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ArribaAbajoA note on Galdós' religion in Gloria172

W. H. Shoemaker

Critical readers have seen from the beginning173 that Gloria is a novelistic attack by Galdós on the religious intolerance of his day and a presentation, nearly a demonstration, of its inevitable and unsolvable, and therefore, we may observe, classically tragic consequences in the lives of human beings. The intolerance of Catholic church doctrine is presented in Part 1, essentially in Bishop Ángel Lantigua's174 denial of absolution for his eighteen-year-old niece Gloria because of her latitudinarianism. In Part 2 Jewish intolerance carries the novelistic burden perhaps a «fanatismo [que] no es religioso sino de raza»175 as Daniel Morton says of his mother Esther Espinoza, but equally as much a matter of conscience in himself as are Gloria's own beliefs in her.

Gloria is not essentially an anti-clerical novel as were its predecessor Doña Perfecta and the work that followed it after a brief interval, La familia de León Roch. Altough the priest of Ficóbriga, don Silvestre Romero, is rather formulistic and thoroughly worldly, he is a generally good man, of even heroic behavior on occasion, and in no way comparable to don Inocencio Tinieblas (Doña Perfecta) or padre Paoletti or Luis Gonzaga, María Egipciaca's Jesuit twin (León Roch). Among the three religious novels which comprise the group of hostile and bitter negation (1876-1878) among Galdós' early novels, the so-called Novelas de la primera época, and which are so radically different from the later positive, affirmative, even, we may say nowadays, «activist» Ángel Guerra, Nazarín, Halma, and Misericordia, even possibly Realidad, the novel Gloria is unique in attacking fundamental doctrine rather than evil practitioners, those priests who inculcate and breed fanaticism in their parishioners and devout confessional followers. Gloria, a free-thinking girl even two years earlier at the age of sixteen, openly recants her heretical ideas, and Daniel is willing to make a pretense of being a Christian and to accept baptism (for his love of her and her honor), but neither of them in heart or conscience has changed. In 1880 doña Emilia Pardo Bazán held that both were «falsos» in «lo que representan».176

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The religious elements in Gloria are of several different kinds: among them, 1) symbolical characters and their names (Ángel, Gloria, Lantigua, the illegitimate child Jesús, Caifás,177 Barrabás, Serafina, Judas (puente de), etc.); 2) the entire structure of Part 2, wherein the characters and events of the private story parallel day by day the Holy Week celebrations from the day before Palm Sunday through Easter;178 3) Krausist ideas; and 4) Biblical   —110→   material. The present paper is devoted to the last two of these elements, and although both have been substantially treated before, some supplementary considerations and data may serve to give additional support, to firm up, as it were, what has already been said. The two are, of course, closely related, sometimes inseparably, as will be seen.

Both Menéndez Pelayo and Clarín, although from opposite critical points of view, saw Krausist influence at work in Gloria. The former declared soon after the novel's appearance that in it Galdós had seen fit to «colocarse dócilmente entre los imitadores, no de Balzac ni de Dickens, sino del señor de Villarminio, autor de la Novela de Luis, que es, de todas las novelas que conozco, la más próxima a Gloria». Further, he remarked: «cuán triste cosa es no ver más mundo que el que se ve desde el ahumado recinto del Ateneo, y ponerse a leer novelas de carácter y costumbres con personajes de la Minuta de un testamento, como si Ficóbriga fuese un país de Salmerones o de Azcárates».179 Clarín seems to have specified the influence of Azcárate's Minuta in the Jewish character Daniel Morton, although he may not have intended to imply that the influence was limited to him. He wrote: «El señor Pérez Galdós cuenta con facultades bastantes para escribir la novela de ese hombre de cuyos combates en la vida dio un bosquejo el señor A... en su Minuta de un testamento».180

