious and with more cheerful robes, striped of blue sky. It is a lack of discipline to speak or relate to a partner of the other community: even if he is your biological brother, you have to ask permission from the superiors.

 

To situate ourselves in 1959, let us recall some news of that year. The revolution of Castro in Cuba, Alaska and Hawaii are declared states 49 and 50 of the USA, De Gaulle is elected president of France, John XXIII announces an ecumenical council, Kruschev travels the United States with popularity, the USSR takes photos to the hidden face of the moon and Eisenhower visits Franco.

 

When entering the seminary, one of the first Scripture quotations that they repeated to you is that “many are called, but few are chosen”. And above all, “you did not choose me, it was I who chose you”, Jesus' words to his disciples. [7]  With that, the self-identity of an enlightened prophet, chosen by God to give a message to the world, began. The truth is that they were involuntarily right, because of the 51 first-year students of Latin in 1959-60, only I would become a priest (in 1972). In short, a long march with 13 years of a training (not counting the two of altar boy).

 

The first shocking experience was the spiritual exercises of November, three days in silence, recesses and soccer games included. It was the first contact with the afterlife: “How can I not believe in the afterlife if I live in Móstoles”, joked a Spanish writer many years before the MetroSur line in Madrid... Well here, just the same. Separated from the world and the family, with no more critical resources than divine providence and the spiritual father, the afterlife was chewed and what was needed.

 

In case of doubt, I confessed before going to bed if I did not arrive the next day, because I did not feel like dawning in hell. Bad or unclean thoughts were all a mortal sin, and if you die at that moment, you know, more would have been worth a confession in time. Besides, I ruminated and worried a lot, and an unfortunate thought anyone has...

 

Moreover, environmental austerity did not invite la dolce vita either. We had no heating and I remember that, in winter, I put on two pairs of socks. Even so, many of us had chilblains on our feet. I thought that would be normal and it never occurred to me to complain. Moreover, the people who complained about everything did not serve to conquer the world, because the sacrifice was a school of strength. Years later, when there was money, they were heating up priority areas and the fortress school was changing aisle.

 

The truth is that I adapted well. So much, that they made me delegate of course (we started). The technical name was Bedel. And it was to maintain public order when there was no priest in front. You were not voted for your classmates. The superiors chose you dedocráticamente. [8] Everything worked like this then, the method nobody questioned it.

 

There was a course bedel and a community bedel (Delegates). I went through the two “charges”. Each community also had subdelegates, pupils in charge of classroom (“ediles”), male nurses, mailman, sacristans, head of cleaning, sports material managers, table football, table tennis, billiards, table games... And in the majors, they had also librarians, electricians, trade (a small shop), mimeograph copies, organist, protocol of ceremonies, singing director...

 

I was also singing director, as well as male nurse three years, 2nd, 5th and 6th Humanities. We took food to the sick, we controlled the fever, went down to the city of companions in the medical examinations, x-rays or dentist. I also got several injections of penicillin and even some tetanus, always by prescription and in cases of emergency. Most of us liked being in charge of table football or table tennis (the manager played for free and longer), but in those places they used to put those who went wrong in studies, to compensate. I was never in charge of table football or ping-pong, I keep that thorn.

 

 

 

[1] In Spanish, the word seminario is the same for seminar and for seminary —Footnote for the English edition.

 

[2] I entered a few days before my 11th birthday —Footnote for the English edition.

 

[3] Some data are taken from Encyclopedia Universal Multimedia: Micronet S.A. 1995-2002.

 

[4] Pontifical Yearbook 2010 (2008 data): http://catinfor.com/2010/02/22-vaticano-anuario-pontificio

 

[7] Gospel: John 15:16.

 

[8] In Spanish, dedo is finger (by hand). Dedocráticamente means the opposite of democráticamente (democratically) —Footnote for the English edition.

 

 

Holidays: “You go out to the world”

Already at that time, prior to the Second Vatican Council, attentive adults saw international and cultural changes coming, although they did not know very well how or when. Television was just born, and growing economic progress was doing the rest. But most of the post-war population, and of course the institutions, followed still their usual parameters.

 

A month before the holidays, in the one of the “flowers to Mary”, the spiritual father began to put us with it on the serious temptations that lurked to us in that period longed for by all, including himself. “You went out into the world”, was the most repeated expression. Combining how mysterious he was and our desire for spiritual adventure, you wanted to go out to the world at once, as soon as possible.

 

I was very obedient to the instructions and every year I made a vacation schedule. I never did. When I returned in September, the schedule appeared in the trunk and I kept it for the following year.

 

Dangerous friendships were also a repeated and multipurpose concept. The same was true for a friendship with a woman than a friendship between us. As we did not go with girls, it almost always applied to ourselves, not only for possible outbreaks of homosexuality, but to avoid all the bad influences that come from bad companies (that of the rotten apple).

 

1960 July, in Vinuesa (Soria)

 

I have always wondered why a single rotten apple could beat all those in the basket: “Well, if you see what the rotten one is, it's taken away and that's it” —I thought. But there seemed be the problem, in which the rotten apple, speaking of human beings, is no longer an apple nor does it look so easy. Overall, we were careful not to eat rotten apples or let ourselves be influenced by bad people.

 

Arriving in my town of about 2,000 inhabitants in June 1960, what cost me the most was politely answer three women speaking at the same time:

 

            —How's it going over there, are you happy? —the first asked.

            —Did your studies go well? —another said.

            —Did not you miss family and people? —the third completed.

 

The slogan was that “studies, well”, without telling anything or making differences between us seminarians. Of course, “I continue in the Seminary because I want to be a priest”. And everything else, “no problem: we eat well, we have a good time and we want to continue”.

 

My little sister Atocha was already 18 months old, twice as old as when I left her in September. The first few days of summer she was scared of me, I was a stranger at home. I was almost 12 years old when I came home as an emigrant for the first time. With my other two brothers, 10 year old Juan and 8 year old José Mari, we would tell each other some stories or we would quarrel when it was time to do it.

 

In the summer of 1960, all the seminarians wore black: trousers, jackets, socks and shoes. The collection of black socks lasted for several years, until they were consumed, so then they were not thrown away. When the change came in the wake of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), I did not wear black or gray socks until the year 2000, more than 50 years old.

 

From the summer of 1961, and under the influence of the same parish priest, don Jacinto, we would move to gray or dark blue clothes. He told our mothers: “But how bad the boys have done to go all in mourning!”…

 

And on Sundays, after the rosary, if the movie was tolerated for children, don Jacinto gave us money from the tray and told us: “Come, everyone to the cinema”. Don Jacinto had organized cinema in the village on holidays, because “so people would see something”. If the film was bad or the machine jammed up, it was the priest's fault, of course (he must have had enough).

 

When the film it was not tolerated or advised, the seminarians we could spend all afternoon of a Sunday playing the deck. As we did not do the life of the boys and girls of the town in the dance or in the bars, we had to invent an alternative fun, cycling or walking, soccer games, to hear music disks, to play parcheesian, game of the goose, chess or deck. Since then, I do not like board games.

 

 

3. Youth

                                 Years 1966 to 1972

 

 

Year 1966, news

SPAIN, January 17: Four thermonuclear bombs from a US B-52 crash near Palomares. Fraga was in swimsuit.

COLOMBIA, February 5: The guerrilla priest Camilo Torres dies in combat against the Army.

VATICAN; April 9: The Index of Prohibited Books, created in 1559, has been annulled.

SPAIN, May 11: Dozens of Barcelona priests with cassocks are dissolved by police at a demonstration.

CONGO, June 2: Four ministers are hanged in Léopoldville before 200,000 people.

SPAIN, December 14: 90% of Spaniards vote in the referendum on the Organic Law of the State.

_________________________________________________________

 

Having problems and trying to solve them

My notebook Experiences and Thoughts, as I titled it then, I inaugurated it with this phrase: “What most resembles God is pure love in forgiveness and mercy with our neighbors. Deus charitas est, says Saint John the Evangelist. He did not say: God is sapientia, omnipotentia..., but love. Lord, you who are the Way, the Truth and the Life, teach us true love”. March 30, 1966.

 

1966 Oct 24, Standing, third on the right

 

As it turns out, I wanted to look like God: “Be perfect as my heavenly father is perfect”, Jesus had said. [1] And that was enough to keep on top of me. Then, at age 17, I believed I could interpret God. I assumed he existed and we could know something about him. We always spoke of God in masculine and singular. It seemed to us something like a spirit or intelligent energy that knew us one by one and suggested a personal destiny.

 

In the following year 1966-67, with 18 years in September, I became more extroverted, without renouncing the Christian fundamentalism in which we had been educated. At night, in my room, I wrote the vital acquisitions I was discovering. It was not a diary, I was only writing something when I had a strong experience or I thought I had found some intuition for me evident. One of these I wrote thus: “A man's life consists of having problems and trying to solve them”. October 8, 1966.

 

 

 

[1] Matthew 5:48.

 

 

Year 1967, news

SPAIN, March 1: Marcelino Camacho, of Comisiones Obreras (CC.OO.), enters prison.

ISRAEL, June 10: The six-day war ends.

CHINA, June 17: Government announces the explosion of its first atomic bomb.

UNITED STATES, June 25: Cassius Clay is sentenced to five years imprisonment by conscientious objector.

BOLIVIA, October 9: Ernesto Che Guevara, murdered. There is strong international impression.

SOUTH AFRICA, December 3: Dr. Barnard performs the first heart transplant.

 

Between God and me, there are no intermediaries

In these years I was affirming my basic personality. For example, knowing how to “forgive” was one of the hallmarks of the Christians —I wanted to be a Christian—, but soon I saw that it was very difficult: “To forgive an offense is greater than creating heaven and earth”. April 20, 1967.

 

A few days before the beginning of the course 1967-68, I went with another seminarian companion by the Placeta del Olmo, in Cetina, when we heard a man who shouted “shit on God!” We turned to him and we said something like this:

—God is my father and you’re insulting me.

—But to you, who gave you a candle at this funeral? —the man said. [1]

—And if it's bad for you to say so, we'll call the Civil Guard...

—Go away, get out of here —he threatened us with raised hand.

 

We left, of course, and did not even think about going to the Civil Guard. But we felt bound to a certain “prophetic” testimony. The funny thing is that this street was our obligatory step to go to church. So we continued passing by saying to the gentleman “good afternoon” every day, to see that we did not hold him in a grudge. But I kept thinking about that tense sequence days later, until I wrote in my notebook: “Between God and me there are no intermediaries”. September 28, 1967.

 

 

From then on, I acted with the same force and individual commitment in similar situations, both in a train with soldiers and with people in the street. I do not know how I have not ever broken my face, it could have happened. In the square of the Virgen Blanca of Vitoria, in 1969, I faced myself alone with a group of young people older than me, because they spoke loud and some said "me cagüen dios" (shit on god). I felt like a spiritual guerrilla, I understand the fundamentalists very well. Those in the Vitoria group [2]  showed more sense than I did and nothing happened. But here is an anecdote. One of them recognized me in a public (and cheap) dinning room where we were at noon workers and students:

 

—Man, are not you the one who caught our attention the other day?

—Ah, did you go there? Yes, it's me —I answered, for all intents and purposes.

—Well, I did not think it was wrong, hey, what you did. You even liked me.

 

This young man of about 28 or 30 years of age told me that he had left “the grays” (los grises, the armed police of Franco) because they were kept as wild animals against any demonstration, they received a drink (drug) before getting off the bus, to leave without self-control, beating with the truncheons everyone who passed by; and that this form of work was not for him, that he did not want to be a beast.

 

From 1967 I have other discoveries as well. I had a strong desire to know the keys of human life, the synthesis of destiny: “Every failure teaches something we needed to learn”.  [3]  October 13, 1967.

 

I also realized that any couple project (with children or without children) narrowed me as a personal life horizon. This perception, coupled with the illusion that God supposed in my life, made me hopelessly utopian, compulsive adventurer: “A human is little thing for another human”. October 27, 1967.

 

On the other hand, I recognized that I could not live without love and that I should put order in my life, instead of anxiety or improvisation. Order as a method was more rewarding, “cheaper”, and protected me from my unbalanced moments:

 

  • “Life without love is meaningless”. December 5, 1967.

 

  • “Keep order and order will keep you”. [4] December 12, 1967.

 

I wanted to find a sense of pain and absurdity. So I began to configure my particular teleology, very much in line with providentialism:

 

  • “No suffering is useless”. [5] December 12, 1967.

 

  • “Every human has a historical mission”. December 19, 1967.

 

 

[1] Expression idiom, equivalent to: “who died and left you in charge?” —Footnote for the English edition.

 

[2] Vitoria is today the capital of the Basque Country (Spain), also called Gasteiz —Footnote for the English edition.

 

[3] Charles Dickens (1812-1870).

 

[4] “Serva ordinem et ordo servabit te”  (St. Augustine of Tagaste, 354-430).

 

[5] Michel de Saint-Pierre (1916-1987): The new aristocrats. It’s filmed in 1961 by Francis Rigaud.

 

 

Year 1968, news

UNITED STATES, February 26: US withdraw atomic bombs from the air. Since 1950, there have been 32 accidents with the pump on the side.

UNITED STATES, April 4: Martin Luther King is assassinated.

SPAIN, April 6: Massiel wins the Eurovision Song Festival.

FRANCE, May 29: “Nothing will ever be as before”, said Cohn Bendit. De Gaulle, in private: “The country is paralyzed, I think I must withdraw”.

UNITED STATES, June 6: Robert Kennedy is assassinated.

SPAIN, June 7: ETA kills publicly for the first time. The civil guard José Pardines Azcay receives two shots in Villabona (San Sebastián).

SPAIN, August 16: The bishopric of Bilbao is occupied by 40 priests, in protest of the repeated detention of ecclesiastics.

CZECHOSLOVAKIA, 20 August: Soviet tanks, with 600,000 Warsaw Pact soldiers, have invaded Prague tonight. The Czech Communist Party has organized a congress in hiding.

MEXICO, October 2: Ten days before the Olympics, the army opened fire on a demonstration from all four sides of the Plaza de las Tres Culturas. Dozens of dead and hundreds of wounded. Since last August, there were already 32 others shot dead.

HOLLAND, November 30: The Vatican disavows the so-called Dutch Catechism.

_________________________________________________________

 

We have to put more eggs

The repeated experience, both of impotence and of one's mistakes, was reflected in the following acquisition: “One of human's fundamental tasks is to become perfect enough to accept his imperfection”. February 16, 1968.

 

One day I did a “diary”. We went from Tarazona to Zaragoza, round trip on the same day. It was a simple rugby match, but his circumstances made it “memorable”. I quote some fragments:

_______________________________________________________________________________

 

Most of us did not know if it was a friendly match or what. Well, that did not matter. At 15:15, we were already in the University City. They have organized very well the publicity of their injured, so that we saw them well before the meeting: one lame, another plastered, another with a broken nose... Already on the field of play, we asked the referee, French him, what we came up with about the game. For example, I said, “Hey, umpire, how do we start?” He never laughed at our children's questions. What I do not understand is why, being a rugby referee, he was so scraggy; our opponents told him “El Chichas” (that his body has no flesh).

 

Most of ours asked the referee “how much time is left”. And I remembered the initial negotiation, to reduce the game to two times of only 30 minutes: “When you take ten minutes playing, you will not want it to end!” shouted one of the blues. In the middle of the second half, the coach of the blues (we had not anyone) entered the field. Solemn and pompous, although briefly, he came to tell us: “the tackle, to the legs”.

 

—It is not that, they have... fear —the Chichas corrected him, finding the word with effort.

—Exactly! —I supported him out loud.

—And again, do not put us with people who have been playing for four years —added one of ours.

—Yes, you're right, but there are no other younger teams —acknowledged their coach.

 

The desired moment arrived: the end of the game. One could still get lame on the trip, but he would no longer be playing rugby. After clashed our hands, they formed two rows, making us a forced walk and applauding strong. Well, although with that superiority anyone applauds, we liked that and even humbled us, because we received too much applause for our ridiculous and disproportionate performance.

 

I, the only thing I did was to throw to the ground once the very fast and barefoot Peruvian, but for my own sake, not caring about the ball. They put us all the tries they wanted, 60 or 70, we still do not know. The fact is that, during the forced walk, one of them was in charge of repeating us this phrase that made me think: “You have to put more eggs at the thing, kids!”

 

After the game, we went to the crash cars and they seemed to us of toy (the cars and the blows); we all agreed: “These cars are bullshit, they should be bigger!” Back, more than tired, we were all pensive, in solid silence, making a heavy mental digestion. After an hour of travel, Jesus-Vicente asked me:

—Mendoza, were those also Second Regional?

—I do not know, they said it was the only rugby team they have.

 

It's the only thing we've talked about in two hours. In short, we already know what a rugby field is. I have learned a lot. Above all, we must put more eggs into LIFE. In two weeks, they say we're going again”. April 22, 1968.

______________________________________________________________

 

Life continued and my head, too. I began to understand that interpretations held as religious or political truths, historical or cultural, were falling apart one by one. On the one hand, a Catholic ecumenical council with ideological novelties; and on the other, a growing distrust of the Franco regime. In August 1968, I spent almost a month in France, with the status of “seminarian”, of course. And although it was only a sporadic work in Lourdes and some simple visit to Tarbes or surroundings, our antennas were capturing information difficult to reconcile with our Spain of that time.

