A look at the prevalence of the Catholic religion in Spain, Catholic Saint Blessed JoseMaria Escriva, and the controversial Catholic 'cult' of Opus Dei. 1400 words.

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Catholicism in Spain

The main religion in Spain is Catholicism. Nearly all Spaniards are Catholic, the variety is Roman Apostolic. Aside from the Catholics, there are a few thousand Jews, mostly Sephardic Jews from North Africa, who settle in larger cities like Madrid, Barcelona, Seville and Cordoba. Recently, a synagogue was inaugurated at Mallorca. Spain also has some Anglicans.

The Spanish Catholics are religious in a uniquely Spanish style. Catholicism has historically played a large role in the life of the country, and still does so today. The Catholic Church of Spain is one of the bases on which the country stands.

Catholicism was a rallying point for the Spaniards when they conquered the Moors, the African Islamics who had taken Spain and Portugal in the eighth century. When the Protestant Reformation struck Europe, Spanish Catholics resisted, forming such groups as the "Society of Jesus" in 1540.

Catholic missionary work in Spain was taken very seriously.

Spaniards believed that their own religion should be spread to others, believing Catholicism to be the one true religion. Some well-known missionaries include San Francisco Xavier, who brought Catholicism to India, Malacca and Japan; as well as the conquistadores such as Hernan Cortes, who delivered the entire Aztec Nation into the Catholic Church.

While religion in Spain is taken with absolute seriousness in its more profound aspects, there is also a degree of humour and enjoyment to Spanish Catholicism. Being so large a part of all life in Spain, religion has been expanded to include life's joyous aspects as well as the more serious ones.

Nearly every fiesta is a celebration of some religious event; even the merry, satirical Fallas de San Josh, is actually a religious celebration. Also there are the Romerias, in which a great deal of drinking, singing, and dancing are...