Several modern scholars have devoted their attention to Krausism in Galdós' Spain and in his works, the most notable perhaps being Juan López-Morillas, but this eminent scholar does not deal with Gloria.181 And Denah Lida, in her well documented 1967 article «Sobre el 'krausismo' de Galdós» contents herself with a resumé of the krausist generalities suggested by earlier writers as possibly visible in Gloria.182 Vicente Cacho Viu had suggested, appropiating the earlier insinuation of Clarín above that «resulta interesante cotejar el credo religioso de Buenaventura Lantigua, uno de los personajes de Gloria (t. 2, cap. 11) con el expuesto en la Minuta; hay entre ambos una indudable semejanza».183 He does not provide the details of his collation or any further information about the resemblance he found, doubtless because it would have taken him too far afield from his subject. The detailed, comprehensive, and fundamental critical study of the creation of Gloria was done two decades ago by Walter T. Pattison,184 and a brief but substantial and compact study by Gustavo Correa has demonstrated how the structure, the principal characters, much of the language and many key situations of Gloria parallel and reflect the Biblical account of man (Gloria herself, in the novel) from his fall and expulsion from Paradise to his redemption by the supreme sacrifice, as recorded in the Old and New Testaments.185 Pattison said that Galdós cited the Bible «more than forty times», (p. 73), and he himself provides twenty of those citations, most of them the marked text of Galdós' own Bible. Correa included twenty-six Biblical references. And much earlier, in an abbreviated but well annotated edition of the novel Alexander H. Krappe and Lawrence M. Levin pointed out no fewer than thirty-tree Biblical items.186 Many of the references noted in the three studies are duplicates or triplicates, with a resulting total of thirty-nine separate and different ones. Some are direct quotation from the Latin of the Vulgate, some are the Spanish translations of padre Scio, some are   —111→   given by Galdós in both Spanish and Latin. Others are clear and direct allusions to the Biblical text or its substance. A few, however, are somewhat vague but implicit insinuations, paraphrases, or parodies, such as when Gloria's father's inflexible creed is summed up as «Barrabás o Jesús» (Part I, Chapter IV, p. 27; Matthew 27: 17); when the tree of good and evil (Génesis 3: 1-5) becomes for Caifás' son Sildo when he rides off on Morton's horse «el caballo del bien y del mal» (1-XXV-283); when Morton blames himself, saying «caí, como cayó David» (1, XXXVII, 310), which is doubtless an allusion to King David's carnal sin with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11); or again, when Morton's servant Sansón's strength is likened to the «fuerza... que arrancó las puertas de Gaza» (2, XVI, 177; Judges 16: 3).

To the thirty-nine Biblical references previously noted, our own scrutiny and collations disclose thirteen to fifteen (two are doubtful) more,187 so that the count is over fifty, and even now the number may well be higher, if illusions more or less hidden or esoteric and not readily identifiable are disclosed. The number itself is not insignificant and constitutes abundant evidence of Galdós' Biblical orientation and thematic dependence and structure. But even more importantly is the textual implementation many of them supply and add to other evidence for the influence of Azcárate's Minuta de un testamento in the creation of the novel.

The idealistic philosophical ideas of Karl Christian Friedrich Krause were introduced into Spain by Julián Sanz del Río in his treatise Ideal de la Humanidad para la vida and, joined to Sanz's university teaching, soon gained many disciples, as well as many enemies, for they sought to replace religious faith with human reason as the primary authority. López-Morrillas has written of krausismo that «su novedad [...] [consiste] en tratar de orientar la cultura española en dirección al racionalismo» and that its «racionalismo armónico» may be described by saying that «si... es posible armonizar lo desarticulado, lo diferente, lo contradictorio, tal armonía es hacedera sólo en función organizadora de la razón, de la facultad que ésta posee de reducir el caos a orden». Sanz wrote that «'elevados en Dios,188 [los hombres] vivirán más fieles a su destino eterno, más armónicos con la vida del mundo en esferas superiores, así de la naturaleza189 como del espíritu. Todos los hombres se conocerán y se amarán como una familia de hijos de Dios y destinados a reunirse en la plenitud de la vida divina'». With this belief Gloria dies; with this hope and vain search Daniel Morton, who throughout the novel insisted that Gloria's God and his were one and the same, dies insane; their child Jesús incarnates their love, a symbolic and concrete embodiment of that abstract «racionalismo armónico».190