 

On the way back, at the customs office in Irún, I carried two complete Paris-Match numbers in the travel bag, filled with photos of the French May, cobblestones against policemen and other pearls of the moment. The Civil Guard made us get everything out to verify that we did not carry “pornographic propaganda”. As it was not our case, they did not tell us anything about the revolutionary photos nor did they requisition them. I did not understand anything, but enough to begin to rethink almost all the current national “dogmas”. This process I started it years before, but I clarified it from 1968:

  • “Truth is not acquired once and forever. It is conquered day by day”. April 24, 1968.

 

  • “There is always more that is not known. There's always more that we have to do”. April 26, 1968.

 

At times, our own ideological uncertainty and excessive youthful zeal made us commit imprudence, because at the age of twenty we were already speaking in public in churches, meetings, cinemas, conferences... In addition, we began to be a social reference and to be controlled by the dominant groups, religious and political, who intuit a certain type of renewal not controlled by them. From this tension is this phrase:

 

  • “If you lose your head, you lose everything”. June 4, 1968.

 

The course 1968-69 was the last one within the seminary. Two years before, we had already left the cassock forever, but the internal ideological process continued. It is true that the habit does not make the monk. Meanwhile, I continued my own reflection on the country where I was born:

 

  • “Olympic Games. My generation is not guilty of having received a poor country. Today is the day of the third world”. October 20, 1968.

 

From this moment, I was configuring internally a democratic model. It was still ten years before the first Spanish Constitution was drafted (1978). At the same time, I began to conceive of a God that was not “a pocket God”; and a kind of truth that was not absolute or exclusive. Relativism and tolerance appeared over our personality, not just mine, but that of many Spaniards:

 

  • “Everyone has the same right to be as he is”. December 15, 1968.

 

 

Year 1969, news

CZECHOSLOVAKIA, January 16: Young student Jan Palach sprays himself with gasoline and burns in Prague in protest of the Soviet invasion.

SPAIN, January 17: The Ministry of Interior has publicly acknowledged the letter of 1,500 Spanish intellectuals, who demand information about the police practice of torture.

SPAIN, January 24: State of emergency throughout Spain.

EGYPT, February 3: Yasser Arafat, Supreme Leader of the PLO.

UNITED KINGDOM, April 17: Bernadette Devlin, 22, is elected to the British Parliament by Northern Ireland.

FRANCE, April 28: De Gaulle resigns. He has lost the referendum.

UNITED STATES, July 21 (20 in USA): The first human being comes to the moon in the quivering eyes of 500 million viewers. Bertrand Russell commented: “The scope of human stupidity has been expanded”. Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin step on the moon. Michael Collins is waiting for them at Apollo XI.

SPAIN, July 22: Franco appointed successor to Prince Juan Carlos in the Cortes: 491 affirmative votes, 19 negative and 9 abstentions.

UNITED KINGDOM, 12 October: For the first time, the English army fired on demonstrators in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

SPAIN, October 29: New Government. Eleven of the 19 ministers, are sympathizers or belong to Opus Dei.

 

Every occasion is final

From this moment, 20 years of age, I believe I assumed the transience of life and value to seize the time. This perception of time as a scarce good has accompanied me already all my life:

 

  • “What you do not learn today, you may never know”. February 6, 1969.

 

Other sociological and psychological experiences taught me maxims that I formulated like this:

 

  • “At bottom, every boss is a dictator”. March 3, 1969.

 

  • “All defects are serious”. April 12, 1969.

 

  • “Every human has a weak spot”. May 9, 1969.

 

1969 January:  Paco and Pedro, 20 years old

 

As can be seen from this evolution with written constancy, an ideological tension continued in our peer relationships:

 

 

  • “Today less than ever, it is childish, anachronistic, inaccurate and unfair, reducing tensions to the right and left, conservative and progressive. Thus the truth is not built”. May 28, 1969.

 

Also at the end of the course, we learned significant information of our own internal situation, after a personalized survey and directed by our “formators”, a post-conciliar word that replaced “superiors”. Among the 50 students of the Major Seminary of Tarazona, who were aspiring to priests in theory, only ten were sure that we WANTED to be priests (20%). Another 22 were IN DOUBT (44%). And another 18 were sure that they did NOT WANT (36%).

 

The news blew up many of us as a bomb: what did we do in a seminary so large? It was then difficult for me to understand that there were so many comrades dragged by inertia and incoherence. In June 1969, the Major Seminary was closed. The vocationates would go to Vitoria. The doubtful ones would go to Zaragoza, and the others, to their house. Only one among the doubtful would join Vitoria, of whose group we arrived almost all to priests. Day by day, we became more aware of having lost forever the unique, armored and tranquilizing thought:

 

  • “Uniformity was easier”. May 29, 1969.

 

  • “Every occasion is final”. June 25, 1969.

 

I do not remember well, but this last reflection referred to some moment of social relations. Something like this: “you own your silence, but not your word emitted”. I interpreted the lesson as a postulate that would serve me for the rest of my life: occasions do not repeat themselves identical”, never with the same context. That is why we must take good advantage of them.

 

I also had some moment of reflection at the end of the vacation. In the first quarter of this year 1969, Spain had a state of exception. Later it continued in the Basque Country. In September 1969, I would make age 21, which was the year of the “quintos”, [1]  the legal age of being measured and entering the army. The seminarians did not do military service, but I did not have them all with me, the national situation was getting worse politically and nobody knew if we could avoid another civil war. In this context, this phrase meant a kind of intimate pacifist manifesto:

 

  • “Wars, for the illiterate and the insane”. September 22, 1969.

 

Parallel to my inner world, my rural alley and my proletarian origin coexisted. I have never been ashamed of them and they have always been to me as a saving anchor in front of my “bourgeois” education of high flights, as a vaccine against sterile idealisms. Thanks to my poor socioeconomic origin, I inoculated myself against alienating spiritualisms and ideologies.

 

 

Curiously, and not even out of self-love to compensate for my situation of origin, it never crossed my mind to dedicate to making money or climbing socially. Perhaps it is not meritorious of me. Simply, and despite difficult times, I had health, energy and enough money to survive with my values. “If you had assumed that it was not evil to flatter the king, you would not have to eat lentils” —to which Diogenes replied— “If you had assumed that it was not bad to eat lentils, you would not have to flatter the king”. [2]

But phrases like this look good as an anecdote; however, real life is hard, contradictory and dialectical. My economic evolution always had moments to remind me that my family and I were poor. From a moment like this is my intimate historical materialism that Lope de Vega synthesized in verse and that I remembered once more when leaving Cetina:

 

  • “El dinero en el mundo, si no es lo primero, es lo segundo”. [3] September 29, 1969.

 

Anyway, I was still “providentialist”, which can become a form of fatalism. So, at least, I have it written in the fall of 1969:

 

  • “Everything that happens is convenient”. November 5, 1969.

 

But, as we have been emphasizing, the historical and personal moment forced us to have a clear identity. We were beginning a new stage in a new city (Vitoria), in a new study center, with a new internal and external situation.

 

The ideological body we had received until 1969 —religious, cultural and political— crumbled for us at times. We were not frightened at the changes, we even promoted them; we were happy with each new philosophical, political or theological acquisition, but what was happening to us was not a game, it was more than a private adventure.

 

We felt deeply in solidarity with the times we had to live and we should see clear about our roots, our rhythms and our goals:

 

  • “You will be a man if you keep your head in peace when everything at your side is lost head... If you return to the beginning of your lost work, even if this work is that of your whole life”. [4]  November 6, 1969.

 

 

 

[1] Quinto means “fifth”. Juan II of Castile (1406-1454) imposed the obligation of military service for one of every five men. Felipe V resumed this provision in 1705. The compulsory military service was suppressed in Spain from January 1, 2002.

https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quintos —Footnote for the English edition.

 

 

[2] Many such sentences are attributed to Diogenes of Sinope, the Cynic (413-323 BC).

 

[3] “Money in the world, if not the first, is the second”. September 29, 1969 —Footnote for the English edition.

 

[4] It’s a phrase of Baden-Powell (London 1857—Kenya 1941). He founded the Boy Scouts (explorers) in 1902.

 

 

Year 1970, news

NIGERIA, January 12: Surrender of Biafra without conditions. They have lost two million people in the war.

SPAIN, January 24: Asturias has more than 30,000 miners on strike.

UNITED KINGDOM, February 2: Bertrand Russell, at age 97, has died.

FRANCE, May 20: Roger Garaudy is expelled from the French Communist Party. He openly criticized the invasion of Czechoslovakia.

FRANCE, May 26: Helder Cámara denounces in Paris the excesses and torture of the Brazilian military dictatorship.

PERU, May 31: About 50,000 people killed by an earthquake.

CZECHOSLOVAKIA, June 26: Alexander Dubcek is expelled from the Czech Communist Party.

UNITED STATES, September 15: The 350,000 General Motors workers go on strike.

FEDERAL GERMANY, December 7: Chancellor Willy Brandt kneels in Warsaw. The ostpolitik, followed with attention in the world.

SPAIN, December 30: Franco pardons the six people sentenced to death in the Burgos trial. There is general relief for the moment.

 

If we have to invent, we will invent

The 70's are going to be very intense for me. My awareness that I can and I must influence future society, it grows every day. That is why any learning is vital to make the smallest possible mistakes:

 

  • “When talking does not solve anything, it is best to be silent”. February 22, 1970.

 

  • “When you go in time, do not invent new paths”. February 22, 1970.

 

One of the postulates that is gaining ground among us is that nobody has the whole truth, a principle that our educator Raúl  [1] repeated as follows:

 

  • “The truth is divided into the whole”. March 2, 1970

 

Another of the experiences that I have written at the time is:

 

  • “I'm happy”. March 15, 1970.

 

My previous written feeling implies that I already had a certain mental unity or that my basic vocational and emotional needs were solved at the moment. This is undoubtedly one of my times of fullness. After this moment, I have never written the expression “I am happy”. But the search for the foundations, with which I was building my future, did not stop for a moment:

 

  • “God is not crystallizable”. March 20, 1970.

 

  • “The art of living is clear: getting used to starting over”. April 22, 1970.

 

  • “We have lost positions: now we are fighting body to body”. April 30, 1970.

 

Among so many commitments to the future, there were also funny moments, since we were young. Moments not less transcendent:

 

  • “The Kokett. A hard day’s night!”” May 9-10, 1970.

 

 

 

Pajares played that night at the Kokett nightclub, but it was not the famous comedian who generated this anecdote. We were half a dozen companions studying at sunset on our second floor on Tomás de Zumárraga Street. Studying in a group in one room has these things. Alfredo liked to make bets:

 

—I paid the entrance of tonight in the Kokett to Florián if he goes as a couple with Celia —a lame girl, known to us all. And Alfredo adds:

—And I pay the same to any of you who will go accompanied with a girl as couple.

 

I do not know what would motivate Alfredo in that challenge. The fact is that I immediately accepted the challenge:

 

—Are you serious? And you pay the two tickets, mine and the girl?

—Yes, yes, of course —he said without hesitation.

—Well, prepare the money —and I got up like a spring to look for a girl.

 

We knew very few girls, because we only had in Vitoria half a year. They all knew that we were seminarians and it was also a weekend, all too impromptu and bizarre. I walked to the area where we used to go at noon, the dining room of Los Desamparados. A nun who already knew us gave me the address of some girls nearby who also knew us.

 

I went to several addresses, I spoke from below, by the portal phone, but they all had plans: either they went with the boyfriend, or their parents left leaving to take care of their little brothers, or any other urgency. Total, I understood my imprudence in that bet wich I was close to lose. Burning a last cartridge, I went back to the dining room and talked to the friend nun. Seeing me so defeated, she said to me: “Here (in residence) there is only Esther, but I do not know if she will, I will tell her”. Esther, who was not from Vitoria, came out and said:

—But I have nothing to wear to the Kokett.

—Why not? You look great like this. I'm not wearing a label either.

 

And Esther came with me, whom I will always be grateful for. I had been honest with her, as with the other girls: “It's just a bet with Alfredo, we'll be in the Kokett and at the end I will accompany you here”. But the story had only just begun. As the Kokett was near our street Tomás de Zumárraga and the session began around 11 pm, Esther and I, making time, went up to our seminarians floor. In the kitchen was our educator Raúl in blue overalls making dinner for everyone, because it was his turn to cook that week. It was Alfredo's turn, too, but he had vanished and nobody knew where he was. Alfredo and Raul hated the kitchen, which we shared in pairs:

 

—Hi, Raúl, look, this girl's name is Esther and we're going to the Kokett together tonight. Florian also goes with Celia. Well, you've been told, right?

—No one has told me anything. And Alfredo, I do not know where he is —said Raúl.

—Well, we'll tell you about it more slowly tomorrow.

 

Raúl then behaved calmly. But his anger grew later. Esther and I left to meet us, with Celia, Florián and Alfredo, at the bar agreed:

 

 

—Well, Alfredo, since you give us the tickets, pay us before this drink, you're not going to look bad tonight —I went ahead to tell him and he nodded; the truth is that he almost always had more money than most of us, and the novelty of the situation slowed him down the effort.

—Man, Alfredo will not look bad tonight —supported Florian.

 

We took a table at the Kokett, they served us a drink and we started talking. The atmosphere was warm in every way. In addition, Pajares did not act until one and a half in the morning. Alfredo continued trying the initiative:

 

—Well, I'd go dancing. Being here and not going down to dance is ridiculous.

—I'm cheering myself, too —Esther agreed.

—I'm not going to dance —I said—. You, if you want, come down. And you, Esther, you can dance with whoever you want in the room, this is not with you, it's our problem. After our last meeting, well there's the general view!

 

The previous week, in community meeting, Raúl had prescribed us that we should not dance in discos (some of the group had already tried and counted). In popular festivals, with friends or in brass bands, it was different, but not in discotheques or in couple, because that did not prepare us for the model of priest that we should take later in our towns of destiny, diocese of Tarazona. Raul went so far as to say:

 

—“If I find out that one of you is going to dance at discos, my duty is to tell the bishop and that he decides; if he wants to take me away, get me out of here”.

 

Since it was not a casus belli and had some logic, it did not become common problem, no more was spoken nor I opposed to anything either.

 

Overall, we continued talking without moving from the table, none of the five went down to dance; and finally came out Pajares, who acted until about three in the morning. When he had finished, two of Celia's sisters came for her, for they had told her father nothing, he had been pissed off and had ipso facto sent them to the Kokett. For my part, I continued with Esther, accompanying her to the residence.

 

It would be four o'clock in the morning. I returned to Tomás de Zumárraga Street, and went quietly to sleep. We were twelve in total, the 10 of June-69 and Raúl, more Santos, who returned later from Zaragoza. We lived on the second floor, but we slept in the sixth; I still remember the initial beating, going up the stairs the closets and beds up to the sixth floor.

 

The day after, Sunday, Raul was very tense. Last night he had to make the dinner himself. No one had informed him of anything. Florian accompanied Celia without her father's knowledge. We had committed Raúl to the nuns (with whom we got along very well). I came out with a girl who, in theory, should not leave her residence at night. Raul spoke with the Superior of the nuns and both had feedback, jumping more sparks. And all came from a foolish bet.

 

But in reality, this was just the introduction. Raul's problem was that, despite being among the best priests of our diocese, he did not accept the new model of priest that was already glimpsed. Raúl had a very good opinion of me and we got along very well, because I did not beat about the bush, I acted on principles and I discussed them openly. So, as soon as he could, on reaching the second floor after eating, he told me a little nervous:

 

—We have to talk, eh?

—Yes, yes, right now if you want —I told him with complete serenity, which got him even more out of his squares. And we began a theological debate as in The Name of the Rose, to see if laughing was bad or not bad...

—Do you think what you did last night is normal? —Raul complained.

—Nor is it any tragedy. The thing about Celia is bad luck and her sisters had to fix it before, because they knew that she went to the Kokett with Florian. What I feel is that nobody told you anything before (everyone heard that I was going to look for a girl) and that you had to do dinner alone. But that, tell it to Alfredo.

—But what dinner or nonsense! I only know that you were out over there until four in the morning with girls.

—Yeah, so what’s the problem? —I was entering the nucleus.

—It's just that in two years you'll be able to go to Tarazona saying that dancing is normal or going out with women is normal, being you the parish priest of the town.

—Look, Raúl, if I did not want to be a priest, I would not be here. And about dancing or not dancing, tell me a single quote from the gospel, or from Jesus Christ, where he says that a Christian can not dance. Now, what the Vatican says is something else. As a Christian, I will do what my conscience dictates, not what the Vatican, the bishop or priests say. And if they do not want me, let them kick me out.

—That's very easy to say here between you and me. But when you encounter a tradition and social pressure, you will realize that you can not change the tradition of the Church with a stroke —attacked Raul.

—Well, it's time to change that tradition. The Church has looked much to the past and little to the future. And that's why we are like that, with a toy Catholicism, which does not even know the gospel. Social pressure is changed with other pressure against. Many Catholics do not think for themselves, only what the priest or the pope says. And besides, we'll see all that when it arrives —I argued.

 

Raúl looked without theological arguments to defend the inherited model and he himself had his doubts. But he relied on his previous pastoral experience. Actually, we were two different generations, as would be verified in the future. Nietzsche's synthesis “I will reject a god who does not know how to dance” surely I would have heard it in some classroom of theology, but Nietzsche was not an authority for us, it would have further complicated the dialogue. These phrases are good as anecdotes, but not as serious arguments. [2]

 

For the rest, life continued and with it, thoughts:

 

 

 

[1] Raúl Romero, a native of Ariza (Zaragoza), a diocesan priest and our educator in Vitoria (Basque Country).

