The attempt to secularize the Cathedral of Cordoba, with the idea of possibly turning it into an inter-religious center under lay patronage, has finally failed. The new mayor of Cordoba, José Maria Bellido of the Popular Party (PP) has guaranteed it to Bishop Demetrio Fernandez.
This ancient church, built in 584 in honor of the martyr St. Vincent of Saragossa, had been transformed into a mosque during the Arab occupation, but was reconsecrated as a cathedral in 1236. Since that date, Catholic worship has been exclusively and uninterruptedly celebrated in it. But since its classification by UNESCO as a world heritage site, the cathedral has become the prize of a veritable war that has pitted several leftist movements against its presentation to the Church base on a 1946 law.
This law, passed under the government of General Francisco Franco, allows the Church, by simple declaration, to make its own this or that real property for which she has traditionally been responsible. A kind of anti-1905 law, which in France allowed the Republic to despoil the Church by taking for itself the property of all the religious buildings. It was in this way that the Cathedral of Cordoba, dedicated to Catholic worship since 1236, was declared a property of the Church in 2006 on the occasion of its inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage site—a membership no one had previously thought of challenging.
An Islamist-Leftist Campaign
But with the advent of leftist power in Andalusia with the election of a socialist mayor (PSOE), and then the alliance with the Podemos Party in 2014, a campaign was launched to secularize the cathedral. A petition collected 350,000 signatures, with the support of Muslims who demand access to this former mosque to practice their worship (see below for our previous articles on this topic).
Then, the European Deputies of the PSOE, Podemos, and the United Left (Izquierda Unida) asked the European Commission to decide on the legal ownership of the “mosque-cathedral,” as it is designated in the UNESCO documents.
Finally, a commission of four “experts,” elected ad hoc by the City Council of Cordoba, in September 2018 published a report guaranteeing that the cathedral of the Andalusian city is not the Church’s property and recommending the annulment of the 2006 presentation. The Commission notably recommended “obtaining the necessary parliamentary support” to carry out an “appeal on constitutional grounds before the Constitutional Court.” If this path was unsuccessful, the report suggested that the Mayor of Cordoba could file an “appeal to the ordinary courts.”
This anti-Catholic offensive is coming to an end—hopefully definitive—thanks to the election of a new mayor of Cordoba, a member of the Popular Party. The latter announced that the City Council of Cordoba will not reactivate the municipal commission that challenged the ownership of the cathedral. He further stated that there was no administrative procedure under way in this regard.
This episode shows the deep anti-Catholic hatred that continues to animate the movements of the Spanish left, ready, if necessary, to ally themselves with Islam to fight the Church.