Don Fernando de Castro, a Franciscan priest and early Krausist, broke with the Church in 1870, combining in his person «el doble ministerio de la fe y la razón, como si quisiera dar con ello testimonio de su íntima alianza», as López-Morrillas explains by appropriately citing the Minuta de un testamento.191 Castro was briefly rector of the University of Madrid and one of only three of his university professors (the others were Alfredo Adolfo Camús and Lázaro Bardón) whom Galdós recalled in writing after his university days. Galdós repeatedly expressed deep admiration for Castro, and his Krausist approach to and explanation of history could indeed have influenced   —112→   Galdós, especially in the episodios nacionales, a study to be undertaken some day we may hope. Bardón was also a krausista; he and Castro were subjects of Galdós' retratos in La Nación of early 1868.192

Galdós, an asiduous reader and habitué of the Ateneo, may have been influenced by Gumersindo Azcárate before he became acquainted with the Minuta de un testamento, for Azcárate was a very active ateneísta, president of the Sección de ciencias morales y políticas, as Pattison reminds us,193 and in the center of the debates and «corridor conversations» which from November 30, 1876 on dealt with political and religious reform. But Pattison sees only a «tenuous resemblance»194 of Gloria to the Minuta, somewhat less perhaps than Menéndez Pelayo and Clarín had perceived and noted years ago. However, we think the resemblance is closer and more direct than that.

The information Pattison himself later was able to provide from an examination of the Gloria manuscript material shows that Galdós had made two earlier attempts to write the novel, attempts which he had abandonad after writing substantial portions and, dissatisfied, leaving the novel unfinished. Names and other details are changed in the final published version but most of the characters are «foreshadowed by some personage of the first version», and «the printed book contains only three characters of the importance... not foreshadowed... Don Ángel, Esther Spinoza and Caifás».195 Use of the word «only» is unfortunate, since it seems to diminish and deprecate the changes made for the final version, when in fact these three characters are the keys, basic to the substance, plot, and meaning of the novel as finally conceived and the first part written in two weeks («obra de entusiasmo de quince días») following the crystallizing flash («se me ocurrió de golpe») which came to Galdós as he was «pasando por la Puerta del Sol, entre la calle de la Montera [where the old Ateneo was then located]196 y el café Universal».197 Now, the Minuta de un testamento was dated at the end of Azcárate's text «el 15 de febrero de 1876»198 appeared «en Madrid en el verano» (although possibly circulated earlier in manuscript),199 and was reviewed in two consecutive numbers (October 22 and 29) of the Revista Europea.200 Soon after this the «flash» could well have occurred, for, although Galdós' dating as printed at the end of Part I is «Diciembre» and the manuscript bears the printer's dating: «7 de dic. 76», Galdós «ended his final manuscript... with the words, 'Terminado en nov. del 1876'».201

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The Minuta de un testamento although not easy to classify generically is far from being a novel. Menéndez Pelayo called it a «folleto», López-Morrillas termed it «confesiones», Cacho Viu an «autobiografía», and Elías Díaz, following María Dolores Gómez Molleda, «una especie de manual del perfecto krausista».202 Although the little book is considered fiction, Azcárate himself wrote later in his first real will: «Pienso y creo lo que escribí en la Minuta de un testamento».203 It may perhaps belong best to a broad range of literary publications, including several forms of writing in the first person singular, such as Memorias, Epistolarios, and Confesiones, which Galdós   —113→   wrote were in very short supply in the whole history and gamut of Spanish literature.204 In any case, its literary classification is of less importance than the fact that, as Clarín said,205 Galdós had the «facultades bastantes para escribir la novela» of the testator in the Minuta, which in part Gloria indeed is.