 

[2] Nietzsche (1844-1900) ended Thus spoke Zarathustra in 1884. Zarathustra is the symbol of the superman or new man. ‘Zarathustra comes to the point of confessing that, at most, he could believe in a God who knew how to dance’.

See www.nietzscheana.com.ar/klossowski.htm.

 

 

  • “The woman does not tolerate a thing: to be reified”. May 25, 1970.

 

  • “Prudence is, simply, view of the move”. May 30, 1970.

 

Every new experience kept us on our guard. The future would be difficult if we wanted to live according to the values learned. It was almost clear that we would die in the attempt, but in a war one does not surrender in advance. For this “war” we had prepared ourselves and that was our destiny. From a moment like this is this writing:

 

  • “We will sell our lives dearly”. June 2, 1970.

 

Meanwhile, the end of the course was still there, threatening and stimulating:

 

  • “Every end of the course is a crucible, cursed and purifier”. June 5, 1970.

 

  • We have to invent; what are we going to do... But, if we have to invent, we will invent”. June 7, 1970.

 

The following experiences are framed within a work stay that I made in the Isle of Wight during the summer of 1970, beginning with the anxiety in the waiting of the written contract of work, received in Vitoria from England:

 

  • “I will never be a slave of a letter”. June 10, 1970.

 

If you let yourself be carried away by anxiety, you may end up alienated as a dummy. This I learned that time forever: anxiety or freedom, there is no middle term.

 

On the boat from Bilbao to Southampton, which for me was like the Titanic, we were about 36 hours, a day and a half. I was in the cabin with another young Spaniard.

 

—They say that one is dizzy here, but I've never been dizzy —he said.

—I've never been dizzy either, that's if you're prone to —I added.

 

As soon as we said that, the boat sailed and we rushed up to the deck, as if we wanted to vomit; our stomachs went up to the throat. You wanted to climb a step and you climbed three. How ignorant... When we arrived in Southampton, the British police would not let my friend in. They wanted to keep him and return him to Spain in the same boat back. Result? We left the last.

 

I showed them my written employment contract and could enter England. But he had neither contract nor enough money to show as a tourist. He had to give them the address of the English family of destination and until they did not check it, they did not let him pass:

 

—You can go, why wait? —a policeman told me in Spanish.

—Because he's my friend (amigo) —I would answer.

—Amigo o Conocido (friend or acquaintance)? —the investigator surprised me.

—Un amigo… conocido aquí en el barco  [1] —I hispanicized.

 

And we both entered England, even if we were the last of the Patricia.

 

My intimate experience in England was going to influence me more than I imagined. Comparing my Spain of 1970 with the England of then would give for a very entertaining film. I already had European references to my one-month stay in France in 1968. But this time I did not go to the Isle of Wight as a “seminarian”, but as a “freelance” student among other temporary workers, men and women, from Great Britain, Holland, Austria, France, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Algeria, Morocco, Chile, Venezuela, Perú, Colombia...

 

The first conclusion I drew, in general terms, is that England took Spain a hundred years of advantage in citizenship education. The first adventure provoked by me, knowing almost nothing of English (things of the 21 years), was to check if the English people were as cold as we were told from official Spain. As soon as I got off the Bilbao-Southampton boat in the morning, and although I had all day to get to London without haste, I asked a passer-by where the train was taken. He accompanied me about 50 meters, made me blueprints on the ground, put the distances. He kept asking me if I had understood him “until now”. I did not understand him almost anything and it was not my intention, but I always answered: yes, yes…

 

The second surprise was on the train itself, a commuter train with open apartments. A very old lady who could be my grandmother took out her pack of Spar matches and her tobacco (then it was not forbidden), invited to us all to smoke and each one responded her with visible respect: “No, thank you”. At the same time, a beautiful girl passed by wearing an Eighties hat and dress, without warning, from my place, no smile or gesture of disrespectful humor. And so on, one after another. Nobody screamed there, everyone spoke normal. I was all eyes, I did not lose detail, that was for me a train of fable and I could not avoid comparing it with any commuter train in Spain.

 

In spite of being Spanish of 1970 —that is, African—, everybody treated me with respect. Every time you brought a plate to a table in the restaurant at the Grand Hotel in Sandown, the four people (including the children) thanked you. If you did not understand some expression, they helped you without being heavy. If you complied with your work and the common rules, no one went into your private life, nor asked “where do you come from” or “where are you going”.

 

The hotel manager, as easily dressed in a bow tie, than he came with me to scrub the floor of the kitchen or the hotel dishes, which passed almost all by my hands. These are details that shocked me, for I had never seen a hotel manager sweep and scrub the floor with his employees in Spain, not even a minute by mistake.

 

I was aware of being in front of a culture superior to mine and I remembered some phrase from Ortega y Gasset, read I do not know where: “The Spanish bourgeoisie does not admit the possibility that there are ways of thinking superior to theirs... We must begin to forge a new type of Spanish man. Political improvements are not enough: much deeper work is essential”. [2]  All this did not complex me as an individual, but it stimulated me and encouraged me in other utopias.

 

 

[1] “A friend… whom I new here on the boat”Footnote for the Engish edition.

 

[2] Ortega y Gasset, J. (1921): España invertebrada (Invertebrate Spain). Madrid: Revista de Occidente (1963), pp. 156-157.

 

1970 June:  Grand Hotel Staff, Isle of Wight

1970 July:  Grand Hotel Staff, Isle of Wight

 

I also had my summer love. A pretty English girl, who was working as a teacher of children, seems to have been attracted to me and I, to her. But I wanted to become a Catholic priest. We never got to speak explicitly about this crush (we understood in French, I spoke little English), but that fact made me rethink my identity. After eating, I went every day to a solitary Catholic chapel in Sandown, where I reviewed my Christian belief, my own convictions and my strong emotions, including tears.

 

It was not an issue that I should consult with anyone. I knew well that it was personal and non-transferable. From those moments are the following sentences:

 

  • “A penetrating love at first sight, kindly cruel and hopeful. Love is the most disconcerting and powerful energy we have on earth. There is no rose without a thorn”. July 3, 1970.

 

  • “Is this vocation so great that it demands such sacrifices? I can no longer save efforts to achieve the goal: alea iacta est!”  [1]  July 7, 1970.

 

 

 

[1] “The die is cast!”cry of Julius Caesar, year 49 BC, when risked to pass the river Rubicon to conquer Rome.

 

1970 July:  day off in London

 

With the passing of the weeks, one day she gave me to understand that she regretted the situation, because she did not know that I was preparing to be a Catholic priest; she thought some of my co-workers joked when they got on their knees asking for my blessing. I told her that it was not a joke invented by me, but it was true my vocation for a Catholic priest (she said she was a non-practicing Catholic).

 

The truth is that the image they all had of a Catholic priest had nothing to do with what they saw in me, who went with them, men and women, to the pub, to play football, to the deck, to drink beer, to the beach, to see the hippies in Freshwater or to dance at birthdays. Less kissing or lying down together —as most of them did it—, the rest was common.

 

In the last distribution of Student Staff, I shared my room with Javier, a Catalan cult and good companion, who told me one night: “Do not go out into the hallway, you lose your virginity”... I was aware of the situation and it made me think, but did not cause me any kind of schizophrenia.

 

I never hid them that I was studying Theology to be a Catholic priest. My own freedom of expression I took as a personal challenge, I did not feel like hiding my identity. This challenge was part of my charisma and of my own vocation, which I did not want to protect with any kind of showcase. The experience of “alone before the danger  [1]  fed me rather than shying away. I also had good health and contrasted energy, I was young, not yet 22 years old.

 

In any case, I was not looking for any attracting attention in the group and I got along well with the two social classes of the hotel staff: students (restaurant waiters) and workers (kitchen, cleaning and services). Altogether, we were about 25. So god that I ended up as improvised “union link”. A worker, who felt affected by his rights, explained in Arabic his version of the facts to my colleague Omar, a Moroccan university student in France. Omar told me in French and I translated it in my English to the hotel manager. Olé!

 

Omar and I were ideologically accomplices and we laughed together about some things. In addition, we were the least English we knew of the Student Staff, next to an Italian who, when he got angry, shouted and gestured very loudly in Italian-French: “Ce n'est pas possible, hostia!”. [2]

 

I am a Communist —said very militant Omar to greet me, in the first room that they put us both.

I am a Christian —I replied, in case we had to hit each other already.

 

Little by little we came out very good friends. His mentality, almost French, contrasted with the other Moroccan students, but from the Hotel School in Casablanca:

—“They do not know anything” —Omar told me.

 

In the middle of summer, the hotel management expelled several waiters. I do not remember why, but the rest of us felt very bad and even made a small strike at the hotel for a weekend, according to the English students themselves. He had to put to serve tables the hotel Manager, his wife, his son and other acquaintances. In fact, the British Hotel Association served, among other things, to take advantage of English learners. We were only paid eight pounds a week (in addition to food and stay), about 1,400 pesetas then (8.40 euros).

 

I was so annoyed by this arbitrariness that I put myself to the test again. In London they were looking for waiters, I did not mind being expelled, I worked them well and my plates-tea-coffee stand was difficult to replace in the middle of summer. My individual claim to the hotel’s Manager I took as an ethical question:

 

—I think the expulsion of those colleagues is very bad. If you want me to stay at your hotel, you should pay me two more pounds every week and to advance one week to settle the contract.

 

The Manager reminded me that, if I left, he would not give me the 20 pounds of arrears he owed me (they retained an amount as a small brake on leaving the post). But my reaction was not expected:

 

I do not care about your pounds!

 

He told me that he would give me the answer next Monday and he went on speaking alone:

 

—My God, my God!

 

The following Monday, his lady said to me: “The Management of the hotel has decided to accept your conditions”. He put a special solemnity in the expression “your conditions”. Actually, she was having fun, she had a sense of humor, and I think she was smarter than her husband the Manager.

 

In sensitive situations, the diversity of languages complicates communication. And, in the long term, the lack of a common language delays democracy, not only economic, but also cultural and affective. Common language does not mean single, but it means essential:

 

  • “What divides peoples the most? Language. It has to reach a universal language. July 7, 1970.

 

When we leave our domestic culture, we always carry an implicit cultural and musical baggage. In the summer of 1970, by English broadcasters, while we were working in the kitchen or in the hotel restaurant, we heard the famous Hymn to the joy of Miguel Ríos, one of the international successes of the moment. It was retransmitted in Spanish and English. For us Spaniards, this musical success meant more than a simple version of Beethoven's ninth symphony.

 

Likewise, the spirit of Antonio Machado, Caminante, whose sung version of Joan Manuel Serrat has served me during difficult times, accompanied me always in my physical and mental journeys:

 

  • “Se hace camino al andar”. [3] July 22, 1970.

 

When we are young, it is relatively easy to change our culture. This summer from another angle made me reflect on my intimate ties to Spain, my “vocation” or my family. I saw a more mobile future world still coming from what I had known, but we would have to be prepared not to lose the identity and the substance itself:

 

  • “A rolling stone gathers no moss”. July 26, 1970.

 

  • “In this essentially mobile world, you will have to get used to losing friends and situations with the same ease with which they are obtained”. August 11, 1970.

 

  • “Life can not be neither pink nor unbearable, but simply hard. So is”. August 14, 1970.

 

 

 

[1] The film High Noon (1952) was titled in Spain “Solo ante el peligro” (Alone before the danger). —Footnote for the English edition.

 

[2] “This can not be tolerated, host!”

 

[3] “Paths are made by walking”Antonio Machado (1875-1939) —Footnote for the English edition.

 

1970 Sept:  Return to Spain via Paris

 

At this moment in my life, I was passionate about the collective advances that many of us called then revolution, as a magical concept with which we wanted to express a positive, rapid and profound change. This meant combining one's identity with creativity, enlivening the clinical eye in events, and sensing the importance of time. Things do not make themselves, time will not solve anything if you do not squeeze.

 

  • “Men and people of little will live a lot of memories”. August 30, 1970.

 

  • “Who said life is monotonous? In years and years, I do not remember a repeated day”. September 05, 1970.

 

  • “My definitive recognition, England: I will be a Catholic priest”. September 10, 1970.

 

  • “Même les oiseaux ils font l'amour  [1] my friend Malika (Moroccan waitres girl) reproached me in the park, while we watched some birds". September 12, 1970.

 

  • “I always go with a day late”. September 12, 1970.

 

I finished the intense summer experience, but its echoes accompanied me a long time. We returned to Vitoria, I was just 22 years old and I started 4th of Theology, it was course number 12 of my “preparation for priest”, since that 1st Latin began in 1959... Life in Spain and in the Basque Country was complicated. A collective desire for change ran through all thinking minds. This also affected the internal life of the prestigious Seminary of Vitoria, although those of Tarazona, like other groups, were “external”.

 

The variety of provenances and the historical moment fueled heated debates in some classes of Theology. We had really competent teachers: José Mª Zunzunegi, Andrés Ibáñez, José Manzana, Carlos Abaitua, Jesús Equiza, José Antonio Pagola, José Mª Setién... They gave us vital keys to our personal synthesis, which continued to scrutinize the possible meaning of the universe and of ourselves.

 

  • “Life is too hard on its own to make war against us too”. October 30, 1970.

 

  • “Exhibiting is exposing yourself” —José Antonio PAGOLA. November 12, 1970.

 

  • “Without the others, I myself have no sense”. November 14, 1970.

 

The subject of sexual relations was (and still is) one of the subjects pending for many institutions; among them, the Catholic Church, of course. Our young mind did not stop designing alternatives that made the inherited world less absurd:

 

  • “Perhaps in the not too distant future, the most intimate relationships between a man and a woman will become institutionalized as another element of our formation”. November 15, 1970.

 

 

And we still had time to organize international solidarity campaigns. After consulting with the well-known parish priest of Los Angeles, a few of us Aragon seminarians in Vitoria, we had the fantastic occurrence of asking for Blood for Pakistan, with hundreds of thousands killed by the cyclone of November 13, 1970. We made wedges on the radio, press releases in the newspapers, countless posters Spain-Pakistan as if it were the world football final…

 

When we informed the Hospital Santiago of the impending campaign, the doctors and hematologists could not disguise the laughter. Álava, like Navarra, were pioneers in blood donations, both by volume and by organization, and they knew the subject, not like us. The first thing the chief medical doctor told us was:

 

—“That blood will not go to Pakistan. It should be sent to Navarra and freeze-dried… Also, not so many people will come. But you say nothing now that the campaign is under way. It is a blood that will be useful, but not in Pakistan”.

 

The funny thing is that they approached to give blood more than 1,000 people. The doctors were really surprised, they did not have enough ice chambers and the result of the campaign caught them suddenly. In addition, we did interviews in the newspapers of Vitoria, photos included. When Santos and I went to the Hospital to see how the campaign was going, they treated us as if we were ministers of health and then it was hard for us to hide our laughter. This sentence I wrote while preparing the campaign:

 

  • “In any worthwhile enterprise, internal difficulties are more dangerous than external ones. Blood for Pakistan in Vitoria. Thousand people”. November 26, 1970.

 

But the great subject of the moment was the judicial process of Burgos, from December 03, 1970. Even in the Seminary of Vitoria there was an internal manifestation, carried out by a group of Basque seminarians, not all. Those who were not Basques we watched with respect, but without intervening. Afterwards, some of us went to the commercial street Dato, next to the Civil Government of that time. To those we like to check, we did not escape detail. There were several gray groups (national police) and they did not allow walking more than three people together: “¡Disuélvanse!” (Dissolve yourselves!).

 

I was impressed to see young mothers with their child in the cart, walking slowly (“this is our street”). There was silence and tension in the environment. At the smallest shout, I thought, these kids' carts jump in the air. But it did not happen that way, at least during the hour we were there. In another nearby street, a child of about five years old also provoked his own way. He peered out the window of his house and shouted: ¡Guardia! (Guard!). When the guard turned, the child was hiding... It is a well-known topic and I do not extend myself. That week, I wrote these personal reflections:

 

  • “There are univocal, analogous, equivocal judgments... and that of Burgos”. December 7, 1970.

 

  • “A government that, in order to maintain itself, has to use force at any hour, shows us that it has no powerful reasons to continue to govern”. December 7, 1970.

 

 

 

[1] Even the birds make love”. Malika and I went to London together one day off. On returning, she said to her companion Zakia: "Il ne m'a pas touché" (he has not touched me). Malika did not understand the celibacy of Catholic priests (I got the laugh), declared herself an atheist, had personality, said what she thought. One day she told me very seriously: "Pedro, tu es un prophète" (you are a prophet) and I laughed... 

 

 

Year 1971, news

CHILE, January 01: Private Banking has been nationalized.

INDOCHINA, May 10: Two Buddhists immolate themselves with fire demanding the withdrawal of US troops.

SPAIN, June 25: The Council of Ministers closes the magazine TRIUNFO.

SPAIN, July 06: According to the newspaper INFORMACIONES, a car is stolen every hour in Madrid. And in Barcelona, it’s every 70 minutes.

GERMANY FEDERAL, August 02: Herbert Marcuse is dead.

UNITED NATIONS, October 26: The UN General Assembly approves the entry of the People's Republic of China, and the exclusion of Taiwan.

SPAIN, November 05: An anti-Marxist command destroys 24 engravings of Picasso in Madrid.

SPAIN, November 25: The Ministry of Information and Tourism closes the daily MADRID, founded in 1966.

SPAIN, November 27: More than 20% of the Spanish working population is emigrant.

