Under the pretext of wishing to “do away with opacity”, Pedro Sanchez’ Socialist government wishes to publish the list of all the goods belonging to the Church and for which she does not have a certificate of ownership: the idea being for the State to take them back.
In Spain, a 1946 law allowed bishops to list any property in their own name, except buildings dedicated to worship, an exception that was not respected for long.
The reform of this law in 1998, under José Maria Aznar’s government, made these inscriptions even easier, allowing the Church to claim her property without having to provide a certificate of ownership.
But in 2016, a decision from the European Court of Human Rights in Strasburg called this procedure "arbitrary" and asked the State to reimburse owners who considered themselves despoiled.
A representative of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference estimates that between 30,000 and 40,000 properties have been listed in this way, as Bénédicte Galtier reported in the online issue of La Croix on August 23, 2018.
The cathedral of Cordoba is doubtless the most emblematic example. The Church listed it in her name on March 2, 2006, for only thirty euros, which made the left-wing furious, since the church receives vital funds from this building without having to declare it or pay taxes on it.
When Socialist Pedro Sanchez came into power in June 2018, he gave hope to the champions of secularism: the ministry of Justice has announced that within the next six months, it hopes to publish a list of the Church’s goods that have not been recorded.
What is happening in Spain does not happen anywhere else in Europe (...). Aznar did what Franco did not dare to do (...). The Spanish Church grants herself powers and privileges that exist nowhere else in Europe...
So railed Jorge García, president of the Aragon Movement for a Secular State (Mhuel). This radical left-wing militant is also the spokesman for the platform Recuperando, that campaigns for neither more nor less than the confiscation of the goods belonging to the Church.
The Spanish Bishops’ Conference responded timidly to these accusations: the undersecretary for economic affairs, Fernando Giménez Barriocanal, declared that he “does not have a list of these goods” and hoped that “the principle of non-discrimination” would be applied to the Church. The Church in Spain will have to cross swords a bit more vigorously if she does not wish to be stripped of her belongings like her French counterpart in 1905.
And she will certainly have to put up more of a fight that in the case of the decree to exhume General Franco’s remains that was signed on August 24, an act of “retrospective revenge”, as the Caudillo’s family has called it, that seems to have left the Catholic hierarchy entirely indifferent...