The Minuta de un testamento is a three-part document too brief originally to be published as a book but then extended with the testator's own clarifying and amplifying notes, 260 in number and many of them lengthy and substantial additions to the text. The second and third parts deal with the testator's (yo's) distribution of property and advice to his children and are relevant only generally and indirectly to Gloria. The first part, however, containing a record of the testator's religious experience and evolution and one long paragraph (pp. 116-118) formulating his «profesión de fe» bear closely and directly on Galdós' novel. This «profesión», so far as the Bible is concerned includes as dogma the Sermon on the Mount and as worhip the Lord's Prayer (p. 118) and in action, as he seems later to add, the «Parábola del Samaritano» (p. 128). The testator's note (47) explains that this «profesión religiosa... es... punto de conjunción en que han venido a encontrarse la filosofía y la religión positiva, el teísmo racionalista y el cristianismo protestante». At the end of the Minuta the last note (260) reads in part as follows: «el testador se esfuerza por mostrar los bienes que podrían producirse, si todas las sectas, inclusa la Iglesia católica, coincidieran en dirigir sus esfuerzos a procurar el renacimiento de la vida cristiana» and even to «convertir algunos católicos en cristianos» (p. 247). Galdós wrote his friend Pereda something to this same effect, saying (11-II-77): «Precisamente lo que quería combatir es la indiferencia religiosa (peste principal de España...)» and a month later (10-III-77): «Precisamente me quejo allí [en Gloria] (y todo el libro es una queja) de lo irreligiosos que son los españoles» and «he presentado la libertad de cultos como preferible aun en España a la unidad religiosa» and «Yo abomino la unidad católica y adoro la libertad de cultos».206 Pereda is of course deferentially doubtful when he replied to the first letter (17-[II-77]): «Que combate V. no contra el catolicismo, sino contra los valores católicos. ¡Ojalá fuera así!»207

Two days before (15-II-77) Pereda had written Menéndez y Pelayo that Galdós had written him that «se propone arraigar las creencias religiosas, tan al aire en la católica España», and Pereda challenges don Marcelino rhetorically: «Dime si por este camino durante el cual se crucifica cincuenta veces la dichosa hipocresía católica, se puede llegar a arraigar en el lector la verdadera creencia».208 Of course, it is plain that Pereda's «verdadera creencia» was not the same as Galdós'. At the end of the novel Galdós comments on Morton's unsuccessful search by the time of his death for «una religión nueva, la religión única, la religión del porvenir. [...] ¿Encontrará su ideal allá donde [iba] [...]? Es forzoso contestar categóricamente queo dar por no escrito el presente libro», and he calls the child Jesús «la personificación [...] de la humanidad emancipada de los antagonismos religiosos por virtud del amor [...] y el símbolo en que se han fundido dos conciencias» (páginas 364-365).

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Rationalism accompanied by rebellion against ecclesiastical authority is Gloria's heresy. In the 1864 Syllabus of Pope Pius IX,209 of which Gloria herself is well aware (1-XXVI-206), and the dogma of Papal Infallibility of 1870, which together motivated krausist Fernando de Castro's break with the Church, lie the basic reasons for Gloria's uncle the bishop don Ángel de Lantigua's declaring after her confession: «Hija mía, no puedo absolverte» (1-XXX-238). Her errors «los tienes enclavados en tu espíritu como el rótulo de ignominia que los judíos pusieron en la cruz» (240-241);210 and then «estás infestada de una pestilencia muy común en nuestros días, y que es la más peligrosa, porque tomando cierto tinte de generosidad, a muchos cautiva. Es lo que llamamos latitudinarismo. Tú dices: 'Los hombres pueden encontrar el camino de la eterna salvación y conseguir la gloria eterna en el culto de cualquier religión', and 'Todo hombre tiene libertad para abrazar y profesar aquella religión que, guiado por la luz de la razón, creyera verdadera'» (241). And don Ángel cites papal encyclicals, apostolic letters, and an allocution as his authority for declaring his niece guilty of heresy. Gloria admits the heresy but refuses to violate her conscience and soon, according to her uncle and her father, «dio a conocer nuevas proposiciones heréticas. [...] Del latitudinarismo pasó al racionalismo y a otras execrables pestilencias» (1-XXXI-248).

