Interview with Julián Gómez del Castillo on TVE (1990)

Julián Gómez del Castillo with Servant of God Hélder Câmara

[Julián Gómez del Castillo: founder of the anti-Franquist Tú magazine (alongside Guillermo Rovirosa), socialist, Catholic, militant of the HOAC in Spain (Hermandad Obrera de Accion Catolica), co-founder of the Movimiento Cultural Cristiano, and promoter of autogestión/self-management, and internationalism.]

For me being Christian is the only way that life has meaning today. I believe that we are committing a great fraud in this generation by hiding that, over and above money, the good life, consumption and stupidity, is the ideal.

Julián Gómez del Castillo: Worker and Poor Christian Militant

P: And you, who do you say that I am?

JGC: Without a doubt, the Great Liberator. Liberator of all the alienations of the human heart, those typical of human nature and those that society is imposing on our heart.

P: The response has been given to us tonight by a person, Julián Gómez del Castillo, who was an atheist, with a Marxist father, and was baptized at 18 years old. Julian, how did you pass from disbelief to the Christian faith?

JGC: I would say very straightforward. I discovered that the message of Jesus had two things which not only could be done but which were at the heart of it. That it was love thoroughly submerged in the most absolute and radical gratuity and that it was liberty. And this led me, through the humor of God, [through] a Falangist priest, logically then my irreconcilable enemy, to encounter Jesus.

P: And freely entered the Church?

JGC: I entered weeping. Not just freely but also by myself. So that on the day of my baptism I was alone in the Church and weeping.

P: And why were you weeping?

JGC: Because my family did not accompany me.

P: Not even your mother?

JGC: No one, no one.

P: Did your mother learn of it?

JGC: Yes.

P: Did she attend mass or could she not?

JGC: She thought that it was unfaithfulness to my father, who had now been dead for a few years, that she attend it, and I respect her even in this, despite the fact that she weeped.

P: From those years until now, how has your Chrisitan life gone, what evolution has it followed?

JGC: Well, since the very day of baptism I entered into Christian militancy, first in the Juventud Católica and then … with those who launched in Spain the HOAC in 1946[.] [And] I would say that it has been a life which has attempted to follow Jesus from an increasingly radical militancy of incarnation in the world of the poor and consequently of the liberation of the world of the poor. It has filled my life and I believe that in it not only have I encountered God but that I encountered this God in the brothers and sisters that filled the life of the human being [with something] superior to money and stupidity.

P: And this in the midst of multiple professions and occupations.

JGC: Yes, yes, in the midst of multiple professions, seventeen; in the midst of the incomprehension of those Christians that even put me in jail, etc.

P: What are the multiple professions that you’ve had?

JGC: Well, so, I have been a miner and a confectioner and a journalist and I have done drudge work [burro de carga].

P: A question: of what use is it to be Christian today?

JGC: Well, for me being Christian is the only way that life has meaning today. I believe that we are committing a great fraud in this generation by hiding that, over and above money, the good life, consumption and stupidity, is the ideal. And that a person without an ideal is precisely a stupid donkey. I believe that this is the great fraud that is being played on today’s generation.

In Spain, I recall, when I was a kid, an old militant atheist saying to me: “look, in life, you can lose everything except the ideal, if you conserve the ideal it can all be recovered”.

Today no one tells this to the youth and to the children, not even the priests. The Church is even afraid to speak of the ideal.

P: And this ideal for you in this moment is. . . 

JGC: The ideal is, for a Christian, a person who is called Jesus obviously. Jesus, who cannot be encountered except through the Church. And this Church, so stupidly mistreated by many “last minute” Christian progressivists, who are only raising a political hammer of threat in their dialogue with the hierarchy through the work that others have done, [and] not their own work. So, certainly, the Jesus of the Gospel is encountered in the Church and in the Church which is commanded by John Paul II or everything else seems to me [to be] political stupidity in the service of bastard interests.