Fr. Tomás Malagón – HOAC (Excerpt)

Tomás Malagón during the Spanish Civil War.

[According to Gerd-Rainer Horn, in his The Spirit of Vatican II: Western European Progressive Catholicism in the Long Sixties: “The second crucial personality in the early years of the HOAC was Tomás Malagón, born in 1917 and ordained as a priest in 1943. As had been the case with Guillermo Rovirosa, Malagón had spent the Civil War years on the Republican side. A seminary student at the Pontifical University of Comillas in Santander when war broke out, he abandoned his studies and joined the Republican military where he rubbed shoulders with socialists, communists, and anarchists, an experience which, Malagón later on insisted, affected his intellectual and moral outlook profoundly. He joined the Spanish Communist Party during the Civil War. Tomás Malagón, in the words of one of the outstanding historians of Spanish Left Catholicism, Rafael Díaz-Salazar, ‘was a precursor of political theology and the theology of liberation when they did not yet exist as such. He performed the role of liberation theologian in Spain already in the course of the 1950s.’ Malagón employed such categories of analysis as ‘the mystical body of Christ’ and ‘class struggle’ at a time when such a terminology—certainly in combination!—was still frowned upon in Catholic circles even in neighbouring France.”]

The HOAC [Hermandad Obrera de Accion Catolica] is the hope of the Church among the workers. Do not expect that you will go to evangelize the workers with welfare, charity, or top-down associations. The workers ask us for Christ. They have their anguish, their spirit of struggle, their thirst for a society radically distinct from the one that exists today. We have the right and the duty of giving them Christ, but we have no duty to water down their momentum, nor to convert them into house cats.