Posted by: puebloman | November 12, 2009

The “Rat” rats on Spanish democracy

“Heresy, mortal sin, moral barbarism, idiocy… “. These were the words of the spokesman for Spanish bishops, the Jesuit Juan Antonio Martínez Camino, who today put more direct pressure on those catholic members of parliament who are expected in the next few weeks to support reform of the abortion law proposed by the Socialist Government. ” Anyone who supports, votes for or promotes this law is in a state of mortal sin and cannot be admitted to Holy Communion “, says Antonio Maria Rouco, secretary of the Episcopal Spanish Conference. Developing his theme, he said ” To take the life of a human being contradicts the catholic faith. Anyone who supports it is a heretic and therefore excommunicated “. In case there is any doubt as to whom this dictat alludes, the bishop has proclaimed that the doctrine ” applies to all Catholics, whatever party they belong to and whatever their political party might tell them to do”. (Quoted from El Pais today. My translation).

So. Pope Benedict XVI, Joseph Alois Ratzinger,  known by those who dislike him as “the Rat”,  is up to his old tricks. On the face of it, this issue is about abortion. Of course  in Spain women get around their draconian abortion laws as they used to in the UK during the 1950’s – they find a doctor who’ll plead psychological damage, they’ll risk back street remedies or they pay a lot of money – the rich, as usual, get away with it.

Although the single issue is extremely important, these bishops go way beyond it. They are attempting to spiritually criminalise a voting public. The Rat is once again inducing his acolytes to interfere with Spanish Democracy. Not only are the voting representatives in the Cortes to be damned if they disagree with his holiness, but all of those who supported or voted for them are likewise damned.

As an Englishman, I can hardly claim superiority for my country. As I write, there are up to twenty-six hilariously named “Lords Spiritual” nancing around the Upper House in surpluses, suspenders and other items of womens’ clothing. They are not, of course, allowed to do anything beyond making the odd eccentric speech and saying prayers. Nevertheless they are an affront to a modern european democracy and the sooner they are got rid of the better.

The Spanish catholic church on the other hand has power. It is a study in barefaced evil. I will not rehearse its traditional support for wealth and privilege against the needs of the poor, its opposition to literacy, its support for fascism. I will not even observe that it is a blasphemy against the life, words and teachings of Jesus Christ.

One of the reasons why the Republic foundered in the 1930’s was that the voting population expected that all the medieval oppressions that bore down upon it could be swept away by a democratically elected government without the benefit of a guillotine. It proved not to be possible. Action against privilege, shattering centuries of custom, can only be achieved by revolution. Anti democratic power centres were as always the church, the armed forces and the aristocracy. The republic failed to contain their  disproportionateprivileges and therefore failed its voting public. But the issue was always time. It could not achieve revolutionary objectives to a time scale that would convince the population that it was in charge of the country. So in ’36 Franco could begin to cultivate the pernicious lie that the Spanish people are “ungovernable”.

Forty years of repression that held Spain in cultural suspension were followed by thirty years of “forgetting” . A collusion of unconsciousness to allow the combatants of the Civil War to grow old and die before the issues of the war could be addressed.  This means that the bigotry and superstition of the church continues to create obstacles to rational government, keeping alive issues that were current in the 1930’s.

Prime minister Zapatero however, has time. And time is a great weapon. He knows how to select those  issues on which he can  make a stand. He knows for example, that in education, good decent Spanish catholics want their children to be discursive informed citizens, able to hold their own with any other bright young citizen of any other country. They want to inculcate moral values too, as all of us do in our children.

So Zapatero has a real chance to grind away at this evil edifice like water dripping on a rock. Good luck to him!


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