Spain’s Catholic Church anti-Catalan independence

Spain’s Catholic Church says a declaration of independence approved by Catalonia’s regional parliament last month is “serious and disturbing”.

Cardinal Ricardo Blazquez Perez, who is the Spanish bishops conference president, says he supports re-establishing constitutional order.

Bishops and priests should favour “peaceful coexistence” and “renounce concrete political actions that could diminish their mission which consists in being pastors for all”, Perez’s spokesman says.

Last month, Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government took direct control of Catalonia.

It dismissed its separatist government led by Carles Puigdemont in a bid to block Catalan separatists’ efforts to gain independence from Spain.

Catalonia’s ousted president and four other regional ministers then fled to Belgium.

The remaining members of the Catalan government are in jail in Spain, charged with rebellion and sedition.

A poll published in El Pais newspaper on Monday showed just a quarter of Catalonia’s 7.5 million people want to claim independence from Spain.

In recent years, Josep Maria Soler, who is the Abbot of the Benedictine Abbey of Montserrat in Catalonia, has spoken out in favour of the region’s right to hold an independence referendum.

He has not backed secession, however.

Over 400 Catalan priests and deacons signed a manifesto in favour of a banned independence referendum.

The referendum went ahead on 1 October, despite Spain’s central government and the courts banning it.

Rajoy’s government has complained to the Vatican about the Catalan priests’ defiance, Spanish media reports say.

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