SWEDEN-NORWAY, December 10: Neruda, Nobel Prize for Literature. And Willy Brandt, Nobel Peace Prize.

 

“And do not become a priest, for what you want most!”

 

For moments of social tension, I internalized these two postulates:

 

  • “I'm convinced that the controversy spoils everything” —Jesús Equiza. January 19, 1971.

 

  • “Intimate peace is an absolute value. Sometimes it coincides with serenity”. March 12, 1971.

 

I continued to consolidate my personal principles of action. Every day grew in me the conviction that I would need great reserves of wisdom and energy for the project of life to which I was designed:

 

  • “I abhor all paternalism”. March 15, 1971.

 

  • “You can not take yourself seriously, then you get worse things: 'men without humor are irremissibly doomed to immaturity’” —Bernard HÄRING. March 28, 1971.

 

  • “I've had a horrible impression: every day I know less”. May 4, 1971.

 

  • “I have already fully learned it: hating is even bitterest than being hated”. May 6, 1971.

 

  • “Every man who does not know what he is in life for, is an illiterate”. May 13, 1971.

 

  • “Do not think that getting out of bed is trivial. With that gesture you can make yourself worthy of life. Sometimes it's the greatest act of faith a human being can do”. May 14, 1971.

 

  • “I think I have reached a stable truth: the true conception of life has to discard all triumphalism, we always miss something”. May 15, 1971.

 

  • “Do not be afraid of life. If you have to live it, it must be with energy”. May 22, 1971.

 

  • “Only the dead are incensed”. June 7, 1971.

 

 

  • “The group does not exhaust the responsibility of the individual. That would only happen in a chemically pure man-mass”. June 17, 1971.

 

  • “A future solution is not useful to fix the present”. June 20, 1971.

 

In the summer of 1971, I went with two other colleagues to work in Belgium: an Aragonese (Florian) and a Galician (David). It was at the Clinique Saint Michel in Brussels. They were in the habit of hiring European seminarians during the summer. In the police —the Clinic instructed us—, we had to say that we were “tourists”. The police did not investigate, of course, neither a written contract nor a host family in Belgium nor the money available, such as last summer in Southampton.

 

In theory, labor contracts should only be granted to citizens of the Common Market, as we should have heard a dozen times when looking for work for another Galician fellow student. But in practice they turned a blind eye to the circumstances. We found for him work (to clean crystals) in the building of the Common Market, what a coincidence! We were even in the central meeting room we saw on TV, with labels from the six founding states: France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

 

We were renting, outside the clinic, in a nearby residence. And at the beginning, we were in south of Brussels, with a family of Galician origin. I do not say Galician family because they, fathers and sons, lived together dialectically: “Mom, you are Spanish, but we are Belgian, our friends are Belgian, our school is Belgian”... Our function in the Clinic was Nursing Assistant. But here we made money, not like last summer in the English hospitality industry. Some weekends we even did some sightseeing in Belgium, Holland and Germany. And when I arrived in Calatayud in September, I still gave my parents 22,000 pesetas (132 EUR), which then served for something.

 

In the clinic I was assigned to the Surgery Service. But there they also sent terminal patients. We would wash them, make the bed and we helped them eat. All our smiles and words of encouragement toward them were fictitious. The first two weeks were very hard for me. At night I dreamed with the face of 43 or 49... The first sentence I wrote in my “memories” of the new Belgian experience was this:

 

  • “There are people who only live to die”. July 16, 1971.

 

But I realized that I was dying with them and maybe it was not the right thing to do. The human species was like that, some had to die and others had to live. Little by little, I adapted, maintained the sympathy, but without affecting me much. The languages were French and Flemish, from which I learned some greetings and basic expressions of hospital: “Good morning, how are you, have you slept well? Have you eaten well? See you later, see you tomorrow”…

 

I also knew the linguistic problem very closely. The two languages were official and in Brussels, all bilingual, by decree; A coca cola ad or a policeman's uniform: police on one shoulder and politie on the other. I came from “España Una, Grande y Libre” —Spain One, Great, Free— (something like ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer), [1] so I was shocked. And my partner David told me that he as a child in Galicia would get him on his knees if he missed in the recess some expression in Galician.

 

One day, in Antwerp, I asked in French for the location of a street and they paid no attention to me, until I warned them that I was not Belgian, but Spanish. Immediately they asked me for forgiveness, attending to me instantly. In addition, my greetings to the Flemish patients in their language were sometimes used “politically” among the Belgian nurses themselves:

 

—“Do you see this Spanish? He has been here for a month and speaks Flemish more than you (Francophones). If you do not speak Flemish, it is because you do not want to” —said those from the North.

—“For that, I learn German” —said those of the South.

 

My intimate experience of that summer in Belgium was much less incisive than the one of the previous summer in England, and with less jolts. Despite the clear economic differences with Spain, I was ideologically at home. My better understanding of the language influenced in favor, but it was not the only reason.

 

In religious evolution, many Belgian Catholics still had manifest prejudices that in Spain we had already surpassed. For example, the Sister of Surgery, who worked as a nurse (although everyone knew she was not “one nurse more” in a Catholic Clinic), one day asked me in front of the group if it was true that I had been the night before on the floor of some acquaintances (boys and girls, some nurses included), which in French sounded more mysterious, pronounced in slow motion by the nun, “dans un appartement”:

 

—“Yes, I was with them. Very lively, we had a good time” —I replied.

—“But if you think to be a priest, do you see it normal to go out at night?” —she returned to.

—“Yes, very normal. In Spain, we do it quietly” —I went on.

 

She saw me so serene that she did not dare to go any farther, though I thought Belgium was not England. The other nurses were silent, but then told me later that they were happy and congratulated me. That is, the nun commanded much there and the image of the typical Catholic priest left much to be desired. Luckily I met other Blegian nuns, who taught me this gracious and original synthesis:

 

—Now it is no longer said Roma locuta, causa finita, but the opposite, Causa finita, Roma locuta. [2]

 

One day, the nurse Gisèle said in front of me and the rest of the Service:

 

My husband saw you arrive yesterday and told me: “this does not look like a priest”...

Qu´est-ce qu’ il faut pour avoir la tête d´un curé? [3] —I said quietly.

 

They all laughed, and here the mono-theme finished again.

 

  • “You have to take some things seriously to take all the others jokingly”. July 22, 1971.

 

Gisèle was a competent and disciplined nurse. She spoke Flemish and was Head of the Service in the absence of the headline, Marie-Claire. Gisèle had personality and sense of humor. When she spoke of the Mediterranean, she said to me in an exotic expression “those countries of yours” (ces pays-là). And from her I took the phrase with which I lead the year 1971:

 

  • “And do not become a priest, for what you want most”. August 31, 1971.

 

In order to finish the Belgian experience, I collect my last recorded experiences:

 

  • “Kemmel, a beautiful memory”. September 12, 1971.

 

  • “Curious novelty: I have felt a strange aversion to the door of a convent”. September 18, 1971.

 

  • “Waterloo, a moment of reflection”. September 18, 1971.

 

  • “Opera enim illorum sequuntur illos”. [4] —Travel back Brussels-Paris, September 27, 1971.

 

  • “Any company, any political program or human action that is worthwhile, must include an idea of collectivity, of a common destiny in Humanity. If we want to give wings to the terrestrial sphere, it is, fortunately, inevitable to join us in an action of the whole whose dynamism is beyond our own imagination. It is illusory to think of an automatic suppression of frontiers, but it is no less illusory to maintain a political philosophy that perpetuates them against what the last 30 years of communications teach us and our own experience demands: universalism”. —Travel back Barcelona-Calatayud, September 29, 1971.

 

For the next three months, I hardly wrote anything in my notebook of Experiences and Thoughts. I am in the last year, I do 5th of Theology, which is the Bachelor's Degree, the course number 13 of my “career”. For many years I have heard a popular synthesis that said: “The priests know a lot because they study 13 years: twelve to ASK and one to NOT GIVE”. In this last we are!

 

 

 

[1] One People, one Empire, one Leader.

 

[2] One of the slogans of official theology was, for centuries, to give priority to the Church of Rome in case of disputes over dogma or customs: When Rome speaks, the conflict must be ended (“Roma locuta, causa finita). But now the Vatican is so late that the motto has been reversed: When everyone has already settled the conflict in his own way, Rome goes and draws a document (Causa finita, Roma locuta).

 

[3] “What it takes to have the head of a priest?”

 

[4] “Their works accompany them” —we sang at the burials to those who left us: Revelation 14:13.

 

 

Year 1972, news

SPAIN, March 7: Cardinal Enrique y Tarancón is elected president of the Spanish Episcopal Conference.

SPAIN, April 05: The special unit of the female municipal police commences service in Madrid.

CHILE, May 12: President Allende signs the ITT nationalization Project.

UNITED STATES, June 4: Professor Angela Davis, a militant of the Black movement and the American Communist Party, is acquitted by the New York courts of her alleged conspiracy.

BELGIUM, July 23: Eddy Merckx wins the Tour de France for the fourth consecutive time.

FEDERAL GERMANY, September 5: Arab guerrillas raid the Israeli athletes' sector. Eleven Israeli athletes and five Arab terrorists have been killed. Games, says the IOC, must continue.

UNITED KINGDOM, September 19: Murder by mail. A letter-bomb was used for the first time against an Israeli diplomat in London.

URUGUAY, December 22: A Chilean shepherd casually watches the survivors of a plane crash that occurred 70 days earlier in the Andes. Uruguayan rugby players live! Of 36, they survive 16. They heard on radio their "disappearance". They have eaten human corpses.

NICARAGUA, December 25: Earthquake in Managua. There were about 18,000 dead.

SPAIN, December 30: Almost 33 million tourists entered this year, almost 22% more than last year.

 

“The jungle is dark, but full of diamonds”  [1]

The last year of my life with status of “student” will be 1972. All the people who have gone through this know that there comes a time when books and theories are already tiring us. One wants to be autonomous and see if so many years of studies (“twelve to ask and one not to give”) have something to do with reality.

 

The three companions that we prepared to be ordained priests at once and go out in team (Alfredo, Santos and I) we spent  the last year “training” and living in an adapted units of the parish Belén of Vitoria, in the neighborhood of Zaramaga. For two years we had come to do “practices” there, with Catechesis, classes of Religion in EGB (GBS), Youth Activities, Masses and other tasks, led by the creative parish priest José Luis López de Briñas and two other assistant priests, Pedro and Luis-Mari. All three helped us a lot in every way.

 

It was a working-class parish with many immigrants, then Spaniards from: Castilla, Galicia, Extremadura, Andalucía, Aragón, etc. The first organizational meeting of the workers at the famous Michelin strike was in our church. Everything was illegal, of course, since there were no free unions or freedom of assembly. The first thing they did was to know who were there (about 500 men), section by section.

 

The policemen (“Secret” or spies infiltrated) left alone of the church before being discovered in the count. After the count was finished, and already organized by Sections, I spoke to them for a minute to say:

 

—“The three of us (Santos, Alfredo and I) are not from the Michelin, but seminarians assigned to this parish. We are in favor of your strike and we would like to continue with you in this meeting with all the consequences. But, if you want, we're going away”...

 

—“Stay, stay” —they said, and we were still listening.

 

The Armed Police, “the Grays”, did not usually enter the churches, although they could stop you outside. The Secret Police also controlled us and asked us for documentation on the street sometime. But the truth is that we had no special problems during our stay in this parish. In any case, there were more political problems in Guipúzcoa and Vizcaya than in Álava. Most of the following personal reflections are conditioned by the imminent challenge of being ordained Catholic priest in this same year 1972.

 

  • “The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways. The point however is to change it”  [2] tomb of MARX in London. January 20, 1972.

 

  • “The desire for culture is, above all, an illusion for life. There would be fewer illiterates if more sense of life were imparted”. January 22, 1972.

 

  • “Wars do not end with the last cannon”. February 1, 1972.

 

  • “Life is an ordered series of frustrations, recapitulated in a single realization: the negation of self”. February 1, 1972.

 

  • “It is better to die with reason than to live without it”. February 11, 1972.

 

  • “There are few nice people, but there is” —Fredes. February 17, 1972.

 

  • “To start thinking is to start having problems. But who can afford not to think?” February 17, 1972.

 

  • “Martyrs with a clear conscience are needed. Domicile: own conscience... Michelín's Strike”. February 18, 1972.

 

  • “Whoever wants to do much good, let him become as hard as evil”. February 29, 1972.

 

  • “If these 23 years have passed so quickly, everything seems to indicate that I will say the same thing at 40, 50 or 60... Life is not as long as some suggest. We will have to extract its juice”. March 1, 1972.

 

  • “I do not understand well those who would like to live again. Do they like this life so much?” March 1, 1972.

 

  • “I've lost that mystique. I liked the difficult things. Now it puts me in a bad mood. The slightest mismatch makes me wonder about the end of my existence. I'm tired of learning. Deep down, I'm still waiting for something. But I'm afraid it's a false illusion. If I write this, it is a coincidence (I, who never believed in chance)... Actually, it is a form of prayer. If there is someone who can read it without opening this notebook, I ask him not to forget me. To you, Jesus, you read without letters: forgive me and return to your poor brother, who seeks, among bitterness, the joy of living. Mom, morning Star, do you remember that song? But if my love will forget you, do not forget me”. March 3, 1972.

 

 

[1] One of the phrases that appear in The Death of a Salesman, work of Arthur MILLER (1915-2005), premiered in New York in 1949, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for Theater. In Spain, Miller received the 2002 Príncipe de Asturias Award for Letters.

 

[2] Phrase of Karl MARX (1818-1883). That’s in his Thesis XI on Feuerbach (year 1845).

 

 

  • “If you overcome impatience, you have overcome the world”. March 12, 1972.

 

  • “When I open and close doors always in the same way; when I calculate the movements to save seconds of time, I look like the man-machine, made to measure and produce”. March 24, 1972.

 

  • “I thought my pen was mine. They asked me... and I gave it”. March 26, 1972.

 

  • “Never forget the poor” —Juan Peces told me— “We are all poor” —I replied. April 10, 1972.

 

  • “Why does evil have so much power? I have only succeeded in seeing that the mystery is a constituent part of human life and that Jesus of Nazareth was yet another victim”. April 10, 1972.

 

  • “There is a lot of distance between what we want to know and what we know. It's an exciting, almost divergent distance”. April 15, 1972.

 

  • “Lions only attack when they are hungry” —Andrés IBÁÑEZ. April 15, 1972.

 

  • “Pessimism is the heresy that is in fashion”. April 25, 1972.

 

  • “On this bridge holiday, I've gone and got back on hitch-hiking to see my brother Juan. He is fine. Vitoria-Cartagena-Vitoria, with luck”. [1]  May 2, 1972.

 

  • “It is easy to be friends when there are common enemies, but it is difficult when the only enemy is that we are different”. May 6, 1972.

 

  • “A human being is also great for the beautiful projects he could never accomplish. Many times, just for that”. May 6, 1972.

 

  • “The worst enemy is not having it”—Sánchez Agesta. [2]  May 23, 1972.

 

  • “I hate everything that is wrongly done. I would not fight against people, but it will be unavoidable. The first one I will be myself. If not, a false sense of respect makes you acclimate to evil, makes you impotent, integrates you and it depersonalizes you”. May 23, 1972.

 

  • “All great struggles have their epicenter in the human brain”. May 24, 1972.

 

  • “I thank you, God, for the cinema”. June 4, 1972.

 

 

  • “Greater wisdom, greater annoyance. The more you know, the more you suffer”. [3]  June 4, 1972.

 

  • “The best is not the enemy of the good, because the good and the best are the same thing”. June 5, 1972.

 

  • "The most unpleasant thing about this course has been, among other things, having to work between books without a study context. It is seen that, If you study, you do not do 'Pastoral'; and if you do 'Pastoral', you do not study”. June 5, 1972.

     

  • “If there is hell, it must be to not love or be loved by anyone”. June 5, 1972.

     

  • “This afternoon we have to sing. It's part of the drama”. June 10, 1972.

 

  • “The stellar moments of life are few” —Bernardo Onaindía. June 12, 1972.

 

  • “Sow and forget where. The rest is not your business”. June 12, 1972.

 

  • “The greatest adventure I know is to continue living”. June 15, 1972.

 

  • “I have a hard memory of this course, which, like all hard memories, can be forgotten in a moment of happiness. But it would have to be a lot of happiness”. June 15, 1972.

 

  • “There are sins that go against the very core of the person, against his destiny. They are serious sins”. June 17, 1972.

 

  • “If life is a struggle —and of course it is—, the child and the youth must be educated in an environment of exigency, not imposed, but assumed”. June 17, 1972.

 

  • “Not everything that happens is convenient (against Nov 5, 1969). And if it really is, we do not know why”. June 20, 1972.

 

  • “Society frequently demands to lay down arms at the entrance: thought, projects... For ‘the best is the enemy of the good’. Disgusting. But days will come when there will be no stone left over”. June 21, 1972.

 

  • “Mass Christianity is no longer worth it. And what is not worth, is thrown away”. June 30, 1972.

 

  • “So bad is a lot of security as much insecurity” —José Méndez Asensio, bishop of Tarazona.  [4]  June 30, 1972.

 

  • “Storage of energy in La Granja de Segovia: For a Better World”. August 2, 1972.

 

 

[1] It’s over 1,700 km of 1972 (worse roads than those of now). In a straight line, the distance between Cartagena (Spain) and Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain) is 600.61 km, but the driving distance (in 2017) is 819 km: http://es.lasdistancias.com/distancia-de-cartagena-a-vitoria-gasteizer —Footnote for the English edition.

