Esta ignomínia vinda de um escrito assim tão jacobino carece de denúncia.
Como é que Salazar veio, de uma prestigiada cátedra teórica de Coimbra, para uma aventura incerta em Lisboa, na cátedra da governação das Finanaçs Públicas?
Há respostas que já foram dadas e esta, a anti-jacobina por excelência, é uma delas:
"THE FINANCIAL COLLAPSE AND THE APPEAL TO SALAZAR. One fly in the ointment remained, however: the catastrophic financial situation left by the former regime, which the new government had not succeeded in correcting. Carmona then requested a loan from the League of Nations. This was granted, but on the condition that one of the League’s liaison agents would have a permanent seat in Lisbon and control Portuguese economic policy. Having refused this unacceptable clause, General Carmona saw only one solution: to appeal to the only man who seemed capable of saving the country from the financial debacle. Thus, on April 28, 1928, Oliveira Salazar entered the government as Minister of Finance, now assuming the heaviest responsibility for the destiny of his country. The event was as important, if not more important, than the uprising of May 28, 1926.
A “POLITICAL MIRACLE”? «Of all the states of Europe (said Bainville) Portugal is certainly the one which for thirty years has shown signs of the most tenacious anarchy.»6 Yet after 1928, it was to become the most stable country in all of Europe: General Carmona remained President of the Republic until his death in 1951, and Salazar directed the government until 1968!
After a century and a half of Masonic domination, and sixteen years of atheistic and antichristian revolution, for forty years Portugal would be governed by the most Catholic of all the heads of State of his time.7 In this astonishing double contrast, is there not a sort of “political miracle”? Without entering into useless controversies, we can say at least that the immense majority of the Portuguese people believed just that. The bishops also were unanimous in this opinion – an anti-Salazar bishop could not be found until 1958! – and Pope Pius XII himself concurred with the Portuguese people and their bishops. They all recognized in Salazar the “man of Providence” granted by God to Portugal for its national salvation. This is a fact of history. There are superabundant texts to prove it, and to be convinced it suffices to refer to the works of the best informed Fatima historians.8
Now this man, who was the only one capable of saving the country in this critical hour, was first of all a devoted son of Holy Church, to whom he recognized that he owed everything he was. And if he accepted power because he was called to it, he had resolved also to put into practice, with prudence but also with tenacity, a social and political program which was completely Catholic in its inspiration.
For a man as sincerely and publicly Catholic as Salazar, both in his moral life and in his intimate convictions, to be able to rise to power and maintain it, in a country which only yesterday had been given over to the fiercest anticlericalism – and this without either armed struggle or bloodshed – was it the result of a prodigy? Or simply the wise designs of Providence, which in admirable fashion had prepared him for this role?
AT THE SERVICE OF THE CHURCH. Antonio de Oliveira Salazar was born in 1889 in the village of Vimieiro in the north of Coimbra, in a region still very much imbued by Catholicism. He came entirely from peasant stock. His family lived in poverty. Young Antonio had an unlimited affection and admiration for his mother. At the age of eleven, he entered the seminary of Viseu. He was a hard-working boy, intelligent and pious. He was quickly chosen as president of the Congregation of Our Lady, which encompassed the elite of the seminary. In 1905, he began his studies in theology. Saint Thomas fascinated him and left a profound mark on him. In June of 1908 he received minor orders. He was only nineteen; he had to wait before he could be ordained a priest...
Three months later, however, he changed orientation and decided not to become a priest. Let us make it clear that this sudden defection, which came before any definitive engagement, in itself was in no way dishonourable; and in Salazar’s case, the motives which undoubtedly inspired it – the fear of being a burden to his parents several more years, or more profoundly, the absence of sufficiently clear certitude of the divine call, and the feeling of being unworthy of such a high vocation – do not permit us to minimize in any way his high moral qualities. The whole remainder of his life would furnish the proof of that. With an immense gratitude for his masters in the seminary, he always kept a lively and firm faith never shaken by doubt, moral integrity, and a discreet piety, free of all ostentation but very profound. He always remained faithful to the practice of daily Mass. «He leads the life of a monk», Cardinal Cerejeira said of him.
IN THE SERVICE OF HIS COUNTRY. At the college of Viseu, where he taught while he was still a student, he became enamoured of education. In this way he believed that he would be the most useful to his country and the Church. In a conference he gave in 1909, he reveals to us his ideal of that time: «We hear it said all the time... that Portugal is in decadence, that we are on the verge of national annihilation. Everybody speaks of disasters. We encounter too many Jeremiahs in this country, wailing for the old days. And notice, gentlemen, that these Jeremiahs wail enough. They wail too much, and do not work enough.»9
In 1910, he entered the University of Coimbra, where he studied law and economic sciences. He worked so hard and scored such dazzling successes in all his exams that he was given the chair of economic policy even before he had completed his doctorate.
During these years of study, he formed a very close friendship with a young priest his age who like him was studying at the University, Manuel Gonçalves Cerejeira.10 Together they fought for the CDAC, the “Academic Centre for Christian Democracy”. As Salazar later explained, the only democratic thing about it was the name, chosen in 1901 after the encyclical Graves de Communi of Pope Leo XIII. In fact, the CDAC was founded to oppose the antichristian propaganda of the masonic Republic. Of all the nationalist leaning organizations, it was the most specifically Catholic. Without giving a specific political solution for the future, the movement tended to spread among the youths the social ideas of La Tour du Pin and the encyclicals of Leo XIII.11
Soon, Salazar and Father Cerejeira, who had both become professors at the University, became leaders of the CDAC, which was then transformed into a “Catholic Centre”. In 1921, Salazar was urged to take part in the elections. He was elected. But the proceedings in Parliament so disgusted him that, after taking part in the first session, he took the train back to Coimbra the same evening. From there he sent in his resignation.
In 1926, after the coup d’état of May 28, his reputation as an excellent economist resulted in his being called to collaborate in the new government. But since he was not given strict control over all the expenses of the State – a condition he had demanded because it was the only workable remedy for the financial disorder – he returned to his life as a simple professor, until the moment when the situation became so serious that once again the government requested his help.
“THE MINISTRY OF GOD FOR THE COMMON GOOD”. When the minister Duarte Pacheco came to Coimbra to persuade him to accept the office of Minister of Finance, far from welcoming this offer with enthusiasm, Salazar hesitated. Would the situation really allow him to be useful to the country? He put off the decision until the next day. His biographer describes what happened next:
«He wanted beforehand to take counsel of his well-informed friends. Cerejeira (the two still lived in the same apartment at Rua dos Grilos) was the first to be told, and he was decidedly in favour of accepting. In his heart of hearts Salazar still resisted. His great modesty made him afraid of such a promotion. Then he sent for a religious saint, Father Mateo Crawley-Boevey, the ardent apostle of enthronement of the Sacred Heart, who was then at Coimbra, and would occasionally visit the two professors at Rua dos Grilos. Father Mateo was categorical; he strongly maintained that duty required Salazar to say yes.Since then we know the deeper reason that inspired his decision. On July 4, 1924, in his great discourse to the Eucharistic Congress at Braga, he had expressed this magnificent formula to define the Christian vision of political power: «Not to aspire to power as though it were a right, but to accept it and exercise it as a duty; to consider the State as the ministry of God for the common good...»
«That night Salazar spent several hours in prayer before the tabernacle, in a private chapel. At dawn Father Mateo celebrated Mass for this intention. Salazar himself served and received communion. After his thanksgiving, his hesitations disappeared: “It is my duty to accept!”»12
Salazar then went to Lisbon. Since all his conditions had been accepted, he entered office on April 28, 1928."