Ramón Valcarce Vega

Pseudonym: Moncho Valcarce
Category: Priest
Birth Date: 5th September 1935 (†1st February 1993)
Birth Place: A Coruña

He studied Secondary Education in Vigo and the pre-university course in A Coruña. He began to study Law but he gave up in 1960 to enter the Seminary and become a priest. In the third year he travelled to Rome to study Theology at the Gregorian University until 1963 that he returned to the Seminary, where he held hard critics against the orthodox and strict education far from his spiritual interests linked to a social reality he considered unfair. This attitude led him to his expulsion from the institution. He studied on his own at the Collegiate Church of A Coruña for a year and, after the change of the rectoral team in the Seminary and helped by Manuel Espiña, he returned to Compostela and was ordained as a priest on 19th December 1969. Although he was brought up within a well-off family, he chose the poor and poverty. In 1971, he assumed Sésamo and Sueiro parish churches in Culleredo, where he adopted a humble life without accepting money for his ecclesiastic activity that he carried out in a simple and participative way. He lived in a tumbledown parish house, only surrounded by his books. He sometimes ate at his mother’s house and maintained himself as he could with little money and helped the peasants in their works, identifying himself as any other neighbour. He turned the ecclesiastic space in a centre of popular life. He dynamized social and cultural activities and brought the youth together in his house as a refugee of freedom, promoting a mobile library and media such as the magazine “Outeiro de San Cosme”. He supported members of political groups opposed to the dictatorship and assumed protest measures before the parish problems. Moncho Valcarce focussed his activity as a priest on the principles of the Liberation theology and adopted a revolutionary life position, thinking that his way of devoting himself to God was fighting for the weak and following the ideas of Jesus of Nazareth. He was involved in the agrarian struggles that had a great public repercussion during the Spanish political transition after Franco’s death. There were tense years of peasants’ revolts against businessmen, local party bosses and absentee landlords that expelled them from their lands, destroying houses and properties and charging them with unfair taxes. With his presence, Moncho Valcarce gave them strength to resist and with his words he denounced injustice, turning into a historical symbol of Galician agrarism. He was never intimidated by imprisonments, fines, insults, death threats and even tortures. His moral strength and unbreakable faith led him to commit himself politically. He collaborated with the Peasant Commissions, signed the legalization statutes of the ANPG, presented himself as senator representing the BN-PG in 1977 and filled the office of deputy mayor (BNG) in Culleredo. As he was annoying for the ecclesiastic hierarchy, he was sent to Salamanca in 1987 to attend a course at the Pontifical University. He had here time to think and reflected his conclusions in a very interesting document titled “O compromiso político dun presbítero nunha realidade concreta: Galiza”, where he clearly justifies the thesis of the Liberation theology. He could not separate faith, presbytery and the conscience of being Galician. A year later, he returned to Galicia and he accepted to be a member of a pastoral team in As Pontes de García Rodríguez, made up of four priests and four nuns of the Company of Mary. In a short period of time, he was appreciated by the neighbours and entered an ecologist group called “Niño de Azor”. He began to teach Religion at the Secondary School of As Pontes and went on collaborating with the Peasant Commissions, defending peasants of Larín in Arteixo when in 1991 were about to be expelled from their lands. On his death-bed he still had time to write a diary that was published under the title “Revolucionario e Místico. Diario íntimo da doenza final”, an impressive testimony before death of a person that made from that irreparable situation a chant for hope, a calling to live life with illusion and a message of encouragement to go on having faith that death only ends with the body but not with the continuity of ideas or faith.