 

[2] Luis Sánchez Agesta was born in Granada (1914) and died in Madrid (1997). In 1988, he was Prince of Asturias Award in Social Sciences. This phrase I read in his book History of Spanish constitutionalism (1955) —Footnote for the English edition.

 

[3] Ecclesiastes 1: 18.

 

[4] “Father Méndez”, as he was known, was appointed bishop of Tarazona on July 22, 1968, and in December 1971, archbishop of Navarre. In January 1978, he was Archbishop of Granada. He died on April 15, 2006, at 85 years of age. He was born in Vélez Rubio (Almería). He was the bishop who ordained us as priests.

 

 

This summer, destiny had prepared me a heavy joke. I had written about 20 letters to the United States between April and May to work there for a few months, just as I had done the previous summers in Europe. But there was no way. Some answered me extensively and politely explaining the employment situation of young people in the USA and the difficulty of hiring me for a few months. Yes for a whole year, but impossible for a few months.

 

Total, when I realized it, it was too late to fix it and try again in Europe. So I had to work in Calatayud (Zaragoza), where my parents and my little brothers lived. Hard work for me, especially the first two weeks: ten hours a day (60 a week) with heavy boxes of fruit, as well as loading and unloading trucks. And it was all for 29 pesetas an hour, which made 1,740 pesetas a week (10.46 EUR).

 

As we have to see the positive side, I had the opportunity to get to know my own region of Aragon better “on the inside”; and even my parents or neighbors —manual workers all— had the opportunity to see me work sweating, which is what counts (according to them), because the other jobs, without sweating, they are not real jobs, you know... And as expected, in the end you have to discuss with the employer, his son, the manager and the toady of various sizes. Everything transcended the neighbors, of course, because there the newspaper they were themselves, road laborers, accustomed to obey and to remain silent.

 

My critical attitude as a “worker of the fruit” had some mitigating factors that made it difficult for the company to do without me. First, at that time and in the summer campaign (apples, pears, peaches), it was relatively easy for me to find work in other stores, fruit can not wait. Afterwards, I worked well for them, I did not shirk like some others, who came to the toilet when the truck arrived or were addicted to the stapler with the obvious goal of avoiding 20 or 30 kg of many boxes. And finally, they knew that I was “almost a priest” and it gave them a little respect treating me badly, not for appreciation of my future profession, but for the individual freedom with which, even being a temporary day laborer, I spoke to them, business owners (a rare thing in the Spanish rural world of 1972).

 

They knew that, in the event of a conflict, my complaint about their working conditions could harm them. Over time I even learned that they were contributing for me to Social Security in the last of the three months, something that some employers do not still today with their seasonal workers

 

The entrepreneur-worker relationship was more typical of the 19th century than the 20th century. My brother Chema also worked there part of the summer. And the first day, we agreed the two with the company that we would work 10 hours a day from Monday to Saturday included: from 8am to 1pm and from 3pm to 8pm. After 60 hours a week, one Saturday afternoon the business owner wanted us to go to work the next day, Sunday, too. He used arguments that gave me both laughter and anger:

 

—“Well, if you, who are of the company, do not want to fix it, then who will come tomorrow?” Ironside was yelling at us. Everyone called him as well as in the famous TV series, where the protagonist was in a wheelchair, like this one. But we did not feel sorry for his wheelchair, because he did not feel sorry for his “slaves”.

—Me, the company? Since when do I belong to the company? —I immediately replied to him—. I already work 60 hours. Me, I need Sunday to sleep and keep coming here Monday. Hire more people, because in Calatayud are more unemployed…

 

Many days, from 19h to 20h, just before the end of the day, a truck came to unload. Chema and I warned our co-workers: “We have 10 hours a day contract, at 20h we go out, you do what you want”. And at eight in the afternoon, we got off the truck and they were still unloading.

 

But on August 15, with Calatayud at parties and on a national non-working day, I went to unload a truck of 16 tons from 8 am to 12 pm because I felt sorry for some comrades and their assumed condition of slaves, so they would go out to eat with their family... These experiences I wrote those months:

 

  • “The rich bark, but among them they do not bite” —Manuel, road worker. August 3, 1972.

 

  • “Suffer my student muscles, 60 hours a week. Nevertheless, we need money and the poor we have no choice but to die to the stick”. August 19, 1972.

 

  • “When life is too hard, depersonalization begins. If God is the most intimate, we hate God. It is when one believes 'if I were God, I would have done better'. At this precise moment, you can fall into the absurd. It is a cruel moment. It is then necessary to share the experience, so that it has, at least, an escape, a possible meaning”. August 21, 1972.

 

  • “Más allá del mar habrá un lugar donde el sol cada mañana brille más” [1] —Nino Bravo. September 11, 1972.

 

  • “Todo llega y todo pasa, pero lo nuestro es pasar, pasar haciendo caminos, caminos sobre la mar” [2] Antonio Machado. September 12, 1972.

 

  • “The difficult thing is not to confront each other. The difficult thing is to continue loving after facing”. September 12, 1972.

 

 

In the few months that we had to be priests, neither my head nor my heart stopped. I think I've never been able to, but I'm glad I'm not the only one: “Some people know how to live like a somnambulist; I have not been able to learn this comfortable style of existence”, Ortega wrote. [3]

 

  • “Few people look straight ahead”. September 30, 1972.

 

  • “If you ever have 'experience', have a lot of respect for those who do not”. October 18, 1972.

 

  • “Few rich people care about the poor”. October 21, 1972.

 

  • “Christ, if in the end I do not serve, at least make that the message go ahead”. October 21, 1972.

 

I do not remember what previous facts correspond to each sentence, and in addition it would be this interminable. But I remember the fact that motivated the previous sentence: “if in the end I do not serve, at least make the message go ahead”, where I will extend a little. As everyone knows, the sexual issue is not just a biological or psychological issue, but also a cultural one.

 

I was always taught by the official Catholic Church that all voluntary masturbation, at any age, was a mortal sin, that is, that you could go to eternal hell if you died without having confessed before. In addition, I do not know how many possible imminent or concomitant misfortunes. In short, all sexual-genital activity had to take place within marriage. So that a current citizen can imagine that situation, he must “digest” before the following points.

 

1. Article TWO of the Franco “Constitution”: The Catholic Church, the only true religion, will inspire our Spanish legislation.

 

2. All books, magazines, newspapers and publications go through CENSORSHIP, where State and Church teach the same thing. If not, it is not published, or you can go to jail.

 

3. All RADIO stations teach the same thing. Woe to him who questioned any of the doctrines of the “only true religion”.

 

4. All TV networks, ie the only one (TVE), teach Catholic doctrine.

 

5. All LIBRARIES have removed all books that contradict this doctrine. Until 1966, there was the Index of Prohibited Books, a list of jewels from literature that could not be read without permission of the local bishop, under grave sin, of course! The Index had been operating since 1571, following the Council of Trent. Only in the XVII century, books of 93 authors were banned, including the spiritual Pascal (1623-1662) and the Catholic Descartes (1596-1650), who is often considered the father of modern European philosophy. Descartes wrote in French and not in Latin [4] for all to understand, and reaffirmed the need for individual conciousness: "I think, therefore I am".

 

6. There are no political parties or free unions. No Professional College (not Psychiatrists, Doctors, Philosophers, Psychologists, Historians, nor other Professors, Nobody) publicly manifests itself against the aberrant teachings of the political or church system. First of all, because among themselves they are divided and there are many addicts to the regime. Secondly, because any minimum reservation to the official truth is silenced in the media, and because responsible he goes to jail or loses his job, as happened with known personalities.

 

7. There is no Internet and no mobile phones. You leave Spain, but almost always as an emigrant. In the 1960s, there were three million Spaniards outside Spain.

 

With this panorama in the background, I continue to tell my personal experiences. I was ideologically integrated until I was 20, addicted to the regime and to the church. The people of my greatest confidence and intellectual or moral honesty were addicted to the regime.

 

In January 1967, at the age of 18 and just after the December-66 referendum, the prestigious rector of our seminary in Tarazona, Rafael Garde, who had studied in Leuven (Belgium), in a morning mass with the philosophers and theologians of Major Seminary said that the recent referendum “gave stability to society and that Franco was a providential person in the history of Spain”. All those students, about 50, we were already in cassock all day. And in the last banks, one of the senior theologian students, who was Basque, he was talking alone, looking left and right: “But what does this man say!”… And his bank mates at the mass corrected him to be silent, and then he was silent.

 

I was not a theologian yet, but I was behind because I was in charge of choosing and singing the liturgical songs at each Mass, along with another companion who played the organ. I then did not understand the Basque Ezquerro (that was his name), I understood later. Like this anecdote, there are many significant, which suggest the difficulty we had to get out of that ideological circle. If in your family there was no critical historical memory, you were already of the regime. From 1968, I began to learn that there was another cosmology on the back of which I had been told.

 

With this context, I join with the sexual theme. I do not remember any conscious and voluntary masturbation until my 23 years (from 1971). I am and have always been heterosexual. The most difficult years to control the sex drive, in my case, were those of my adolescence. As “in dreams it was not sin”, I remember that sometimes (14 to 15 years) I slept wishing to have some erotic dream. And indeed, sometimes, I had ejaculation during sleep, but without sinning, that was the important thing. Once you achieve some mental self-control until the age of 17, the following years are less difficult. I did not go crazy or neurotic or psychopathic (against some “doctors”).

 

Therefore, as I have experienced it, I have no choice but to affirm the possibility of some sexual (although not total) self-control, whether there is mental or spiritual training. On the contrary, those nonsense that told us to go running, to shower with cold water or to put metal cilice (I put it sometimes), go in the opposite direction and reaffirm sexual obsession, even if they reduce it momentarily. Self-control must be mental and logical, assumed by a motivating cause (sublimation).

 

In any case, I do not advise anyone to this rigor that I lived. There must be another type of sex education, because strict self-control creates unconscious sexual obsessions, elevates sex to a category that does not fit and, pretending otherwise, you end up seeing woman as a sexual instrument, not as a person.

 

The previous sentence, “Christ, if in the end I do not serve, at least make the message go ahead”, I wrote it at a time when I had frequent and strong sexual desires (at age 24), perhaps exacerbated by the stress of my imminent priestly ordination. There were moments in 1972 when I came to doubt my priestly vocation, for if these strong sexual desires continued, I could hardly maintain the optional celibacy demanded of Catholic priests. Would I have gone the wrong way? Would it be a warning from God to withdraw in time, before ordering me?

 

In August of 1972, during the summer course at La Granja of Segovia, I formally consulted the subject with an Italian expert of about 50 years, a priest who spoke during the conference. And his wisdom made me quieter. He told me that, sooner or later, sexuality always explodes when we least expect it. But we should not give it too much importance if we feel really vocational. The important thing is not the sex, but the love to the others, “God is love”. [5]

 

He also told me that he knew enough bishops, good Christians and good bishops, who did not sleep at night if they did not masturbate before. This consultation is the last one I did on my sex life, and it was very useful for me, although it did not end at all with my doubts, as seen by my written sentences three months later. In any case, my crisis of self-esteem at the final moment was not so great as to leave.

 

 

[1] “Beyond the sea, there will be a place where the sun shines brighter every morning”. Nino Bravo, a famous Spanish singer, died at age 28 in a road accident seven months after I wrote this sentence (April 16, 1973). He left a daughter of 15 months and another on the way —Footnote for the English edition.

 

[2] “Everything arrives and everything is left behind, but ours is to pass, to pass making roads, roads on the sea”. Antonio Machado was born in Sevilla-Spain (1875) and died in Colliure-France on 22 February 1939, fleeing the Spanish Civil War, which officially ended on 1 April 1939 (but not really). He was a poet, writer and teacher, one of the most significant of the new democratic Spain. The singer-songwriter Joan Manuel Serrat, born in Barcelona of Catalan father and Aragonese mother, popularized his poetry. The Franco regime was so afraid of his work that, on May 5, 1941, Antonio Machado was expelled post mortem from the Institute Teachers' Body. It was necessary to wait until 1981 to be rehabilitated (with the same formula) as professor of the Instituto Cervantes of Madrid, by ministerial order of a democratic government. See:

https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonio_Machado —Footnote for the English edition.

 

 

[3] José Ortega y Gasset (1883-1955), in the Prologue to the 4th edition of his book España invertebrada (Invertebrated Spain), published in 1921. It was taken from Revista de Occidente: Madrid 1963, 13th edition, page 17.

 

 

[4] DESCARTES, René (1637), Discourse of the Method: “And if I write in French, which is the language of my country, and not in Latin, which is that of my preceptors, it is because I hope that those who serve only their pure natural reason will judge my opinions better than those who believe only in the ancient books”. Taken from Descartes, Discurso del Método, Editorial DIÁLOGO, Valencia 2003, didactic edition, page 100.

 

[5] I Letter from John 4:8: “He who does not love has not known God, because God is love”. The Interfaith Bible, edited by United Bible Societies (SBU), year 2002.

 

 

  • “When I look at myself, Christ, and look at the Message, I feel like hesitating. If it were not because you are capable of the impossible, I would distrust this Message”. October 31, 1972.

 

  • “If you lived only for yourself, you could rebel. But life is not yours and you are not yours: you belong to everyone”. November 6, 1972.

 

  • “I want to accept myself, but a force pulls me into the unrest. Will all life be like this? I am not happy about my country or this world falsely called 'developed'. I am not happy with this Church that is tied up and divided, self sterilized and worthy of distrust. I'm not happy with the twentieth century. When will this tension end? Masses give me chills. This consumerist and alienating life makes me feel bad temper... In spite of everything, I am still waiting, I want to live”. November 6, 1972.

 

  • “To find out how not to inform a country, to watch TVE”. [1] November 7, 1972.

 

  • “The jungle is dark, but it is full of diamonds” —Arthur Miller, 'Death of a Salesman'. November 9, 1972.

 

  • “There is a piece of brain —prolonged closure— where I go throwing the old stuff, unknowns without decoding, parentheses of life. When this closure occupies most of the house, it is a problem to put new things. I feel that my relativism reaches God. Either I clean the closure or I leave this house”. Nov 13, 1972.

 

  • “If God demands everything, it is because he can do everything. When I stopped making purposes, I began to fulfill them” —Javier Garrido. November 13, 1972.

 

  • “Pedro Mendoza must disappear”  [2] November 13, 1972.

 

  • “Sure, sure that you can even teach the Truth based on our lies. That gives me some comfort”. November 19, 1972.

 

  • “A man should not play if he does not know how to lose”. [3] November 19, 1972.

 

  • “Today is one of those days when everything goes wrong. I will pray”. November 27, 1972.

 

  • “When I do what everyone does, it's when I most doubt what I do”. November 29, 1972.

 

  • “An entire planet, an accomplished civilization, a collective rapturousness... does not weigh as much as a milligram of freedom”. December 02, 1972.

 

  • “I like people who have suffered”. December 12, 1972.

 

  • “To know Christ is to make him known”. December 12, 1972.

 

  • “Bishop José Méndez Asensio orders us priests in Calatayud. There have been some companions in last summer's fruit. Christmas”. December 25, 1972.

 

 

 

[1] TVE, acronym for Televisión Española (Spanish TV) — Footnote for the English edition.

 

[2] Letter of Saint Paul to the Galatians, 2:20: “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me”. The Interfaith Bible, edited by United Bible Societies (SBU), year 2002

 

[3] Sentence in one of the best films of Nicholas Ray: The Lusty Men (USA 1952).

 

 

My first Mass

It was then customary to celebrate and presiding the first mass in your locality or parish of birth. That's how it was. It's like a wedding, family and friends are invited to a meal. In my case, we celebrate it in Cetina (Zaragoza), a small town of about a thousand inhabitants.

 

My parents lived in Calatayud from March 1970, but we kept Cetina's house. There were about 170 guests, there was no restaurant, but a salon enabled. But I cared more for my new identity than for food, of course. Before it was the Mass; I quote here textual excerpts from my written homily.

 

“Dear brothers:

“One of these days lends itself to say the usual, a few topics, a few things we have already heard... and everyone, so happy. I thought it best to read what I want to tell you. So I use less time and I tell you everything and only what I want to tell you. First of all, I feel compelled to give thanks to God. I am convinced that God exists. And is love.

 

“No one has priest's wood. First of all, because priests we are not made of wood. [1] And then, because appearances deceive a lot. So, if I have reached a priest, it's not because we saw it coming, but because God has wanted it. As I thank God, I can not but thank some other people, because God does not speak to us with glare and thunder, but through our neighbor, which means to be near. For me, this neighbor has been many people. Surely to each one of you who are here I owe you something, even if you do not know it. But, anyway, I want to name proper names […].

 

“Finally, I thank you all for your presence and for expecting something from this Mass. At the same time, I have to say that I already owe you: you are all my family. Help me to be a good Christian, because now other problems begin. Any career ends not when you have the title, but when you die. Today I feel like talking clearly what I have inside. I will try to say it briefly.

 

“You see, in recent years, things have changed a lot in the Church. It is a time of crisis. If I am honest to you, I rejoice in my soul that it is so... Until a few years ago, Spain was a ‘Catholic nation’. We said it like that, and it sounded so great. Now, especially after Vatican II, we have realized that neither Spain nor Italy nor Ireland nor any country can be Catholic. For a simple reason, because countries are not Christians: they are Christian people, one by one... We must forget those times when everyone —or almost everyone— came to Mass, they were married by the Church. That's already happened and we should not be afraid for that.

