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«Es un santo créanme, caballeros, es un santo. Pero como a mí me cargan los santos..., ¡ay, no los puedo ver!..., yo le daría de morradas al padre Nazarín, si no fuera por el aquél de que es clérigo, con perdón... ¿Para qué sirve un santo? Para nada de Dios. Porque en otros tiempos, paíce que hacían milagros, y con el milagro daban de comer, convirtiendo las piedras en peces, o resucitaban los cadáveres difuntos, y sacaban los demonios humanos del cuerpo. Pero ahora, en estos tiempos de tanta sabiduría, con eso del teleforo o teléforo, y los ferro-carriles y tanto infundio de cosas que van y vienen por el mundo, ¿para qué sirve un santo más que para divertir a los chiquillos de las calles?... Este cuitado que ustedes han visto, tiene el corazón de paloma, la conciencia limpia y blanca como la nieve, la boca de ángel [etc.] ¡Ay, si en vez de santo fuera hombre, la mujer que tuviera que mantenerle ya podría dar gracias a Dios!» (V, 1736).



«Transportée dans un état calme et au sein d'une société rassurée sur sa propre durée, cette morale, faite pour un moment de crise, devait sembler impossible. L'Évangile était ainsi destiné à devenir pour les chrétiens une utopie, que bien peu s'inquiéteraient de réaliser. Ces foudroyantes maximes devaient dormir, pour le grand nombre, dans un profond oubli, entretenu par le clergé lui-même; l'homme évangélique sera un homme dangereux... La perfection étant placée en dehors des conditions ordinaires de la société, la vie évangélique complète ne pouvant être menée que hors du monde, le principe de l'ascétisme et de l'état monacal était posé. Les sociétés chrétiennes auront deux règles morales, l'une médiocrement héroïque pour le commun des hommes, l'autre exaltée jusqu'à l'excès pour l'homme parfait...» «Entraîné par cette effrayante progression d'enthousiasme, commandé par les nécessités d'une prédication de plus en plus exaltée, Jésus n'était plus libre; il appartenait à son rôle et, en un sens, à l'humanité. Quelquefois on eût dit que sa raison se troublait. Il avait comme des angoisses et des agitations intérieures. La grande vision du royaume de Dieu, sans cesse flamboyant devant ses yeux, lui donnait le vertige. Il faut se rappeler que ses proches, par moments, l'avaient cru fou, que ses ennemis le déclarèrent possédé. Son tempérament, excessivement passionné, le portrait à chaque instant hors des bornes de la nature humaine.» (Ernest Renan, Vie de Jésus [16th ed., Paris 1879], 327-8, 331.)



The paradox in Don Pedro is exactly similar to the one discerned in the Spanish bishops at the First Vatican Council by William Ullathome, Catholic Bishop of Birmingham, England. In a letter from Rome, dated July 2, 1870, Ullathorne wrote: «If you want the glare, the glittering flat-eyed glare of enthusiasm on an idea divested of all consideration for the world and the humanity in which it is to work, fanaticism in short, you must pick out certain men of Spanish birth or extraction. One might think from them that fixed and hard ideas, pushed to the furthest extreme, were just the cure for all human ills. They very much need a dose from Dr. Newman's Grammar of Assent. They seem to fancy that men and women, the actual creatures of this world, are spirits living on fixed ideas, and devoid of disturbing elements. That is, they seem to think so, until it comes to the question of damnatory clauses, when at once they waken up to the vigour of the old Inquisition. It is painful to sit and see and hear men arguing on the exigencies of the human race, and plainly ignorant of all that is passing in the head and heart of that human race, beyond their own little fragment of it. But why should I inflict on you the scourge of fanaticism that has been inflicted on me and on others who have seen much of mankind in many ways, and who know that the human race cannot be sharply divided between luminous believers and deliberately malignant heretics. And yet these men have such kindly genial hearts, when you get through their crust of gravity and reserve towards strangers.» (Dom Cuthbert Butler, The Vatican Council. The Story told from inside in Bishop Ullathorne's Letters [London 1930], II, 113-14.) Evidence of this kind, especially coming from the other side, illuminates the background to Galdós' earlier anticlericalism.



