It has not taken long for the Andalusian Church to get fully involved in the electoral campaign. To the note that the prelates issued on the occasion of the next regional elections in which they openly ask for the vote against the left, has been added the speech of the bishop of Huelva, Santiago Gómez, who took advantage of the Rocío mass on Sunday to launch an electoral proclamation. These movements have not gone unnoticed at the national level, above all because, after the electoral event, a demonstration is called against the reform of the Abortion Law, promoted by ultra-Catholic groups -NEOS, HazteOir.org or the Catholic Association of Propagandists, among others. others – for June 26 in Madrid, and that could be supported by the most conservative sector of the Spanish clergy.
Over these initiatives hovers the shadow of those scenes from Zapatero's first legislature, in which some twenty prelates participated, for the first time in a democracy, in rallies against the Government on account of equal marriage and the subject of education for citizenship .
"You have politicized the gospel instead of evangelizing politics," complained the federal coordinator of Christian Socialists, Cristóbal López, after learning of the note in which the bishops clarified that "the Christian faith is not a political ideology" but appealed to at the same time to "the need to exercise the right to vote responsibly". In the text, the Andalusian prelates claim to be "aware that no political option is fully in line with Christian experience and the teaching of the Church", although they make a clear appeal to the "indispensable principles" of Catholic morality. That is: against abortion, in favor of traditional marriage and in defense of the Religion class.
And what does it mean, for the Andalusian Church, to vote responsibly? "Respect the right to human life, inviolable from conception until natural death; recognition, promotion and support for the family, as a stable union between a man and a woman, open to life; the protection of the right to parents to educate their children according to their own moral and religious convictions, as stated in the Constitution".
"Voting must be understood as a moral duty, which contributes to the common good and to the configuration of the society in which we live", maintain the bishops, who offer "elements of judgment that help to discern the vote, always from freedom and appealing to the awareness". "It is necessary to discern between the possible options, in coherence with ecclesial communion and with the moral principles that are inherent to it," they add.
Together with the three principles mentioned, the bishops demand "respect for the dignity of every person, religious freedom, spiritual values and conscientious objection; the defense and help of the weakest in society, such as the elderly, young, unemployed and immigrants".
"Voting is an exercise of responsibility, a right and a moral duty. We ask the Lord and the Blessed Virgin that these elections contribute to building a better society in freedom, justice and peace," the message concludes. A message that yesterday was endorsed by Gómez Sierra, who asked "to take into account the affinities or incompatibilities of our moral principles with the projects, programs and actions of each one of them." For Gómez Sierra, it is necessary to vote "in coherence with the Christian faith."
Are the Andalusian bishops the advance guard of what could happen in the rest of Spain? The truth is that, although the episcopal dome (Cardinals Omella and Osoro) form part of the minority of an open and renovating hierarchy, the religious leaders in the region could be framed almost entirely within the most conservative sector of the Catholic scene in the country. And no matter how focused the heads of the Episcopal Conference are on a new stage, no bishop dares, in public, to go off the script in the face of issues such as the reform of the abortion law, which the CEE itself described as the consecration of the "right of the strong against the weak to eliminate a new life".
Among the Andalusians who signed the controversial note are some of the bishops closest to the ultra-conservative lobbies, such as those of Cádiz (Rafael Zornoza) and Córdoba (Demetrio Fernández), in addition to that of Huelva, Santiago Gómez, who became president of Cajasur and was fined and disqualified from public office after the intervention of the entity by the Bank of Spain.
In the Executive Commission of the CEE, in addition, are the Archbishop of Seville, José Ángel Sáiz Meneses, and the Bishop of Malaga, Jesús Catalá, considered within the conservative sector of the leadership. So are the Archbishop of Granada, Javier Fernández, and the new Bishop of Jaén, Sebastián Chico, who in his time as rector of the Murcia seminary allowed masses with the Falangist flag. Among all the Andalusian prelates, the only one who is not considered conservative is that of Almería, Antonio Gómez Cantero.
With this panorama and the spirits aroused by the electoral appointment, next June 21 the Permanent Commission of the Episcopal Conference will meet, of which several of the Andalusian prelates are part. Some sources point out that, on those dates, a few days before the anti-abortion demonstration, the Spanish Church could 'bless' the march, although without promising the presence of bishops.
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