 

“In the years to come, we will see how the number of Christians decreases [...] In many things, we have to start from scratch, like the first Christians. But we must do it as a team. The image of the solitary priest must disappear, especially in the century of communications. That way we're not going anywhere.

 

“The Gospel is not made for the Martians. A Christian is always ready to raise his people […] And the people of Aragon, like many others, need brainwashing, to realize that they also have the right to be protected, because we are not all going to live in the capital.

 

“But beware of this; a Christian is not only to make plans for development, but to be a sign of eternal joy: to fix the world is only a consequence, the Kingdom of God is much more. In short, a Christian is always busy making better the world around him and improving or changing unjust laws. And this must be done always in team; and with transcendent vision, of eternal life.

 

“It may be that some of you who hear me do not believe in God or live as if God does not exist. I thank you that you have come and I want to tell you one thing. If you do not believe in God because you are convinced, if you are sure that religion is the opium of the people, I ask you, as a Christian, to be honest with yourselves and to preach your truth in a loud voice, as St. John Lorenzo de Cetina [2] preached and gave his life for his faith. If you do not, you have no right to say anything about believers. Actions speak louder than words.

 

“If you do not believe in God because you are doubtful, I invite you to continue seeking. We all hesitate many times even in the most important problems. Doubting is a men thing. But to remain in doubt, in transcendent things, is foolish.

 

“But that, yes, seek humbly. If I have learned something in 24 years of life, it is that the human —to live and find the truth— needs to be armed with courage and simplicity. Away with pride and nonsense! No one asks us permission to be born or to die. And that means that we are dependent, that we are not gods. On this, I do not know anymore.

 

“And to you, Christians, who believe that Jesus Christ lives and is in the midst of us today, I congratulate you on behalf of him and wish you to be happy. Ask the same for me. Life is short and he is coming soon”. December 29, 1972.

 

 

 

[1] Idiomatic expression: tener madera de means to have knack for, to have the makings of, to be born to... —Footnote for the English edition.

 

[2] Juan-Lorenzo de Cetina, patron saint of this town of Cetina, was a Franciscan priest personally executed by Mohamed VII of Granada (1392-1408), in the courtyard of the Alhambra, on May 19, 1397, Saturday. Pedro de Dueñas died with him. Both are officially beatified. Clement XII (1730-1740) approved his cult on August 29, 1731.

 

See, among others, IBÁÑEZ, Joaquín (1997): Commemorative Book of the VI Centennial of San Juan Lorenzo de Cetina (1397-1997). Cetina 1997: VI Centennial Commission, pp. 100-103. See also Directory of Saints Franciscans, at

www.franciscanos.org/selfran32/juancetina.html.

 

 

4. Three young priests

In Moncayo

Years 1973 to 1976

 

 

 

Year 1973, news

UNITED STATES, January 10: Luis Buñuel, Spanish nationalized Mexican, receives the Oscar for best foreign film. The Franco censorship did not allow filming in Spain. It was made in France.

MOROCCO, January 13: 11 aviation officers are executed, implicated in an attack on Hassan II.

UNITED STATES, January 27: Cease fire in Vietnam. The ten years of war give this provisional balance: 56,000 American soldiers killed and 135,000 million dollars spent not to win the war. Vietnam is ruined by bombs, chemical weapons and so on.

UNITED STATES, March 27: Marlon Brando rejects the Oscar for his film The Godfather for “the treatment inflicted on the Indians on television, in the movies and on Reserves”.

FRANCE, April 8: Picasso dies at age 92. He was born in Málaga (Spain).

URUGUAY, June 30: The recently inaugurated dictatorship is reaffirmed.

CHILE, September 11: Coup d'Etat in Chile, directed by Pinochet. Salvador Allende dies in his post. The palace of La Moneda, bombed. The US embassy seems to be behind the process. In this same month, day 29, Pablo Neruda dies.

PUERTO RICO, October 22: Pau Casals dies at age 96.

SPAIN, December 20: The President of the Government, Luis Carrero Blanco, has been assassinated in a spectacular attack. His Dodge Dart, of 2.3 tons, dismissed to about 20 meters of height. Today has also begun the process 1001: Camacho, Sartorius and the worker priest García Salve, among the accused.

IRAN, December 22: OPEC has doubled the price of oil.

 

 

Today revolution begins

This title sounds very picturesque and anachronistic today. But it responded to a clear and precise historical consciousness, without special messianisms. Not only I, but several million Spaniards were in a state of boiling. It was ridiculous to pretend to be happy out of collective illusions. Pure individualism was an early and barren suicide. In Spain, the Franco dictatorship had to be dismantled and another model of the Church had to be invented. And all this, we needed it with the seal of urgency, because we were already several centuries behind.

 

Both the political and ecclesiastical dictatorship were mountains that seemed eternal. But just as eternal or greater was our illusion. We did not go beyond reality, we wanted to change it. [1] And we learned to suffer and calculate their weight or their resistance, which only knows who works it in front. Already from the first days of my new ministry in my own hometown, I came across that resistance and gossip. After my first Mass, I still spent a few days in Cetina, and on New Year's Day 1973, Peace Day in the liturgy, I said in the homily some things that they were not accustomed to hear:

 

Every year we celebrate now the day of peace, which the world needs so much... As the Second Vatican Council says, “the arms race is the most serious plague of humanity and harms the poor in an intolerable way”. [2]

 

Every year the world spends $ 200,000 millions in armaments. Putting in 1000 pesetas bills, we can go to the moon and back, go again and back, and we still have green bills to give 16 rounds to planet Earth. Sure, then there is no money for schools. Only 6% of Spanish university students are of workers' origin.

 

If anyone thinks this is politics, he is absolutely right: this is politics. It seems that in Spain we are afraid of politics. At times, one hears that ‘some priests get into politics’... Certainly, it may be that some priest, from time to time, goes beyond the line and turns the Word of God into a springboard to recklessly throw some political opinions.

 

But in all probability I know more priests than you, and I can assure you that those priests intend to speak the truth and preach justice. Anyway, if to tell the truth is to get into politics, blessed be the policy.

 

And we hear very curious phrases: “I go to church to be preached to the gospel, not to be told about politics”. Well, these phrases have to be taken with tweezers. If not, they easily deceive you. These issues do not come only from young priests. I am going to read you some textual sentences, written 8 years ago in the Second Vatican Council and approved by more than 2,300 bishops:

 

We must pay great attention to civic and political education, which today is particularly necessary for the people and especially for the youth”. And it goes on to say: “It is just that the Church can, at all times and everywhere, preach the faith with true freedom, teach its social doctrine, exercise its mission among men without hindrance, and give its moral judgment even on matters relating to the political order when required by the fundamental rights of the person”. [3]

 

Therefore, when we hear the famous phrase that “some priests get into politics”, we must first know what policy is involved. I want to end with an invitation to dialogue. If anyone does not agree with what I have just said, I would like you to tell me when you have an opportunity. It is the only way to begin to understand each other. Now, let us continue to celebrate the Eucharist of Peace, which is Justice and Love”. January 01, 1973.

 

At the end of January 1973, our bishop Méndez Asensio, who provisionally arranged his task with that of archbishop in Navarre, assigned us to the Somontano de Moncayo. By the way, we made him come from Pamplona to Tarazona; because the initial work assigned to us (a town of 700 inhabitants, a village of 100 and a third of 200 as “coadjutors”) it seemed ridiculous to us, three young priests with individual car:

 

—“It is better not to enter the Moncayo and we go to Andalucía, where they can give us a parish of ten or fifteen thousand inhabitants; At least, we would have work there” —we thought. We were talking on the phone from the Tarazona Seminary:

 

—Father Méndez, we are thinking that in all conscience we can not accept that work. What are we going to do there three young men with three cars? It's better not to make the entrance —I told him on the phoneI on behalf of the three.

—In conscience, in conscience! Where are you now? —he asked me.

—In the building of the Seminary of Tarazona —I answered.

—Wait for me there, now I go —he ordered with decision.

 

He came that morning to Tarazona, explained the situation of Somontano and promised us that he would soon add more towns. He convinced us of his plan and, above all, his closeness. So, at the end of January 1973, we entered Vera de Moncayo, central town where we would live. At first they told us: The tall man, the low man and the one of the scar. [4] Later we were “ascending” and we were, respectively: Pedro, Santos and Alfredo.

 

  • “Today begins the revolution (with your permission, Lord)”. January, 20, 1973.

 

  • “What you have ahead is a whole desert in white: it will not come to you, but you must go to it” —David Castro, former co-worker in Brussels. January 20, 1973.

 

  • “Persuasion has become the way to impose itself”. January 28, 1973.

 

  • “Tobacco is an attack on mankind. I'm going to quit smoking”. March 1, 1973.

 

  • “Life is short, but the wait is long”. March 8, 1973.

 

  • “The day of my death, if someone loves me, do not cry for me”. March 11, 1973.

 

  • “I have not seen a Christian for a long time”. March 30, 1973.

 

  • “In my life I have never done anything so that I can feel satisfied”. April 28, 1973.

 

  • “Today I would not dare to defend it, because I would find myself defenseless. But I must confess that I see no inconvenience, on the part of the Gospel, to a free love between several men and several women. If they live the faith in common, why can not they live in common all the consequences?” April 28, 1973.

 

  • “In 80 years of life, I have not heard a sermon like yours” —the neighbor of Vera's house, Saint Isidro Labrador's day. May 15, 1973.

 

 

 

[1] In Spain, the expression "yo paso de eso" (I'm not into, I do not care about) became fashionable. Being "pasota" (apathetic), in some environments was synonymous with being "modern". But it was not my case.

 

[2] Original Latin phrase in the Constitution Gaudium et Spes, 81: "Quapropter denuo declarandum est: cursum ad arma apparanda gravissimam plagam humanitatis esse, ac pauperes intolerabiliter laedere".

 

[3] Gaudium et Spes, 75 and 76. The Constitution Gaudium et Spes is, for many, the most finished document produced by Vatican II (1962-1965). It took three years of drafting and revisions. In July 1964, the first provisional official text was obtained, which was the fourth drafting, and finally distributed to all the bishops of the world. He was then called Scheme 13, because of the position he occupied in the works. 169 participants took part in the discussion, plus the written amendments. He passed the mandatory commissions and a fifth draft was sent to the bishops on May 28, 1965. It was voted by paragraphs from 15 November 1965. And on December 7, 1965, the last overall vote gave 2,309 favorable votes, 75 against and 10 nulls (Taken from Concilio Vaticano II. Madrid 1967: BAC, 5th edition, pages 245-411).

 

[4] Original expression in Spanish: “el alto, el bajo y el de la cicatriz” —Footnote for the English edition.

 

1973 October:  Parochial choir, Vera de Moncayo

 

  • “If I did not believe in God, I would scratch the earth” —a lady from Litago. May 15, 1973.

 

  • “Appealing years to give yourself authority is to take it away. Age, like all qualities, is ambiguous and relative, and is not an essential element in the judgment of a situation”. June 16, 1973.

 

Our intense active life, sometimes typical of beginners, exhausted us and suffocated us. As we went into the ocean of “pastoral life”, as we said then, my inner peace resented.

 

  • “I have a fatal feeling: that here in the human species you can not be free, we can not transfigure ourselves, there is too much evil, error and pain. I'm only 25 years old. If I do not have an accident, I have many years to suffer the tension that supposes me to exist. If I took it seriously, I would go crazy. But as I doubt, I can not afford that luxury. I can not live alone nor let me abstract, it's natural, it's eccentric. But if one day I am sure, that day my anger will rise to the stars and not the last corner of the universe will go unpunished. Until all is consummated and the avenging calm has been placed on the throne of life and death. That day will be great and my anger will be quieted!” July 27, 1973.

 

  • “Sleep, eat, waste time when you least expect it. Wanting too much and not having anything... It all seems like a macabre game, where puppets are us”. July 31, 1973.

 

  • “I dreamed that the air was alive. The walls looked at me between hate and ruthless mockery. There were lions waiting for me. Hungry and intelligent heads loomed everywhere. There was a buzzing that vibrated like guitar strings. One hand pushed me inside and I heard a sore voice that spread its power against the outer darkness: 'come, my son, do not go out, they are going to find out! I dreamed that whoever was speaking suffered because I could not against them”. August 6, 1973.

 

  • “Beware of the TÚ [1]  with some politicians. September 27, 1973.

 

  • “The body is an enemy. I wish I could say something else. But I can not”. October 10, 1973.

 

  • “You have to look for life, that death alone comes” —a lady of Añón. November 18, 1973.

 

  • “Is not life like a rainbow of hope between the utopia dreamed and the way that is walked?” —José María de AREILZA. November 21, 1973.

 

On December 20, 1973, two agents of the Civil Guard of Vera de Moncayo and the three priests went to the smallest bar of the three in Vera to watch the 21h news (we had no TV at home). That same morning they had killed Carrero Blanco, although only late in the afternoon was recognized by the Franco government as an attempt. [2] The "diplomatic relations" between the Civil Guard an us were tense, although it was noting personal. We gave each other the good evening with "solidarity", because the moment that lived Spain affected us a lot to the two groups.

 

We concentrate the five on the monochrome TV. The little establishment was almost empty. There was only the owner behind the bar and a table of four customers playing the deck. Those of the table did not show signs of being interested; they represent here the absent Spain and I tell the scene for posterity:

 

—“The investigations carried out —Torcuato Fernández Miranda, President of the Cortes, solemnly introduced— demonstrate that Admiral Carrero Blanco, President of the Government, has been assassinated”...

—¡Las cuarenta! —One shouted from the guiñote table. [3]

¡Bieeeen, sí señor! —his partner supported him (very well, yes sir!)

 

 

The agents did not tell them anything, but I approached the table and begged them: “Can you lower your voice a little, please? It's a little while”. And they continued to argue in a low voice. Neither the attack nor the Spanish situation took away their dream:

No, sir, he had them undone! —the losers protested.

He did not have them undone, no, man, no! —the winners answered.

 

The moment was recorded in our neurons. The three priests then we did film-forum and this scene reminded us again that half Spain did not know anything about. The following morning, when picking up the newspaper, I met at the Post Office with the Corporal of Civil Guard (and Commander in chief of the zone).

 

Before the big headlines of the few newspapers that entered the town, I felt obliged to define myself and accompany him in sentiment (many priests we were signed by the Civil Guard of that time; they considered us “dangerous”):

 

—“This is not going well, this is not the solution” —I said, to get out of the trouble.

—“Esto se veía venir; hay mucho vicio en España” —he told me verbatim (“this has long been coming; there is much vice in Spain”).

—Bye.

—Bye.

 

The “much vice in Spain” made us laugh at the three priests, when we talk about. But life continued and there were also other “vices”, such as the following:

 

  • “I have quit smoking. It does not make sense to put smoke to the body, it reduces the energies and it contaminates the environment. What costs me the most is not to stop smoking, but to stop participating. There are people who offer a cigarette as if offering you their own life. But you have to go through that risk. If not, there is no progress. It would also require a substitute, a product that can be carried in the pocket; that does not take away the appetite; that is well visible. I'm sorry for Tabacalera hoy, but I declare myself an enemy of tobacco (not of those who smoke). This no smoking option appears as legalistic (have you made any promises?); but you have to overcome that antipathy to refuse a cigarette from who would give their heart”. December 30, 1973.

 

 

 

[1] Beware of familiar terms with some politicians — Footnote for the English edition.

 

[2] Luis Carrero Blanco was the current president of Spanish government. In theory, he was the substitute of Franco —Footnote for the English edition.

 

[3] Guiñote is the name of game, very popular in Aragon. “Cantar las 40” (Sing the 40), with jack and king, is to add 40 points. Ver https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gui%C3%B1ote —Footnote for the English edition.

 

 

Year 1974, news

SPAIN, March 2: Catalan Puig Antich and Polish Heinz Chez were executed today.

SPAIN, March 9: The Permanent Commission of the Episcopate is in solidarity with the famous homily of Añoveros, and publicly reminds the Franco government of the right of the Catholic Church in Spain. The police are removed from the bishopric of Bilbao.

COLOMBIA, March 22: The Spanish guerrilla priest Domingo Laín has died in combat, according to the government.

PORTUGAL, April 25: Bloodless coup d'etat of the armed forces. It’s called the revolution of the carnations, in the rifles and in the people.

FEDERAL GERMANY, May 6: Willy Brandt has had to resign.

SPAIN, June 13: The Archbishop of Navarre publicly denounces the violation of the Concordat by the Franco government, in the face of the police eviction of churches and ecclesiastical premises.

UNITED STATES, August 8: Watergate case. Nixon has had to resign.

SPAIN, September 13: 11 dead and 70 wounded by the attack on the Correo Street, next to the General Directorate of State Security, in the very center of Madrid, Puerta del Sol.

SPAIN, November 4: The Madrid-Barcelona airlift has been officially inaugurated: 20 daily flights with hourly intervals.

NORWAY, December 10: Irish Sean Mac Bride, founder of Amnesty International, has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, shared with former Prime Minister Eisaku Sato.

 

The best feats are those that no poet sings

With the sociological experience that gave us the active life, we perceived better every day the abyss existing between the intimate exploits of the people and the official truth. This critical tension was going to last forever for us. The notebooks where I took refuge (whose originals I still keep) contain strong moments of that perception. In this book, I transcribe some of those moments.