E.g. Adolf von Harnack, Das Wesen des Christentums (Leipzig, 1900), and Auguste Sabatier, Les Religions d'autorité et la Religion de I'esprit (Paris 1903).



Nazarín says to Urrea: «Aquí no se entra sino con el corazón bien dispuesto para la piedad, amigo Urrea, y si la señora dejó en las calles de Madrid, como ella dice, su corona y todos los demás signos del orgullo social, nosotros debemos arrojar en la puerta de Pedralba las pasiones, los deseos desordenados, todo ese fárrago que entorpece la vida del espíritu. Son aquí precisas de todo punto la obediencia a nuestra madre doña Catalina, y aun acatamiento incondicional a sus designios». To which Urrea replies: «Admirándola, aprenderé el amor de Dios; y su perfección, relativa como humana, me dará el sentimiento de la absoluta perfección divina. Ella será mi iniciación de fe; por ella seré religioso, yo que he sido un descreído y un disipado, y ahora no soy nada, no soy nadie, hombre deshecho, como un edificio al cual se desmontan todas las piedras para volverlas a montar y hacerlo nuevo». (V, 1895b)



A «second conversion» is a well-known fact of the spiritual life. That of Don Manuel is discussed by Robert Ricard in «La 'Segunda conversión' en las novelas de Galdós», RO, IV (1964), 114-18.



E.g. In 1848 Antonio Rosmini, founder of the Institute of Charity, published Delle cinque piaghe della Chiesa in which he traced the wounds (or defects) in the contemporary Church to the original wound: the Church's loss of her primitive poverty whereby she had come under the power and servitude of earthly rulers; the remedy he preached was a fundamental reconstitution of the People of God, which would also break down the barrier between clergy and laity. The work was put on the Index of Prohibited Books in the year after publication; today the Index is no more and Rosmini's book is accessible to all. Far more radical is the contemporary appeal for poverty: see Église et Pauvreté; (No. 57 of the series Unam sanctam, Paris, 1966). Nowadays, also, statements like the following (not irrelevant to Nazarín) are usual in the Roman Catholic press of most countries: «The trouble is, of course, that Jägerstätter was plainly and simply right by Christian standards and behaved most laudably, but on the initiative of his own conscience alone, with no reference at all to the line that Church authority saw fit to take. There is great romantic appeal in this image of the orthodox heretic, the central eccentric, but the moral is a double-edged one. For a long time now, we have all tended to treat the currently-dominant pattern of Catholic thinking as though it were an absolute, to be equated with the faith of Christ: with altered content, the form of that habit still persists, theologically as questionable as ever, tending as before to a monolithic tyranny of the mind» (The Tablet, November 12, 1966, p. 1272a).



In England a group of this kind publish a weekly periodical called Slant and have issued a manifesto: Catholics and the Left (Stagbooks, London 1966). A member of this group, Terence Eagleton, in The New Left Church (Stagbooks, London 1966), advocates from within the Church a conception of Christianity -as an uncompromising and extremist belief that leads to politically and socially radical positions- more advanced than what Galdós was advocating in 1895 from outside the Church in Nazarín and Halma.



Clarín stated this very clearly: «Lo he dicho mil veces: el elemento lírico y el puramente especulativo de la religiosidad (dejemos el misticismo en su propia esfera) no son inspiraciones propias de este escritor; su espíritu tiende a lo práctico, es realista hasta en el idealismo; y en cuanto inventa un alma piadosa, ya le tarda verla fundando asilos o haciendo penitencia» (Leopoldo Alas, Galdós, in Obras completas [Madrid 1912], 1, 286-7. See also Ruiz Ramón, op. cit., 179-80. Robert Ricard has made the same point, but I have unfortunately not had access to his L'évolution spirituelle de Pérez Galdós (Paris 1959), which he has not reprinted with his other Galdós studies.



José Luis L. Aranguren, Catolicismo día tras día (Barcelona, 1955), p. 47.