Josep Torras i Bages

The cathedral in Vic, where Josep Torras lived the last part of his life.

Josep Torras i Bages (Catalan pronunciation: [ʒuˈzɛp ˈtorəs]), born at Les Cabanyes, Alt Penedès, on 12 September 1846, died at Vic, Osona, on 7 February 1916, was a Catalan thinker, writer, and bishop. He was one of the main figures in the turn of the 20th century Catholic Catalan nationalism.


Torras and the Catalan traditionsEdit

Josep Torras strongly criticized the secularism displayed by the "militant nationalism" of Enric Prat de la Riba (1870–1917). In 1892 he wrote La tradició catalana, where he emphasized Conservative Nationalism and warned against the erosion of Christian values. Exalting rural life, the family, religion, and the love of Catalan language, the land and the language took an almost mystical dimension in his point of view.[1] He was convinced that the Catalan nation had to be Christian in order to establish itself as something enduring and meaningful in the future. His words "Catalunya serà cristiana o no serà" (Catalonia will be Christian or will not be) are engraved at the gate of Santa Maria de Montserrat abbey.[2]

Torras was very interested in the study of the seny, a virtue often considered a Catalan cultural symbol, and encouraged others, like Josep Abril i Virgili and Jaume Raventós, to do so.[3] Based on good sense and wisdom, seny was perceived by Torras to originate in the traditional Catalan rural farm (casa pairal or masia). The life in the traditional non-urban setting with its frugality, hard work, and religious piety was the right ground for the development of the values and social norms embodied in the Catalan seny.[4]

Ecclesiastical workEdit

Doctor don José Torras y Bages.

In 1882 Torras became counselor to bishop of Barcelona J. M. Urquinaona. Specializing in conflict-solving among Catholics, he also was the censor of some newspapers that were compromised in certain inner troubles (procesos canónicos) of the Spanish Church at the time.

Years later, in 1888, Josep Torras, after analyzing the growing secularization of Spanish society, wrote the book El clero en la vida social moderna in Spanish. In his work he wrote straightforwardly about the often integrist or reactionary position of the Catholic Church in Spain, and sought to encourage the Spanish Catholic clergy to adapt to the spirit of the times and to focus on moderation and personal spiritual discipline, advice that went largely unheeded at the time.

Torras was promoted to become archbishop of Burgos in 1906 and Valencia in 1913, but he declined because he did not want to put a distance between himself and the mission he was committed to in the heart of Catalonia.[5]


Even though most of his works have been published in compilations under the title Obres completes, his abundant correspondence, crucial for the understanding of certain issues surrounding Catalan nationalism, remains for the most part unpublished.

  • Obres completes, Foment de Pietat, 10 vols., Barcelona 1912-27
  • El clero en la vida social moderna, 1888 (in Spanish)
  • La tradició catalana, 1892 (in Catalan)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Woolard, Kathryn Ann (1989). Double Talk: Bilingualism and the Politics of Ethnicity in Catalonia. Stanford University Press. ISBN 9780804715027.
  2. ^ Josep M. Fradera, Rural Traditionalism and Conservative Nationalism in Catalonia 1865-1900 Archived 2012-07-09 at
  3. ^ Carta del Bisbe de Vic a Jaume Raventós en aplegar els volums titulats Proses de bon Seny (Letter to Jaume Raventós) (in Catalan)
  4. ^ DiGiacomo, Susan M. (1987). ""La Caseta i l'Hortet": Rural Imagery in Catalan Urban Politics". Anthropological Quarterly. 60 (4): 160–166. doi:10.2307/3317655. JSTOR 3317655.
  5. ^ GER Torras i Bages - Biografia suelta Archived 2008-06-16 at the Wayback Machine

External linksEdit