Church renews attacks onZapatero's social reforms

13th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

13 October 2004, ROME- Senior members of Spain's Roman Catholic Church used homilies marking their country's National Day to criticise the Spanish Socialist government's initiatives on divorce, gay marriage and other matters.

13 October 2004

ROME- Senior members of Spain's Roman Catholic Church used homilies marking their country's National Day to criticise the Spanish Socialist government's initiatives on divorce, gay marriage and other matters.

At a service at the Vatican  late Tuesday, one cardinal complained his country was undergoing a process of "lay fundamentalism."

In Jerusalem, meanwhile, a top Franciscan prelate said: "Do they seek to destroy Christianity as one of the essential values of the Spanish soul?"

Speaking in Rome, Spanish Cardinal Julian Herranz complained that certain Spanish media outlets "are trying to obstruct the Catholic faith in Spain."

Herranz, 74, president of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts, made the observations in a homily delivered during a Mass in honour of the Virgin of Pilar, Spain's patroness, held on the country's national day.

Herranz, a member of the conservative Opus Dei order, restated his concerns over social reforms undertaken by the Spanish government under Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, including legalizing same-sex marriage.

The cardinal also called on Catholics to live up to the faith they profess and to accept its logical consequences in their civic, cultural and political activities.

"This coherence is especially needed under current circumstances, when the lay fundamentalism of some politicians and news media is seeking to deny and obstruct the social dimension of religion and of the Catholic faith," Herranz said.

The cardinal urged "partisans" of this "lay fundamentalism and agnostic totalitarianism" not to attempt to sow confusion in people's consciences, while hailing "the truth and gallantry Spanish bishops have shown in exercising their teaching function in accordance with the most democratic legality."

Herranz argued for a concept of marriage limited to the union of one man and one woman, and proclaimed a right to life that extends "from conception to natural death."

It was the second time within only a few days that Herranz has expressed concern over Zapatero's social reforms, which include allowing same-sex marriage, speedy divorce, expanded abortion rights and the use of embryonic stem cells in research.

The Spanish church is also unhappy that Zapatero is scrapping plans by his conservative predecessor to reintroduce compulsory religious instruction in schools.

Pope John Paul II raised a number of these issues with Zapatero during an audience in June at the Vatican with the Spanish premier.

In Jerusalem, the second-ranking Franciscan in the Holy Land, Spanish Friar Artemio Vitores, presided at the service, which was attended by Spanish diplomats and citizens, Palestinian Catholics and numerous Latin Americans, including many monks.

"We're not going to enter into polemics here about compulsory religious instruction, abortion, divorce, gay marriage, euthanasia and other issues of concern to Spanish society," he said.

"Of greater moment, perhaps, is the question: Do they seek to destroy Christianity as one of the essential values of the Spanish soul?"

"And all this may now be in jeopardy," he said.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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