 

  • “Ten-fifteen pm. There is silence in the house of Vera's priests. Silence in the street and in my room. My door, open: only the stove in the hallway speaks. The alarm clock keeps repeating that life is short, that time walks at an incalculable speed. But night freezes speed. Cyclically, this mysterious human species needs to deny time and deny itself: to sleep. Tomorrow, the sun will light up this planet with new rays. The earth will have given another turn other than all its turns. The Vera’s priests will return to think of God, the unknown, the absent. And they will continue to ask themselves questions that something will be in charge of gagging. Perhaps there will be some news and gag more subtly the spark of the Spirit. May be Vera's priests have done more than we think. Perhaps a year, the first year of priests, be hasty to draw conclusions. Maybe we'll find what we're looking for. Tomorrow we will have to find a reason to get out of bed again. Life is a waiting room; to stop waiting is to die. Evil, inertia, the weight of gravity, environmental apathy… Who can against all? Will it take a thousand years to be happy one day? Good night, mom. Good night, God”. January 24, 1974.

 

  • “We strive to make people happy. And when they get it, we say to them: cursed the satisfied”. February 16, 1974.

 

  • “When I start thinking, my joy disappears”. February 28, 1974.

 

  • “The only thing that can make me happy is the revolution”. March 1, 1974.

 

 

ORIGINAL

Translation

 

ESTRIDENCIA —canción

 

“Lo nuestro es la lucha,

la lucha a muerte,

sin el mito de la suerte.

Con el grito de los fuertes

en los labios que no besan

ni se casan con el juego

de las risas que no pesan.

 

Es el verso sin acabar,

el ridículo inesperado.

El no saber lo que me espera,

el dudar la carretera.

Los colores indiscretos,

los dolores y secretos

que no se pueden contar.

 

Lo nuestro es cantar

con la guitarra rota.

Lo nuestro es imaginar

el amor que alborota mis sentidos

y da color a mi cara

sin espejo y sin luz.

 

Lo nuestro es el ring sin salida,

la piscina sin agua,

el susto en la esquina.

El miedo a la tregua,

el silencio enervante,

el lloro sin lágrimas.

 

 

STRIDENCY —song

 

“Ours is the struggle,

the fight to death,

without the myth of luck.

With the cry of the strong

from lips that neither kiss

nor marry the game

of the laughs that do not weigh.

 

It is the unfinished verse,

an unexpected ridicule.

Not knowing what awaits me,

by doubting the road.

The indiscreet colors,

the pains and secrets

you can not tell.

 

It is ours to sing

with broken guitar.

Ours is to imagine

the love that stirs my senses

and gives color to my face

without a mirror nor light.

 

Our thing is the dead-end ring,

the pool without water,

a fright in the corner.

The fear of truce,

the nerve-racking silence,

crying without tears

 

 

 

 

El enemigo es nuestra riqueza.

Lo que repugna, nuestra belleza.

Nuestra especialidad, buscar.

Nuestra paz, para la guerra.

 

Tendremos juntos la salida

para no vernos ya más.

El carril será distinto,

solos nos veremos en la vida.

 

Pero al final nos unirá la misma meta:

el mar que llaman del ‘más allá’ (bis)”.

8 marzo 1974.

 

 

The enemy is our wealth.

What disgusts, our beauty.

Our specialty, search.

Our peace, for war.

 

We will have the exit together;

to not see us anymore.

The lane will be different;

we will be lonely in life.

 

But we will join the same final goal:

A sea they call ‘the afterlife’ (bis)”.

March 8, 1974.

 

 

 

 

  • “The best feats are those that no poet sings”. March 20, 1974.

 

  • “When I start writing in this notebook, I ask myself one more time why I write these things. I do not know if this notebook will be lost. And even if it was not lost, I do not know if this will ever be worth it for anyone. Within doubt, the inevitable companion of my life, I set myself to wonder about myself, to see if the invisible God allows me to know something about myself. A year and three months ago, Someone made me enter a fascinating path, which, perhaps, would bring me closer to his face. Maybe from here the wait would not be so pathetic... As always, my ways have not been theirs.

 

“If human logic were not vitiated at the root (my logic), I could make it very clear that either I do not go with God —and this would be a catastrophe— or I do not know anything about my identity or about his. Either way, I have reason to suspect that I am farther from God than ever. We live here three priests. Apparently, we are Christians: there are no economic or prestige interests. But we do not communicate in depth, we are afraid of conflictive situations. Among the causes, not so much ill will as lack of technique. This team, even with partial achievements, greater than in the classic pastoral inherited, has not worked as we wanted.

 

“Among the causes, the structural situation: a Church shattered, cowardly, worthy of compassion and pity. And we have also a State unable to serve the people. It is a pregnant time. Everything is there, in the silence of tonight. It is not little to realize. But an analysis not oriented to hope, would be alienating. That is why I still hope for a possible, modest, but possible paradise here. I think, deep down, that's why I write. As long as I have my X-ray, I can see myself. The bad thing will be the day I get tired of writing what happens to me”. March 20, 1974.

 

  • “To die, no reason is necessary. To live, we need all”. March 22, 1974.

 

  • “Mañana, madrugaré para ll-orar”. [1]  March 28, 1974.

 

  • “I am afraid they will know who writes me” —a 67-year-old nun, speaking of her “community” partners. April 8, 1974.

 

  • “One hour of ours is 1,000 hours for the Somontano”. [2] April 10, 1974.

 

  • “If we want to have Christians in the 21st century, we must realize this: either the dead end of sociological faith is perceived, or the Christians (beginning with Rome) are preparing their own tomb”. Good Friday, April 12, 1974.

 

  • “I am not of this world”. April 13, 1974.

 

 

[1] “Tomorrow, I will rise early to pray & cry”. Orar (to pray) and llorar (to cry), united by a middle script, to pray and to cry at the same time:ll-orar” —Footnote for the English edition.

 

[2] Somontano (sub monte) means a region located at the foot of a mountain. In our case, it’s Somontano de Moncayo (2,314 m), provinces of Zaragoza and Soria. See https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moncayo Footnote for the English edition.

 

 

ORIGINAL

Translation

 

AUNQUE NO TENGO NADA —canción

 

Yo bien sé que,

aunque no espero nada,

Tú eres mi esperanza.

Yo bien sé que,

aunque me haya perdido,

Tú eres mi camino.

Yo bien sé que,

aunque ando en tinieblas,

Tú eres mi linterna.

Yo bien sé que,

aunque ya no sé nada,

Tú eres mi verdad.

 

Aunque no tengo nada

para sentirme feliz,

si Tú lo tienes todo,

no quiero nada:

Tú eres mi fin.

 

Tú penetras en todo.

Si te llamo, no me olvidas.

Siempre vienes conmigo.

Siempre tienes un modo

de volverme a la vida.

 

Aunque no tengo nada

para sentirme feliz,

si Tú lo tienes todo,

no quiero nada:

Tú eres mi fin”.

 

18 abril 1974.

 

 

ALTHOUG I HAVE NOTHING

—song

 

I well know that,

although I expect nothing,

You are my hope.

I well know that,

although I'm lost

You are my way.

I well know that,

though I walk in darkness

You are my flashlight.

I well know that,

although I know nothing,

You are my truth.

 

Although I have nothing

to feel happy,

if You have it all,

I want nothing:

You are my end.

 

You penetrate everything.

If I call you, you will not forget me.

You always come with me.

You always have a way

of turning me to life.

 

Although I have nothing

to feel happy,

if You have it all,

I want nothing:

You are my end.

 

April 18, 1974.

 

 

 

 

  • “I'm not hungry. I have no identity crisis or emotional void. I'm not pursued by the police. I do not face distressing problems. Is it possible, my God, that I am doing your will?” April 25, 1974.

 

  • “There are two kinds of nationalism: narrow and universal pass”. April 25, 1974.

 

  • “While in our media ‘uninformative’ we continue to spend so much time to football, is that we are an underdeveloped country”. April 27, 1974.

 

  • “Did you leave the road at 100km/hour? Well I did. Thank my Lord”. June, 28, 1974.

 

  • “Scout girls from San Sebastián”. July 22, 1974.

 

  • “Youth of the Somontano, in Bulbuente”. August 4, 1974.

 

 

The “case Fabara” [1]

On Sunday 4 August, a significant event occurred in Spanish Catholicism: 34 priests of the Archdiocese of Zaragoza resigned against their archbishop, Pedro Cantero Cuadrado, procurator in Cortes since 1967 by direct appointment of Franco and member of the Council of Regency until the Proclamation of King Juan Carlos. If a similar event had occurred in Madrid, Barcelona or Bilbao, its media impact would have been even greater.

 

Franco's TVE was quick to sympathize with Cantero and to discredit those irresponsible priests. A few days later, on August 7, Cantero made a break in his summer vacation, accepted the resignation of the protesters, and returned to his homeland, Carrión de los Condes (Palencia) on his vacation. This decision of Cantero, along with his usual procedures, displeased the Vatican and the Spanish episcopate of that time:

 

“No bishop belonging to a great diocese wrote to Cantero: neither Tarancón of Madrid-Alcalá, nor Jubany of Barcelona, nor Bueno Monreal from Sevilla. Neither had among the conservative prelates better placed, who were José María García Lahiguera of Valencia and Angel Suquía of Santiago. In fact, the problem seemed more typical of Cantero than of the sector to which he belonged, since he did not give the impression of having special predicament within the episcopate as a whole; at that moment there were about seventy bishops in Spain, between residential and auxiliary, and only ten had been interested by his situation”. [2]

 

The Fabara case was another of the most interesting experiences of my life. For the human quality of its protagonists; for the cause defended (civil and ecclesial democracy) and by the procedure followed: constancy, analysis and joint commitment. In my intimate notebook, I have nothing written on the “Fabara case”. For one simple reason: in case of police registration, I should not give facilities, as I was also a collaborator of the scandal against Cantero, visible ecclesial head of the regime. Only two external priests, Julio Calvo and I (both diocesan of Tarazona) were actively involved with the resigned ones of Zaragoza.

 

Since 14 June, Wirberto Delso was dismissed as Regent Priest of Fabara. But this time, the system had it not as easy as other times and the contained flame exploded. Until August 4, the date of collective resignation, we had long weekly meetings, usually on Sunday afternoon. They were in the city of Zaragoza, in various places. The meeting was never held at the first proposed address. There was a link that sent you to a second address. And from here, sometimes, even to a third place. It was a question of “misleading the police”, because then it was not uncommon (especially in small towns) to find the Civil Guard at the entrance to a subversive meeting.

 

At nights from Sunday to Monday, in my second-hand Seat 600 and on highways of 1974, I returned from Zaragoza to Vera de Moncayo (85 km), almost always dead of sleep, but alive with illusion. At two or three o'clock in the morning, before going to bed, I would make a French omelet without making a noise when I beat it, so as not to wake Santos and Alfredo. The next day, I would tell them the news.

 

One of those crazy nights, around three in the morning and under the hood of my 600, I took from Tabuenca to Vera de Moncayo the stencils with clichés of the Informe FABARA (clandestine Report). Before opening the hood, I looked carefully to see if it was “the couple” (two civil guards) in the vicinity. Usually they guarded our entrances and exits at night, they made us stop when we came from the other towns. Sometimes they would stand at the very door of our house: “Good evening”, we greeted each other politely.

 

Those clichés in my hands were “the proof of the crime” and that would have been enough to stop me ipso facto. There were about 70 pages with the chronological information of the Fabara case and its background. It was pure “conspiracy” against Cantero, one of the strongmen of the regime (Council of Regence, three people). Julio Calvo and I had printed dozens of copies of the Fabara Report with the copy machine in Seminary of Tarazona (because there were no photocopiers or they were very expensive).

 

The seminary priests ordinarily left us the keys and always attended to us kindly as companions. We print all the games we could in one day, for Zaragoza and Aragon. Julio kept the copies in Tabuenca and I took the clichés, which weighed less, but were more dangerous, being “the originals”. Julio and I also concelebrated the famous Mass to Support Wirberto Delso in Fabara. At the entrance to the church, of course, we had a corridor of civil guards with machine guns.

 

Julio and I personally visited all the other bishops of Aragon (five), to see what position they had and if they thought to do something to stop Cantero. The conclusion we drew was that: in this case, nothing could be expected from the bishops, despite their good intentions. Javier Osés, Auxiliary of Huesca, was too marked and with little room for maneuver. Damián Iguacén had just entered Teruel. In Barbastro, Jaca and Tarazona also showed no signs of creativity. In fact, “Aragon did not exist” for them, they kept to canonical jurisdiction: “the bishop is the pope in his diocese”.

 

On the other hand, confronting Cantero meant publicly opposing Franco, whom we had already seen him cry with tears at the funeral of Carrero Blanco eight months earlier. The political environment was red hot (see here news of 1974). Execution of Puig Antich and Heinz Chez; Homily of Anoveros; Revolution of the carnations in Portugal… And all this there was in a single month (March 1974). One day before the dismissal of Wirberto Delso, the archbishop of Navarre (our “Father Méndez”) publicly denounced the violation of the Concordat by the Franco government, against the police eviction of churches and ecclesiastical premises (June 13, 1974). In short, the way bishops of Aragon to stop Cantero had to be discarded.

 

The Fabara case and the bravery of its protagonists fueled my utopia. The very fact that I knew people so conscious and so committed to liberating evangelical values, was enough for me to continue to risk my life in that direction. Experiences like this will accompany you all your life, even when you are no longer young and idealistic. There are very evolved human beings, they exist, even if they are few. Wirberto Delso died in April 2009.

 

 

[1] Fabara is a village in the province of Zaragoza, with 1,184 inhabitants in the last population census of 2016. See https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fabara.

 

[2] SANTA OLALLA, Pablo Martín de (2006): El clero contestatario de finales del franquismo. El caso Fabara”. Madrid: CSIC, Hispania Sacra, vol. 58, number 117 (2006), pp 223-260. Pablo Martín de Santa Olalla Saludes is Doctor of Contemporary History (UAM).

See:  http://hispaniasacra.revistas.csic.es/index.php/hispaniasacra/article/view/7

 

 

  • “Fear is a lack of faith”. August 19, 1974.

 

  • "Do not look anywhere, because God does not show his face”. August 30, 1974.

 

  • "One of the most disgusting things I know is preaching today, as a Christian, for a people at parties”. September 7, 1974.

 

  • —“And you believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God? —Carlos asks me.

—Yes —I reply.

—Excuse me, will you let me laugh? —he says spontaneously.

—Of course, laugh quietly”… October 20, 1974.

 

  • “I go as a day laborer to the harvest, three weeks. Two years as a priest had made me forget what 8 or 10 hours a day of work were, bending the kidneys and cold... 'I have never seen a priest harvest', they tell me everywhere. Someones think that we are going because 'the bishop pays us little' as priests. One of my vintage colleagues heard yesterday on Franco's television that some priests are workers ‘to fill their low salary as priests’, but that from now on they will raise our salary. It’s the first thing he said to me this morning, with real urgency:

 

—Congratulations, Don Pedro, you do not have to come to harvest anymore, they are going to raise the pay to the priests —I was stunned!

 

“And finally, there are the creatives: 'They are going to harvest because they are young and they are bored'. That is, a total experience”. October 25, 1974.

 

Our atypical works have given much to speak in the six towns we carry and in others more. They have seen us painting at home, as mason’s mates, on a farm tractor or in a suit and tie… Santos has gone to the almonds. Alfredo takes a flock of sheep (“I am the Good Shepherd”, we made a joke about ourselves). A shepherd of Vera became ill and Alfredo had a meeting with the other shepherds to see if they could take his sheep while the illness will last. None could, and Alfredo said to them: “Well, I'll have to take them myself”. Alfredo knows the subject, because he had sheep in his house. When some sheep have to give birth, they consult with Alfredo.

 

The substitute shepherd is Santos, who also took the sheep some days in Alfredo's absence. And I, the auxiliary, who took them one day near the village, previously taught by Alfredo. Sheep are not silly; they did not follow me at first. And besides that, there is always some conscientious objector ewe that emits bleating looking at another place, like wanting to leave the fold. But in the afternoon they were already friends of mine, especially because I played the harmonica for them, while grazing. They raised their heads, stopped chewing and looked at one another: “this is new”...

December 13, 1974

 

Translation

 

His Excellency, Most Reverend Bishop of TARAZONA:

 

I consider it my duty to inform Your Excellency and Most Reverend about the conduct observed by the Priest D. PEDROMENDOZA GONZALO, Parish Priest of the Church of VERA DE MONCAYO of this Province, who in the homily of the Holy Mass celebrated in said Municipality in commemoration of the anniversary of the death of Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera, said textually:

 

“That this Mass was not only for José Antonio, because it was an Order of the Civil Governor, but that so Christians were the victors as well as the vanquished, and that what happened in Spain was because they could not understand each other, but that politics was the mission of all, and that concern for the Nation was also a matter of the Church, according to the Second Vatican Council. That in all the western nations of Europe there were political parties and that in Spain were not allowed, but now the current government seems to want to let political associations form”.

 

At the end of the mass, it is a traditional custom to pray a funeral oration on the tombstones of Jose Antonio and Fallen in the War of Liberation, to which the said parish priest objected at first, although later he prayed, stating that it was not necessary to pray on the mentioned tombstones, since it had been done in the Church, and that the said custom should be suppressed.

 

The attitude of this Priest gave rise to comments of displeasure on the part of the faithful that in approximately number of 100 people attended the said mass.

