Thursday, January 10, 2008

Why Spain, Mr. Pope?

Pink News cuts short the recent events in Spain about the Roman Catholic church and the Government confronting. For the last three years, after securing a part of the nation's budget for their organization (something that no other officially registered religion, much less those non-registered, has achieved), Catholic hierarchy in Spain has been confronting the government either directly via their pastoral letters and speeches, or indirectly via the COPE Radio Broadcasting Network, which belongs to the Roman Catholic Church.

The last drop in this chain of events seems to have been a demonstration that Archbishops called to, held on December 30th, and to which Pink News makes wide reference. After such demonstration, officers of the government, as well as the prime minister himself, answered firmly, though not to the point of freezing the Church public budget. But, why Spain, precisely?

There may be two key reasons to stage some sort of war over power in Spain, from the Catholic Church standpoint: both intertwined and both dependant on each other. During the last decades, Catholic churches have been witnessing their own decay in Spain, which under Franco's dictatorship was one of the most Catholic nations of the world (practically, Sunday mass was sort of compulsory for every person). Even though key government and state officials still attend religious festivals, and the Royal Family keeps the tradition of marrying and baptizing their offspring inside the Roman Catholic Church, the majority of Spain's population is Catholic just namely, with little attendance to mass, and much less devotion. Though many people still want to marry in the church, a lot of persons have been dropping from weekly practice. Baptizing events, first communions, marriages are more a social event than anything religious. That perception, along with the promised educational budget which the Popular Party couldn't fulfill after being thrown out of the government in March 2004, and its consequent output of new, more secular education curricula for K-12 and High School, are putting the Catholic Church in a clear defensive position. They lose power every day.

But Ignacio Escolar points out another reason, much more important. The Vatican sees Spain as the key to Latin America, and if Spanish youth looses its religious commitment (Vatican means Catholic, of course), then it's quite likely that Latin American youth start demanding equal rights in the same way Spain implemented same sex marriage, abortion, divorce, and the like. That's why the battle for Spain is fierce. Not forgetting that in Latin America, Evangelical churches are gaining momentum.

1 comment:

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