Politics and the Pope in Spain

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The UK Tablet and Robert Duncan at Spero News (originally published in the National Catholic Register) both take a look at this weekend's papal trip to the World Meeting of Families in light of the Spain's socialist government's progressive social agenda.

Some snips from Duncan's piece:

While many of the international pilgrims may be oblivious to the thick atmosphere, many Spanish Catholics are hoping Pope Benedict’s 24-hour visit to Valencia will be a breath of fresh air infusing the Church’s faithful with the stamina to challenge the permissive platform of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s government.

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[T}he socialist government — which came to power in March 2004 — [has promoted] a litany of legislation that clashes with Church teaching. Such measures include the passing of same-sex “marriage” legislation, fast-track divorces, reform of religious education, embryonic stem-cell research funding and suggestions that abortion laws could be eased.

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Less than two weeks prior to the kickoff of the World Meeting of Families, Spain’s Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs promoted another “family” congress being held in Valencia. The gathering, intended to highlight “diverse” forms of families, is sponsored by the State Federation of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transsexuals and by the Union of Family Associations, chaired by Maria del Carmen Toledano Rico, a Socialist Party politician from the town of Galapagar.

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The Catholic citizen activist website Hazteoir (Make Yourself Heard) claims the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs contributed more than 300,000 euros last year to similar alternative lifestyle meetings.

While Duncan focuses on the struggle between Spanish Catholics and the Spanish government, the Tablet portrays the situation as a "showdown" between the Pope and the Spanish governement. The unsigned Tablet piece (perhaps written by Robert Mickens) speculates that recent statements by the Pope and by the president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo, may have shifted attention away from the theme of the meeting, "Transmission of the Faith in the Family" and towards a more general "culture war" (my term, not the Tablet's) against the Spanish government.

Despite this claim, we can expect that Pope Benedict's major addresses in Spain will stick to the the passing on of the faith while saving the politics for his meeting with Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. It would be greatly underestimating the Pope to think he's going to let politics overshadow this event. That said, it would not be suprising for him to connect the importance of handing down the truths of faith to the handing down of the truth about the human person from one generation to the next and to point to that as the vehicle for social renewal.

The Tablet also notes that two Spanish Catholic theologians have "signed a petition protesting against the Spanish Government’s sanctioning and partial funding of the religious event. They have opposed it on the ground that the Vatican 'imposes a model of the family based on exclusion'."

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This page contains a single entry by Papa-Lu published on July 8, 2006 9:34 AM.

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