As the unwavering bulwark of the established order the Church of Rome has inevitably been seriously involved in the political upheavals of Catholic countries. It was impossible for Spain to become republican without upsetting the precarious balance between the Church and its enemies. The violence of the recent attacks on Catholic institutions; however, is probably the result of special conditions in that country.
Under the aegis of the monarchy, whose benevolent protection it always enjoyed, the Church was able to monopolize large tracts of the few fertile areas in Spain. A keenly felt economic grievance was thus added to the hostility aroused in the proletariat by the clergy's wealth and power. Age-old hatred for a privileged class may have waited only for the disorder and excitement of a revolutionary period to break out in violence.
The Spanish Republic's avowed determination to protect ecclesiastical property by martial law, if necessary, is factual evidence which supports its accusation of communists and monarchists as responsible for the destruction of churches. It has taken the only wise course. The new Cabinet cannot afford to incur the enmity of Rome. If the republican government survives at all, it must walk a narrow road for several years, and any widespread conflict with the Church will roll it into the political quicksands.