PM tells Church: "no one can impose their morality"

7th January 2008, Comments 0 comments

Zapatero uses military celebration to blast bishops.

7 January 2008

MADRID - Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero on Sunday slammed Spanish bishops' criticism of his social policies, arguing that no one "can impose their faith, morals or customs" on anyone else; they can only "respect the law."

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of Armed Forces Day celebrations in Madrid, Zapatero stressed that Spain is a "nondenominational state" and that the Church should respect the "1978 Constitution." The prime minister's comments came a week after prominent Spanish bishops brought 160,000 people onto the capital's streets in protest at the government's social and family policies, including the legalisation of homosexual marriage and the easing of divorce proceedings. During the march, the archbishop of Valencia, Cardinal Agustín García-Gasco, accused Zapatero of fomenting "radical secularism that could lead to the dissolution of democracy," while the archbishop of Madrid, Cardinal Antonio María Rouco Varela, argued that his policies are a "step backward for human rights."

Zapatero said yesterday that he "profoundly disagrees" with García-Gasco and Rouco Varela's opinions, noting that not everyone in the Church thinks as they do. "There is plurality within the Church," Zapatero said, referring to comments last week by Ricardo Blázquez, the head of Spain's Episcopal Conference, who urged bishops not to look to "right or left" to solve their problems.

[Copyright El Pais 2008]

Subject: Spanish news

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