Manuel Fal Conde and Catholic Unity


Detail of the painting "La unidad católica", by José Martín Monsó

We recommend reading an article by Rafael Gambra that was published in June 1988 in the Boletín Fal Conde of the Circulo Manuel Fal Conde of Granada.


Among the various historical circumstances that made the Crusade of Liberation and its victorious outcome possible, one of the most important was the rise of Don Manuel Fal Conde to the position of Chief Delegate of Carlism. Without him, it would have been very difficult to reorganize the Traditionalist Communion to the point of being able to put an entire army – the Requeté – on a war footing, which would be decisive for that Uprising and its victory.

During the de jure reign of Don Jaime, the division of the Integralists was unresolved and a new one, the Mellistas, emerged. The proclamation of the Legitimate Succession of Don Alfonso Carlos, following the death of his nephew, Don Jaime, in 1931, caused both the Integralists and the Mellistas to put aside their grievances and rally around the old monarch, thus restoring the unity of the Communion. The fervent religiosity of Don Alfonso Carlos, as well as his impeccable antecedents, dating back to the last war in which he was general of the armies of his brother Carlos VII, predisposed him to a sincere and unanimous allegiance.

His brief reign (1931-36) was immensely fruitful for Carlism and for Spain. Undoubtedly his greatest success was the appointment of Don Manuel Fal Conde as Chief Delegate of the Traditionalist Communion. Fal Conde was a young lawyer from Seville who, coming from Integralism, had already distinguished himself by his zeal and enthusiasm for the Cause. A man of great integrity and a fervent Catholic, he was also distinguished by his total willingness to give himself completely to his position. Experience shows that it is easier to find someone who is willing to give his life in battle or in bloody persecution than someone who is willing to give all his time, his professional life, his future and that of his family to an endeavor that offers little or no possibility of profit, as was the case with Carlism. Fal gave himself body and soul to the point of merging his life, his home and his possessions with the mission he had received.

The great religiosity of Don Manuel Fal Conde was not an obstacle ─quite the contrary─ to understanding the great struggle ─perhaps the bloodbath─ in which the impiety and anarchy of the Second Spanish Republic would end. In accordance with this intuition, his first effort was to revive and organize the armed force of Carlism, the Requeté. And he began this work with what was closest to him, but also the most difficult: to revive Andalusian Carlism from its ashes and to imbue it with the military spirit of historical Carlism. The concentration of the Requeté of Seville in El Quintillo, reviewed by General Cortina, a survivor of the Carlist War, was like a clarion call to the Requeté of all Spain, especially that of Navarre, to prepare for a combat that was already inevitable and close.

Already on the eve of the Uprising, it was Fal who, with greater determination and firmness, was able to negotiate with the Army the minimum conditions of authentic Spanishness under which the Requeté would join the struggle. It was to Fal Conde’s inspiration that we owe the beautiful phrase ANTE DIOS NUNCA SERÁS SERÁS HÉROE ANÓNIMO [Before God, you will never be an anonymous hero], a symbol of the religiosity of the Crusade and the supernatural hope of the combatants. This phrase was the Catholic and Spanish response to the cult of the “Unknown Soldier” so in vogue in Europe since the Great War.

The contribution of the Requeté to the victory and that of Don Manuel Fal to its mobilization were never recognized or appreciated by the victorious General, who until the end avoided the political and moral commitments he had made to Carlism. God knows, and history will value them ─ it is already valuing them─. The always victorious joy of the fighters could not be shared by their Chief Delegate, who knew only threats and banishments.

Once the war was won, Fal’s fine religious instinct warned him that another more subtle and cunning enemy of the faith was emerging for a struggle that only in peaceful and insidious procedures would differ from the one that militarily had just been defeated. The destruction of the Catholic unity of Spain, the laicization of its State ─the de-Christianization of our society in short─ would be its ultimate objectives. The Modernist heresy, now dressed up as Christian democracy, Maritainism and “aggiornamento” would soon be ready to give insidious battle. Don Manuel Fal Conde had no other weapons at his disposal at that time than prayer and trust in Divine Mercy. He was, consequently, the great initiator of a Crusade of prayers and masses that has been prolonged through the ” Círculo Fal Conde” of Granada until our days.

The great breakwater of all these “progressive” tendencies of liberal Catholicism was to be the Council that was to be called “Vatican II”. When Fal Conde became aware of the predominance that the modernist wing was gaining in it, and foresaw the immense evils that could result for the faith and for our country, he called for a competition to award a book on Catholic unity as the political-social foundation of Spain. The prize would be donated by the Editorial Católica, which he himself had founded years before. I had the honor of winning the prize with a book entitled LA UNIDAD RELIGIOSA Y EL DERROTISMO CATÓLICO (RELIGIOUS UNITY AND CATHOLIC DEFEATISM), published by Editorial Católica with a clear prologue by Don Juan Vallet de Goytisolo.

The book could only have a testimonial character. It was already too late: the conciliar declaration on religious freedom (or pluralism) was already a fact. Its disastrous consequences are there for all to see, and it may take generations to remedy them. Don Manuel Fal Conde, already old and ill, having lost his voice due to a throat operation, accepted the facts and said no more. But he could leave this world with the satisfaction of having fought the good fight and of having been present at his last battle.

Rafael Gambra

Translated by Daniel Rodríguez Guerra, Carlist Circle Camino Real de Tejas

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