This is clearly the Minuta adapted. Azcárate confesses he tried to «dar una explicación racional a aquellos mitos [...] pues sin esto no se habría aquietado mi conciencia»;211 he believes that «la providencia de Dios alcanza, con su amor, a todos los pueblos y a todas las épocas», and that it «preside [...] a todas las revelaciones religiosas verificadas en la conciencia humana» (página 119). In explaining to his devout wife the «crisis religiosa» [analogous to Gloria's] which he had gone through (Min. p. 122) he sought to convince her «cómo racionalmente era absurdo el creer que se condenara un hombre que había vivido rigiéndose por una severa moral y adorando a Dios según su conciencia recta y sincera le mandaba[n]» (Min. p. 129). And he reminded her that the illustrious French Father Lacordaire, almost their contemporary, since he had died in 1861, «decía que la filosofía que admite la existencia de Dios, la espiritualidad y la inmortalidad del alma, y el principio moral con el sentimiento del deber, era una filosofía cristiana» (Min. p. 130). And in his note (63) Azcárate declares that «en cambio, nuestros católicos exigen, para dar a una filosofía el nombre de cristiana, que conforme con todo el Syllabus». And a little further on he asserts that the Syllabus convinced him that not only was Religion incompatible with freedom, but «la misma Iglesia ha venido a declarar que lo es el catolicismo con la civilización moderna» (Min. p. 157). Azcárate's attempt to conciliate reason and faith, philosophy and religion, is further implemented by the testator's monetary bequest to the «facultad de Filosofía y Letras» of the University of Madrid for the establishment of a prize to be awarded every five years «al autor de la mejor Memoria sobre un tema de Filosofía o Historia de la Religión» (Min. p. 210). Gloria's father inveighed against the «error [que] ha fundado mil cátedras en nuestro suelo» and «los enemigos de Dios, [que] piden que se abra la puerta a los cultos idólatras, a los errores de la Reforma, a los desvaríos del racionalismo» (1-XXXIII-272-273). But his liberal   —115→   brother, Gloria's other uncle, don Buenaventura, very nearly quotes the Minuta when he confesses to Morton: «Creo que la conciliación entre la filosofía y la fe es posible, y que si no es posible, vendrá el caos... [y] que el hombre culto educado en la sociedad europea es capaz del superior bien, cualquiera que sea el nombre con que invoque a Dios» (2-XI-120-121). Later on Esther Spinoza assures her son that Gloria will never be won away from Catholicism to a «deísmo [...] que todo lo dice a la razón», to «ese Dios frío y sencillo como las ideas» (2-XXVIII-288-289). She is right, of course, but this is an exaggeration of the philosophy-religion problem and is no more the case of Azcárate's testador than it is Gloria's.

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Both the Minuta and Gloria have much in common to say about religious hypocrisy. Gloria confesses to don Ángel that «me será muy difícil convencerme de que no son verdaderas las ideas que usted desaprueba. No quiero mentir, no quiero ser hipócrita. [...] No puedo violentar mi conciencia». When she is alone, and awake, she hears a «funesta voz [que] le decía: 'Rebélate, rebélate, tu inteligencia es superior. Levántate, alza la frente, limpia tus ojos de ese polvo que los cubre, y mira cara a cara el sol de la verdad'» (1-XXX-245-246). Of Gloria's «rebeldías de la razón» Morton later told his incredulous mother (2-XXVIII-290). And Gloria's «independencia de juicio» and her «perversa crítica» of Church authority is what her aunt Serafina -«Mefistófeles del cielo», Galdós calls her (2-XXIX-310) reproves her for (2-XVIII-188). But Gloria does recant and tells don Ángel and her father: «Me declaro conquistada», and Galdós comments: «Gloria hizo lo que hacen las nueve décimas partes de los católicos, es decir, guardarse sus heterodoxias para no lastimar a los viejos. De aquí resultó que era... creyente para los demás y latitudinaria para sí» (1-XXXI-249). Rafael del Horro, politician and Gloria's would-be suitor, orates openly about the dangerous heresy of racionalism (1-XXXIII-271), but Gloria overhears his confidential statement to don Silvestre of his hypocrisy, a whited sepulchre (Matt. XXIII; 27) as Gloria told her father (1-XXI and XXII-164). In his confession to Morton don Buenaventura explains: «Esto que declaro, esto que pensamos ¿a qué negarlo?, todos los hombres del día es de esas cosas que pocas veces se dicen, y yo las callo siempre, porque la sociedad actual se sostiene... por el respeto a las creencias generales» (2-XI-120), and Morton comments: «Ya sabía yo que muchos adalides del partido católico son racionalistas in pectore» (121).

