Spanish Carlism: An Introduction

Spanish Carlism: An Introduction

by Prof. Miguel Ayuso Torres
Saint Benedict Center, Richmond, New Hampshire
January 27, 2016

Editor’s note: This paper originally appeared in the book, A Catholic Witness in our Time: A Festschrift in Honor of Dr. Robert Hickson. It is published here with the gracious permission of that book’s publishers. The subject of Carlism is treated elsewhere on this site in Eleonore Villarrubia’s piece Dios, Patria, Fueros, y Rey: The Story Of The Spanish Carlistas. We are privileged now to present Dr. Ayuso’s contribution, which is of particular value due to the author’s personal stature not only as a Carlist himself, but also as one of a handful of great living scholars and theoreticians of Carlism. Dr. Miguel Ayuso, a jurist and philosopher, is Professor of Political Science and Constitutional Law at Comillas Pontifical University in Madrid.


1 – Some recollections.

2 – The Three Elements of Carlism.

a) The dynastic question

b) The historical continuity of the Spains

c) Hispanic traditionalism

3 – Two concluding observations

I only met Bob Hickson once. It was in Spain, in the early eighties.
 Mariano Castañeira, an Argentinian friend who was married to a lovely Spanish lady, Marta Sobrino, often came to Madrid. On one of those occasions he told me he wished to introduce me to Robert Hickson, of whom I had heard before. On a cold and snowy winter day, we went for lunch to Pedraza, a typical town in the province of Segovia, less than a hundred kilometers from Madrid, where one may dine upon delicious roast suckling pig (cochinillo). We also were
 accompanied by don Luciano Gómez Antón, “Chano,” and his friend, a priest of great personal vitality who had just left Opus Dei, obviously not his calling, but had continued sui iuris a huge ministry into the nineties when advanced Parkinson’s disease forced him to retire. Due to a series of unforeseen events, we did not begin lunch until about five in the afternoon. It did not matter, because the conversation was lucid and profound right from the start. 

Bob and I became involved in some joint projects for the Traditionalist movement on both shores of the Hispanic world (European and Spanish-American) as well as in the United States of America. At that time I had many contacts throughout the world and although very young, was already well placed in Traditionalist circles. Linked to the Traditionalist Communion, the organization of Carlism, the oldest political movement of the world, I was also heavily involved in the works of the Catholic City, an originally French movement that had acclimated to Spain. Mariano and Bob had met at Christendom College in Front Royal, VA, where Mariano had taught some years before (I think by then he had returned to Argentina), having earned a doctorate at the University of Virginia, and where Bob taught Latin (during a period of seven years when not involved in military training at different destinations). Don Chano was a friend of Mariano’s wife’s family and had a psychologist’s practice in Bilbao for families with problems.

 Our project to revive the Christian Commonwealth Institute, founded in the sixties by my dear friend Frederick D. Wilhelmsen and the esteemed Brent Bozell, was unsuccessful. The program was no longer wanted at Christendom College as another dear friend, Warren Carroll, had left its leadership which had then been taken over by a phenomenologist philosopher of Polish origin and no friend of Thomism, Damian Fedoryka, who had had no interest in the project at all. Mariano and Bob, with the help of Chano, pulled as many strings as they could in the United States, but to no avail. Without this leg the project, which was really a tripod, was destabilized. I continued, however, to work with the other two legs, and I must add, however, that many years later the work has not been without fruit. The Council of Hispanic Studies Philip II, a sort of Royal Academy of Hispanic Traditionalism under the patronage of hrh Prince Sixto Enrique de Borbón, has brought together two hundred professors who share a common task in relation to natural law, political tradition, and the demystification of contemporary history.

All the same, it was in those years with Bob that our collaboration began, which has lasted for over a decade. I received valuable texts on geopolitical analysis, which served in turn to enrich some of our analyses which I then circulated among our own experts.


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