Salazar: Catholic Statesman or Fascist Despot?

Was the Portuguese dictator António de Oliveira Salazar a Catholic statesman or a Fascist despot? What should Catholics think of him? Should he be held up for emulation as a model for Catholic rulers or should he be condemned as an enemy of the peoples’ liberties? I would be very interested to get your opinions.

Here’s a fairly comprehensive wikipedia profile of the man:

I can’t find any critique of his regime from a Catholic standpoint but this is an interesting article from a ‘pro’ perspective:
Salazar and his goddaughter, at Fatima, in the Chapel of the Apparitions, on 7 September 1951.

**On 17 May 1959, the day when the monument of Christ the King was inaugurated and blessed, Mgr Sezinando hands President Salazar and his government ministers the text of Portugal’s national consecration to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, which would be pronounced during the ceremony. **

According to wikipedia:

The Sanctuary of Christ the King (Portuguese: Cristo-Rei) is a Catholic monument and shrine dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ overlooking the city of Lisbon, Portugal. It was inspired by the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and inaugurated on 17 May 1959. At that time, Portugal was being ruled by the authoritarian President of the Council António de Oliveira Salazar, and it was on his orders that the Cristo-Rei was built.

He’s to be emulated, though I think that Franco was better.

[quote=maritain]Should he be held up for emulation as a model for Catholic rulers or should he be condemned as an enemy of the peoples’ liberties?

“The world has heard enough of the so-called “rights of man.” Let it hear something of the rights of God.” — Pope Leo XIII

“I bless him [Salazar] with all my heart, and I cherish the most ardent desires that he be able to complete successfully his work of national restoration, both spiritual and material.” — Pope Pius XII

Of course he was not perfect—few men are!—but he was one of the greatest Catholics of the 20th century.

Ad Jesum per Mariam!


It is strange how he and Franco get portrayed as fascist.

It’s not possible to be both?

Well no, a fascist couldn’t be an example to other Catholic leaders, so being an example of Catholic government is incompatible with being a fascist leader. Though he wasn’t a fascist so it’s a moot point anyway.

After reading up some on both the Salazar regime and fascism, I’d say the jury’s still very much out on that issue.

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