Azcárate's testador «hacía una crítica severa de la hipocresía reinante» (Min. p. 129) in explaining his «crisis religiosa» to his wife (Min. p. 122), and elsewhere «disculpa, aunque no en absoluto, la hipocresía casi obligada que en cierto modo imponían los tiempos» (Min. p. 129). But in giving advice to his children «no vacila en recomendarles que no sacrifiquen su sinceridad a ninguna de (estas) consideraciones sociales» (Min. p. 94, n. 6) To them he says further that «la hipocresía ha llegado a ser como ley común» and he wishes «que mis hijos estén prevenidos contra este vicio de nuestra sociedad. Respeten, sí, las creencias dominantes de su patria [...] pero no   —116→   sacrifiquen nunca al común sentir de las gentes sus convicciones sinceras, serias y honradas» (Min. pp. 231-232).

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The testador of the Minuta expressed the wish to his friends, equally to those who shared his ideas and to those who did not, that at his death they put «sobre mi sepulcro una cruz y esta inscripción: Amaos los unos a los otros» (Min. p. 151), Christ's new commandment to his disciples (John 13: 34). The value of love over intolerance is the message and meaning of Galdós' novel.

Elsewhere the testador describes the case of a man (really himself) who «sintió vacilar su fe» and feared to lose the love of his loved ones, whereupon his wife exclaimed: «¡Oh!, no, si esos amigos, esos hijos y esa mujer son cristianos, no pueden dejar de amarle» (Min. p. 127). And he saw that «el amor del cristianismo... resplandecía en el espíritu de mi mujer, reflejando la vivísima luz del Sermón de la Montaña y de la Parábola del Samaritano» (Min. p. 128). For Galdós' application in Gloria of the gospel account of Christ's parable (Luke 10: 30-37) substitute Jew for Samaritan and Caifás for the man who «fell among thieves», and the same genuinely merciful «Christian» charity is exemplified.

Galdós' conscious awareness of the Minuta de un testamento is further exhibited by his citations and references to no fewer than six textual passages from the Sermon on the Mount itself. Don Ángel quotes Christ's words «pedid y se os dará» (1-XXIV-187; Matt. 7: 7) and refers to Caifás as «un pobre de espíritu» (1-XXV-191; Matt. 5:3), and again quotes Out Lord's admonition: «Judge not that ye be not judged», etc. (1-XXXIV-280; Matt. 7: 1-2). Caifás alludes to the Lord's Prayer when he says «a todos da Dios el pan de cada día» (1-XXV-196; Matt. 6: 11). Don Silvestre has no regret that he saved the Jew's life «porque», as he says, «está escrito: Bendecid a los que os maldicen y haced bien a los que os aborrecen» (1-XXXVIII-323; Matt. 5: 44). And the omniscient author himself adapts Christ's words in ironically observing that Ficóbriga «obedecía puntualmente a la ley que dijo: 'No servirás a dos señores'» (2-III-31; Matt. 6: 24).

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From the foregoing it is evident that Galdós utilized both Testaments of the Bible extensively, even more so than had previously been pointed out, and that his krausism seems to follow Azcárate's ideas and statements in the Minuta de un testamento: in describing Gloria's crisis religiosa and her latitudinarismo, in explaining don Buenaventura's rational desire to reconcile philosophy and religion, in pointing to the levels of hypocrisy demanded by the circumstances of the times in Rafael del Horro, in Gloria, and in don Buenaventura, and implementing the essence of Christianity as Azcárate stated it by reflecting, and even quoting, the Sermón de la Montaña, the Oración Dominical, and the Parábola del Samaritano.

University of Missouri-Columbia

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