Serra d'Or

Serra d'Or
   The monthly journal Serra d'Or was founded by the Benedictine monks of Montserrat (Catalonia) in 1959. Up to the end of 1963, it described itself as the organ of the Confraternity of Our Lady of Montserrat, but its significance is much greater than this would suggest. As a church publication, it escaped the worst effects of the censorship which prevailed throughout the Franco regime, and which bore particularly heavily on publications in Catalan. As the only periodical in that language circulating throughout Catalanspeaking areas until the restoration of democracy, it had to fulfil several roles. Though it was the main Catalan religious journal, directly theological articles usually occupied only about 5 percent of the space in the 1960s, the remainder being made up of articles on literary criticism, world affairs, economics, art and archaeology, cinema, architecture, urban development and housing, and industrial design. Its very distinguished range of contributors included Joan Triadú, Joaquim Molas, Josep Maria Castellet, Josep Benet, Joan Fuster, Francesc Candel, Jordi Pujol, Miquel Roca and Francesc Vallverdú. Furthermore, the journal established early a policy of ideological pluralism. Though many of those who wrote regularly in Serra d'Or could be described as Catholics who were theologically liberal and politically left-of-centre, others proved subsequently to have been clandestine members of the banned Catalan United Socialist Party, the communist PSUC. Its editorial policy is characterized by an international outlook, an openness to dynamism and dialogue in religious matters, and a commitment to democracy and freedom of speech.
   These values were difficult to make explicit within the constraints of Francoist censorship, but Serra d'Or managed to maintain its distinctive liberal intellectual witness, exploiting to the limits of safety the limited freedom conferred by inconsistencies in the application of censorship. Though it was not possible to question the basic structure of the state or its political methods, social issues like housing could be discussed, especially in the context of events like the flood disaster in Catalonia in 1962.
   Serra d'Or was also one of the main sources of liberalizing influences in Roman Catholicism, especially in the years after the Second Vatican Council (1962–5), when it championed ecumenical dialogue, co-operation with secular bodies traditionally distanced from the church, such as trade unions and left-wing political parties, and the rights of cultural minorities. Liberal Catholicism thus became closely associated with defence of Catalan cultural identity. New Catalan writing was reviewed at length, and Catalan contributions to architecture and the plastic arts were given considerable prominence. The journal has consistently encouraged an international outlook, while at the same time providing a distinctively Catalan perspective on world affairs.
   EAMONN RODGERS

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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