 

I kiss your Pastoral Ring to Your Most Reverend Excellency

 

Zaragoza, December 13, 1974

THE CIVIL GOVERNOR

 

COMMENTS of PEDRO MENDOZA (March 2006)

 

 

1) I was not legally the parish priest of VERA DE MONCAYO, but one of the three priests who acted since January 1973 in Añón de Moncayo, Alcalá de Moncayo, Litago, Trasmoz, Bulbuente and Vera de Moncayo. We lived in Vera because it was the geographic center and the village of more inhabitants (about 700 then). At first, they told us: the high, the low and the one with the scar. When people got to know us, we got to be, respectively, Pedro, Santos and Alfredo.

 

 

2) Usually we took weekly shifts to serve the villages. And we also take turns annually in “hot potatoes” or unpleasant activities, such as certain anachronistic processions, blessings, customs or celebrations, such as “Jose Antonio's Mass”, which I had to preside on November 20, 1974, a year exact prior to Franco's death. In matters of political incidence (which were very few a year), the homily was always written, revised and approved previously by the three priests, even if only one was who whould said Mass.

 

 

3) I received this copy casually, 32 years later, in March 2006, at which time I write these COMMENTS. I never had access to this letter of the Civil Government of Zaragoza nor the Bishop of Tarazona showed me then, only read me some sentences. Don Francisco Álvarez Martínez from Oviedo (Asturias), 49 years old, and bishop of Tarazona from April 1973, asked me what I said in the homily.

 

 

4) I told him that I would bring it to him in writing and tell the governor on my part that “I was not retracting anything, not a single comma”. He said something like: “No, man, no, we'll fix it”. Bishop Álvarez worked later in Calahorra-Logroño, Orihuela-Alicante and in Toledo as Primate, where he was appointed Cardinal. In 1974, we interpreted this Governor's letter as a “Notice of Penalty fee” next time. There were fines of up to 100,000 pesetas (600 EUR) for homily. And in addition, a jail in Zamora for priests.

 

 

5) Most likely, the homily was not recorded; its reproduction would have been more accurate. I do not keep it, but I remember that I started saying something like this: “It is my job to preside over a mass in memory of a war that should not have happened, a war with which no Spaniard under 50 years we had anything to do”

 

 

6) In November 1974, Spain was the only Dictatorship of Western Europe (even Greece and Portugal had changed). It was usually the corporal of the Civil Guard, present there, who informed the Civil Government, as confirmed to me by Salvador, the Mayor of Vera, who came the next day to our house to talk to me.

 

With a porron wine for a witness, [1] Salvador, who was a very good person and a very good neighbor (at least for us, the priests) told me:

 

—“Do not mess with those issues. Talk about the Virgin and things like that... Do not you know that an Office is sent to the Governor?”

 

I tried to calm him:

—“Salvador, you do not defend us at all. And if the Corporal of the Civil Guard tells you something, tell him to ask us. We are of age, we know what we say and why we say it”.

 

 

 

[1] In Aragon and other Spanish regions, as a sign of hospitality, it was custom to have a porron wine on the table, which was sometimes drunk while talking. The “porrón” is a traditional wine pitcher. It can also be beer or other liquids. To drink from the porrón, you raise it above your head and tip it towards your mouth. If used well, there is nothing to wash after drinking. —Footnote for the English edition.

 

See pictures of people drinking in porrón:

 

https://www.google.es/searchq=porrones+de+vino&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=

0ahUKEwi9ifnmh_HSAhXEA8AKHbCqCykQsAQIIA&biw=1075&bih=569&dpr=1.56

 

 

Year 1975, news

SPAIN, January 21: Many Navarrese priests arrested because of their homilies. They denounce the progressive repression of the Franco regime.

SPAIN, March 15: Suspended in Madrid, by order of government, the First Christian Assembly of Vallecas.

SPAIN, March 21: The minimum wage is set at 280 pesetas daily (1.68 EUR).

SPAIN, June 7: Authorities withdraw passports from lawyers Felipe González and Enrique Múgica.

UGANDA, June 22: Two British delegates, on their knees before Idi Amin. The scene has been filmed and distributed to African cinemas.

ITALY, June 26: The Aragonese priest José María Escrivá de Balaguer, founder and general president of Opus Dei, dies in Rome.

SPAIN, September 27: Three FRAP militants and two ETA members have been shot today. There are National and international protests. The Spanish embassy in Lisbon has been burned. Ambassadors in Spain retired by Federal Germany, United Kingdom, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway.

SPAIN, November 20: Franco is dead. Arias Navarro cries for TVE. Juan Carlos I swears before the Cortes like king of all the Spaniards the 22 November. On 23, the corpse of Franco was buried after three days of endless queues to “say goodbye”. Attend Pinochet in his colorful white coat. A slab weighing fifteen hundred kilos protects his coffin in the basilica of the Valley of the Fallen.

MEXICO, December 18: Restores diplomatic relations with Spain.

 

“To have hope, you have to sleep well”

This idea, which appears in August 1975, I learned from Lidia, a young Navarrese who was then religious. After that “self-study summer course” in Guipúzcoa, communal and pleasant, I no longer saw her. In that same summer 1975, I decided to go as a missionary to Burundi. But we will go in parts.

 

  • “If they take my time to think, they can do with me what they want”. January 01, 1975.

 

  • “Three diocesan priests of Tarazona go to Burundi”. January 14, 1975.

 

  • “I sold an old Seat 600 for 14,000 pesetas (84 EUR) and bought another almost new for 25,000 pesetas (150 EUR). I think I've been lucky. With this pretext, I take advantage of a general revision of the “vehicle” of the Message. March 05, 1975.

 

There are at least three types of communities:

 

  1. Those who do not smell history,

  2. Nosey or superficial, and

  3. Those who live history intensely, either as Submissive or as Free (leaders).

 

I work in the first block. And this tension can have two outputs:

 

  1. One of rupture (idealistic impatience) and

  2. One of acceptance (realistic patience).

 

In other words, I can despair or I can wait. The Chinese saying of Kuan-Tsu, 24 centuries ago, comes to me: “If your projects are for a year, sow grain; if they are for ten years, plant trees; if they are for a hundred years, educate the people. If you sow grain, you will reap once. If you plant trees, ten times. If you educate the people, you will pick up a hundred times”.

 

Historical patience entails humility. Haste carries efficiency. As the Christian must opt for the oppressed, his historical patience is the sign of the truth of his message. But, on the other hand, life is short and effectiveness is paramount. Between these two dialectical poles I move. In any case, to incarnate is to become street lamp, unconscious light, quiet, without haste, suicide being light to others. Perhaps Christian maturity today consists in combining historical patience with the haste of the clock.

 

Either everything is absurd or everything makes sense (and we have to find it). There are few people ready to die, because few know what they are living for. In spite of the mystery that I am for myself, I can not escape that possible meaning because I would deny the most intimate of my being, the safest and what has cost me the most.

 

In case of total absurdity, the mystery would be greater, heartbreaking. It would not make sense to go on living. I do not fit in my head that the cosmos and the people, the imagination, the intelligence and the love, are made to disappear with impunity.

 

The liberation of Jesus is above the concrete realizations of search, which are the religions or doctrines. Put another way: religions do not contain Jesus, they only indicate where one is going towards truth.

 

With respect to the pain, it seems to me that God can not take it away from us, although he does not forget us when we cry with or without tears. Jesus has not taken away the pain, but he has told us that it has a meaning. He also did not understand his own pain, although he accepted it as a part of reality: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” [1]

 

With respect to the love, I think there are many principles and few methods. Love is expansive and conflicting, it bothers those who do not love. Christians are scattered. It is not true that the Church is one. As a Church, it is not going anywhere, there is no synthesis assumed: it is not agreed on where the goal is or on which road to take. While this institutional synthesis arrives, I must accept my particular challenge: rural, agricultural, Aragonese, Spanish society.

 

If I continue here it is because I am not the reason of myself and because the gospel is worth more than I am. How to hit a suitable lifestyle? I have a different situation. In some respects, I believe that I am less oppressed, less a slave. I have a fixed amount of money a month. I can leave here whenever I want. Many of them do not.

 

To seem more to them would be to make me day laborer, like those who do not choose their work. It would be best to do without the pay, small but sufficient. Others have it done. I have never been a farmer or mason's pawn, but I am willing to do so as not to make empty the message that no one will give instead of me.

 

In a democratic state, there would be no reason to waive a salary that is offered to some gentlemen, the priests, volunteer promoters of recognized religion. But let's analyze. What the Christian-priest should not do is admit an advantageous situation to other sectors, even in a democratic state, because above the votes is the ethical conscience. And if, to opt for the poor, he must renounce a democratically recognized situation, he is obliged to do so. In the case of Spain, several evils and few goods come together.

 

ADVANTAGES to continue as we are: It is not much salary, like a low worker. People are used to it. If the priest engages and works, most people do not see it wrong, even justify it.

 

DISADVANTAGES to continue as we are: If we work, but do not affect the collective life or “not seen”, the message is distorted. And if we charge as priests the state's pay, doing in addition another work of surroundings to approach the working people, the majority only sees in that double work a lucrative purpose, as has happened here to us. Recall these comments:

 

 

 

[1] Gospel of Mark 15:34.

 

 

 

  1. “Mass is of little importance to them”.
  2. “If they do not make money now that they are young, when then?”
  3. “If they do not work, they get bored, they are young”.
  4. “Congratulations, don Pedro, you no longer have to harvest. The state will soon pay you a higher salary”.

 

 

 

 

DIFFICULTIES ADDED: The Catholic Church is not emancipated from the state. It has privileges over other religions. Many people reject a Christianity that is incapable of questioning the system. Many workers reject priests who have no family, no contract renewals, no unemployment problems. The Church spent a lot of time marrying the State. The vast majority of Spaniards have ceased to be Christians or have never been. We are in a real country of mission.

 

PASTORAL CONSEQUENCES: EXAMPLES

It will be a direct conflict with the Official Church, which does not accept a pastoral missionary approach. Pressing towards another vision in the subject of the sacraments, increasingly devalued:

 

1. Do not register baptism or death certificates.

2. And if they say “impossible”, leave them in the hands of laymen, never of the priests.

3. Do not make wedding-papers, because this certifies only that someone is baptized, not that he is a Christian.

4. Not to the daily mass, but every week or every 15 days, and well participated.

5. No one would come to “comply”. Absence is not sin.

6. If there is no heating (like here), go to hot places, not to church.

 

All this would mean a chain of conflicts within the Church and civil sanctions, including prison. But we would be happier. If all three of us agreed, that would be enough to begin with. If we were 10 priests in the diocese, it was the better. And if we got to 50 in Aragon, this would already be significant news. It's a shame that it can not be done. Even with more moderate methods and without being drastic, you can not take a step either. They do not even want to talk about it.

 

 

CONCLUSION: Giving up the state salary as a sign of freedom is surely the least evil that can be done. Of course, there will always be those who say that we are “subsidized by the communist party”... March 5, 1975.

 

  • “I could never imagine that two years of active life could wear us out so much”. March 10, 1975.

 

  • “YO CREO EN LA ESPERANZA, an original book”. [1]  April 12, 1975.

 

  • “The weight of the Church we carry a few priests, a few nuns, a few lay and some other bishop”. April 22, 1975.

 

  • “The fact of believing ideologically in God is accidental. Serving others is essential”. May 01, 1975.

 

 

 

[1] José María DÍEZ ALEGRÍA, its author, was born in GIJÓN, Asturias, in 1911 and died in MADRID on June 25, 2010. In December 1972, he was a professor at the Gregorian University of Rome and published, without prior censorship, the book Yo creo en la esperanza (I believe in hope), which in just a few weeks went around the world, selling 200,000 copies in several languages. For this book, he was expelled from the University and the Society of Jesus. He called himself “un jesuita sin papeles” (an undocumented Jesuit), and “a squatter of the universe”, since he arrived almost to the 100 years.

 

JOSE MARÍA had two brothers in the Spanish military dome: LUIS, head of the Military House of Franco, and MANUEL, head of the High Staff of the Army. One day, General LUIS committed a traffic violation and the agent who took note of the fine, when he saw his last name on the card, asked if he was familiar with the “famous theologian DÍEZ-ALEGRÍA”. And there was no sanction. See www.pedrolamet.com.

 

 

“BEING BURNED IS:

 

  • Lose the centers of interest,

  • Remain impassive before the driving ideas,

  • Not having mental security,

  • An imperative need to find oneself,

  • The deepest experience of one's own nullity,

  • The mental laziness to imagine an exit door,

  • The winter of a spring,

  • A rare thirst for God,

  • A jump into the void,

  • Having to leave, die,

  • The fear of dreaming again,

  • To expect only one thing: may God have mercy on us,

  • Weep bitterly,

  • The moan without tears”. July 01, 1975.

 

 

  • “To have hope, you have to sleep well”. —Lydia. August 11, 1975.

 

  • “I have nothing to keep, no thread that makes me think that the future will be better than the present. It is enough for me 26 years of life to know, once and for all, that there is nothing here that convinces me fully. The only reason I continue to live is because God wants to. If everything depended on me, long ago I would have left this world. What really disgusts me is not that everyone has some reason not to commit suicide, but that this is, in general, so rachitic”. August 17, 1975.

 

  • Tragic and humorous definition of CHURCH, elaborated by two young rural priests after their first three years of public life: 'A set of practices, acts, processions, brotherhoods, morals of a fable and novenas without future, that happen cyclically without purpose; and all this encouraged by a confirmed bachelor wearing a black cassock or tie (the habit does not make the monk), whose only incentive is that his children and grandchildren do not pass through daddy's ways’”. September 01, 1975. 

 

 

CHRISTIANOIDS Manifestation

 

 

CITIZENS Manifestation

 

Images of several centuries ago

Previous day banners

Candles in their hands

There is enough light

The police divert any traffic

The police deflect the protesters

Some are of tourist interest

Some are subversive

Some are hooded

They are not for comedies

Nobody bothers us

Can be detained by the Police

The next day,

everything will stay the same

No one knows

what will happen tomorrow

Mothers go with their children

This is not a children's thing

The national anthem is played

Some wonder where God is

There are calendar of processions

They go if they have

something to say

Some are televised

Not usually come out to the press

Pleasant songs

Shouts and silences

They know the round trip

They do not know

how far they will arrive

Nobody risks anything

Sometimes you risk your life

 

 

 

Septembre 01, 1975

 

 

 

 

 

Be radical or extremist?

 

You do not have to be extremist, you have to be radical:

Some people think they are radical because they are extremists.

 

They do not realize that the root is in the mind, not in force or violence.

 

Every revolution consists in changing ATTITUDES, not just structures.

 

To be extremist is to make revolution impossible,

It is own crazy or beginners.

 

 

 

 

Extreme RIGHT

 

 

Extreme LEFT

 

They live almost exclusively from the past and a little from the present. They do not just think of the future, unless it is immediate.

 

 

They want to fix everything in a stroke, as if the man were a tree that can be sawed wherever you want.

 

 

They lack imagination and creativity. They have difficulty accepting the new, they have no evolutionary mentality. His big argument is: “It's always been done that way”. Everything is fine if everything stays the same.

 

 

They always find reason to say that something is wrong. Sometimes, by a purist or aesthetic criteria. They want to reach the end, but they do not know how. Therefore, they instinctively reject methods.

 

If you change their environment, they feel sold: their meter does not work. Where they can not control, they feel nervous, distrustful. They are localists, they are afraid of pluralism. To feel saviors is for them an antidote.

 

 

Sometimes they act as if the story begins with them. If they came to dominate, their method would be dictatorship. In this they coincide with those in front: not knowing how to move forward democratically. They are too impatient, they do not respect the rhythms.

 

 

September 01, 1975

 

 

 

  • “Yours is not to do it, but to try”. September 8, 1975.

 

  • “History always needs two positions: the individual and the collective. History progresses in two ways, which normally coexist: 1) with strategy and 2) with martyrs. When the first fails, you have to use the second. And if the second fails, there is nothing to do”. October 31, 1975.

 

  • “If you want something to become fashionable, prohibit it”. November 04, 1975.

 

On November 20, 1975, Thursday, Franco died. And coincidentally, two of the three priests, Santos and Pedro, we were that week —17 to 23 November— at an international congress of the Rural Christian Movement, held in Banyoles (Girona). Due to our absence at that precise moment, Vera's creative persons (who were not always natives of Vera) proposed and extended also this time their “news”: that the two priests had been sent to jail “preventively”. Chieftains are very fond of the “preventive” bombings and the systematic lies, as they demonstrated to me during seven years of rural priesthood in Spain (1973-1976 and 1980-1984) and four more as a missionary in Burundi (1976-1980).

 

Total, that in Vera they lasted little their rumors, because the Sunday 23 November already we were there. But, of course, they put us in a bad mood and we had no choice but to return to the cold war: “We have had a very pleasant week with other rural Christians from six countries in Banyoles (Catalonia). The bishop of Girona has attended, as well as many priests and Christian militants. To those who come to the weekly meetings, we will give you more information. In short, we need to be better informed and better organized, both Christian and rural. In the new stage that opens in Spain, it is absolutely necessary”.

 

I had already decided since the summer 1975 that I would leave the Somontano and I would go as a missionary to Burundi. I did not want to go to Latin America to not meet other dictatorships in Spanish, which would have been dangerous to my psyche. I needed another ecosystem. Only knew it for now Santos and Alfredo.

 

At the end of the year, we talked with the bishop to delimit dates and plans. I would leave Vera in April 1976, I would go to Madrid in May for a two-month course —“Pastoral Africana”— and in July, to Paris, to update French. Until April 1976, I did the normal life, only with more joy. I already had a new project and felt that there was horizon again.

 

Continue on MOMENTS (1948-1988), block B

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