National Catholicism (Spanish: nacionalcatolicismo) was part of the ideological identity of Francoism, the political system with which dictator Francisco Franco governed Spain between 1939 and 1975. Its most visible manifestation was the hegemony that the Catholic Church had in all aspects of public and private life. As a symbol of the ideological divisions within Francoism, it can be contrasted to national syndicalism (Spanish: nacionalsindicalismo), an essential component of the ideology and political practice of the Falangists.
In 1920s France, a similar model of National Catholicism was advanced by the Fédération Nationale Catholique formed by General Édouard Castelnau. Although it reached one million members in 1925, it was of short-lived significance, subsiding into obscurity by 1930.
The U.R.L. represented the clearest politicization of the university in the service of the new regime's National-Catholic precepts. While there was no explicit exclusion of women from higher learning, their presence at the university level was discouraged and not recognized during the two first decades of the regime.
In the 1930s and 1940s, Ante Pavelić's Croatian Ustaše movement espoused a similar ideology, although it has been called other names, including "political Catholicism" and "Catholic Croatism". Other countries in central and eastern Europe where similar movements of Francoist inspiration combined Catholicism with nationalism include Austria, Poland, Lithuania and Slovakia.
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