Enrique y Tarancón, Vicente

Enrique y Tarancón, Vicente
b. 1907, Burriana (Castellón, Valencia); d. 1994 Villarreal (Valencia)
   Cardinal Archbishop
   The outstanding contribution to Spain's modern history made by Cardinal Tarancón was in seeking to reconcile a society whose Civil War divide between victors and vanquished remained un-healed, as he steered a reactionary Spanish Church into the more progressive Catholicism of the Second Vatican Council, into disengagement from Francoism, and into easing the country's passage from dictatorship to democracy. From his personal experiences as a young priest in the Second Republic, in the Civil War and its aftermath, and as Bishop of Solsona (1945– 64) and subsequently Archbishop of Oviedo (1964–9), Tarancón acquired a robust social conscience and political awareness. Pope Paul VI (1963–78), who wanted a strong man in position to lead the Spanish Church in the twilight of Francoism and in the post-Franco era, appointed him in 1969 Archbishop of Toledo and Primate of Spain, and two months later gave him his cardinal's hat. In 1971 Tarancón was translated to the key post of Archbishop of Madrid and elected President of the Spanish Bishops" Conference. In this capacity he used his considerable diplomatic skills over the next ten years to keep the Spanish Church at the "extreme centre" of Catholicism and of national politics. The Cardinal had to disengage the institutional church from its close alliance with the Franco regime, which brought him into conflict not only with the Spanish government but also with right-wing bishops, priests and laity. When he officiated at the funeral service for Admiral Carrero Blanco in 1973, he was met with shouts of "Tarancón to the firing squad". In March 1974 he was ready to excommunicate the government if it carried out its threat to expel Monsignor Antonio Añoveros of Bilbao. Yet, although relations with the Franco regime were tense, they were never broken: Tarancón was ever a man of dialogue and moderation, in a style which came to be known as "taranconismo". Preaching during the Mass marking the accession of King Juan Carlos I on 27 November 1975, Tarancón called for a democratic programme for the nation, and mutual independence in Church-State relations. Aware that Spain was now pluralist and increasingly secularized, he ensured that there would be no church-endorsed "Catholic" political parties, though his preference was for those that were imbued with "Christian humanism". When issues arose such as the definition by the 1978 constitution of the church's future role in society, or the introduction of divorce, or church schools and religious education in schools, his defence of church demands was firm but never confrontational: in this he carried most of the hierarchy with him, to the chagrin of the "maximalist" bishops.
   Having enjoyed the support of Paul VI, Tarancón incurred the displeasure of Pope John Paul II (1978-) through his perceived failure to fight more tenaciously for what the Vatican saw as the church's "rights" in the constitution and in the 1979 Partial Agreements between Spain and the Holy See. On his retirement in 1983 he retained his independent openness of spirit regarding both intra-ecclesial and national affairs, a major concern being the need for positive ethical values in democracy.
   See also: church and state; National Catholicism; religion
   AUDREY BRASSLOFF

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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