Spain's Bishops Defend Pope Against Congress

Legislators to Debate Public Reproof for Condom Comments

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MADRID, Spain, MAY 5, 2009 ( The proposal before Spain’s lower branch of congress to condemn the recent comments Benedict XVI made on condoms is an insult to the nation’s Catholics, says the archbishop of Madrid.

Cardinal Antonio María Rouco Varela, who is also the president of the episcopal conference of Spain, said Monday that the proposal that would publicly denounce the Pope “has hurt all Spanish Catholics.”

The proposed censure responds to the comments the Holy Father made during a press conference March 17 on the plane en route to Cameroon. He said that condoms are not the solution for AIDS.

Deputies Gaspar Llamazares of the party United Left and Joan Herrera of the party Initiative for Catalonia Greens introduced the proposal last week. It would express “consternation and rejection” for the comments.

The proposal will be debated later this month or in June in the Commission of International Cooperation for Development.

The Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party and the People’s Party have both said they would not support the bill as the Congress of Deputies is not the place to publicly denounce a head of state.

Cardinal Carlos Amigo Vallejo, the archbishop of Sevilla, responded to the proposal saying it was part of the “new inquisition” that is “fundamentally secular, agnostic and bad-humored,” reported the Spanish news service Religión Digital.

“It’s formed by all the fundamentalists driven to find, with or without reason, the weak point and the faulty side of the Church,” he added.


Cardinal Luis Martínez Sistach, the archbishop of Barcelona, also criticized the proposal in a press statement published Sunday. The cardinal lamented “that they have taken out of context the comments of the Holy Father and have manipulated the position of Benedict XVI as one that is against the defense of life and the promotion of health.”

The cardinal expressed his “deep adhesion and communion with the Holy Father” and asked that the “Christian people accompany [the Pope] in the exercise of his ministry as the Successor of Peter at the service of the entire Church.”

Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments and apostolic administer for the Archdiocese of Toledo, published a statement from Rome in which he asked the faithful of Toledo to offer all the Masses this past weekend for Benedict XVI.

He rejected the proposal as an “attack and a disgrace against a man of God, a good and just man, the utmost defender of humanity, of its dignity and fundamental rights, promoter like few others of the culture of peace and a civilization of love.”

The cardinal said the proposal constitutes “an offense against Spain itself, which is always close to the Pope, [and] loved by him.”

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