Spain’s bishops seeking common ground with socialists

Spain’s bishops have promised to seek agreement on some of the positions in the socialist-led government’s program for secular reforms.

Cardinal Juan Jose Omella, president of the Spanish bishops’ conference, and Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo have agreed “to establish a broad working agenda” for a mixed commission.

The meeting is the first since Omella was elected conference president in March.

In a joint statement Omella and Calvo said the meeting was in line with “policies aimed at exercising the right to religious freedom,” with both sides “willingly and freely addressed issues of mutual interest.”

However, Alfa y Omega, Spain’s Catholic weekly has reported that discord remained intense over government reforms, especially in education.

There are “no plans for compromise” over “fundamental rights,” Alfa y Omega said.

The newspaper also reported that the bishops’ education commission “stressed the need to protect and promote the right to education, as set out in our constitution.

“Spanish society is wondering how the eighth education law in 40 years is now close to being approved when there is no will to build consensus. The outlook is bleak.”

The government also unveiled plans for law reform that would restrict parental rights and downgrade religion classes.

Other projected legislation includes permitting “a dignified death and euthanasia” at public expense, the “recovery of assets improperly registered to the church,” and a guarantee of “state secularity and neutrality toward all religious denominations.”

Another of Spain’s bishops, Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, told those at Mass at Valencia cathedral on 21 June that the proposed education law would “impose models of knowledge and ethics”. He urged legislators to reject it.


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