Moderate is surprise new head of Spanish Church
8 March 2005, MADRID - The new head of the Roman Catholic Church in Spain has said he was keen to open dialogue with the Socialist government.
8 March 2005
MADRID - The new head of the Roman Catholic Church in Spain has said he was keen to open dialogue with the Socialist government.
Bishop Ricardo Blazquez won a surprise victory in the election for the new president of the Episcopal Conference.
He said he wants to open dialogue with prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's government.
Relations between the Church and the government have been strained since Zapatero came to power last year and started a series of social reforms which clashed with Church doctrine.
Legalising gay marriage, making divorce and abortion easier, and separating religious teaching from compulsory teaching in schools have all met with opposition from the Spanish Roman Catholic Church.
Blazquez was voted the new president of the Episcopal Conference in place of Bishop Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, a more conservative figure who was a favourite of Pope John Paul II.
Blazquez, who is from Avila in northern Spain and a doctor of theology, has been an auxiliary bishop in Santiago de Compostela, then bishop of Palencia and Bilbao.
He is a keen advocate of peace in the Basque Country and a strong opponent of terrorism.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news