Spain: Episcopal opposition to the government

Source: FSSPX News


In an interview published by the Italian daily L’Avvenire, on November 21, 2004, Archbishop Fernando Sebastian, vice-president of the Episcopal Conference of Spain, declared that “it would be worthwhile” for the government and the episcopate to talk to each other. Condemning the “nihilism” at the heart of the goverment reforms in his country, Archbishop Sebastian affirmed that the reforms intended by the Zapatero government did not constitute “an attack aimed at eliminating the Catholic Church as such.” According to him, it is rather “an indirect attack aimed at introducing secularism into society.” In his opinion, the underlying intent of the Spanish government is to “free itself” from what it considers as an “excessive weight”. Namely, “the influence that religion still exerts on society”.

 “To deny what exists does not create something new and better. One denies only in order to affirm a meaningless liberty. It is not reformism, it is nihilism,” said the archbishop of Pamplona. It is about imposing “the conception of a life completely immanent at every social level, pushing the faith to one side,” he continued, fearing that the Church could exist only “at the same level recognized for groups practising magic or believing in martians.” According to him, the Church, therefore, could no longer have her “role in the dynamic of society.”

 Asked about the fact that the majority of public opinion approved of these reforms, the archbishop replied that “this government did not have an absolute majority” and that “in any case, the truth does not depend on the majority.” “I have no doubt at all that the majority of Spaniards are against homosexual marriage,” he said, recalling that 70% of the Spanish population “chose a religious education for their children,” and that almost 30% of the population were practising Catholics. He admitted, however that “in many people, religious feeling coexisted with contrary opinions,” denouncing television, which influences “in a scandalous way” the opinions which are not of the prevailing viewpoint.

 But, according to Mgr. Sebastian, Spanish Catholicism is capable of confronting this cultural battle, in spite of “the missionary weakness” of its Church. As before, “we are desirous of collaborating for the good of society and respectful of the initiatives which the government wishes to take for that end,” added the archbishop. He also regretted that, despite numerous requests from the Bishops Conference to discuss these so-called secular reforms, the government had not responded. “I believe it would be worthwhile to sit down together to discuss, on the one hand, the government’s intentions and on the other, the concerns of the Episcopate.”