Saturday, November 06, 2010

Escaping the Clutches

The Catholic church is upset with the waning of their influence in Spain, the country is going through the same kind of accelerated transition from a reactionary, church dominated society to a progressive, majority secularist society that Quebec did in the 60's with the Quiet Revolution.  The new government has removed mandatory religious instruction from public schools, legalized abortion, and liberalized divorce laws. 
Pope Benedict XVI has warned of an "aggressive anti-clericalism" in Spain which he said was akin to that experienced during the 1930s.
You mean when the Church was siding with Spain's fascists in the Spanish Civil War? 
Correspondents say many Spaniards turned away from the church following the rule of General Franco, as democracy and secularism became synonymous.
So become associated as an institution, with supporting dictatorship, brutal tyranny and elite control of politics, economy and culture and identified as the main cultural opponent of democracy and progress and then complain when it ultimately leads to large scale social rejection.

This is authoritarian and hierarchical cluelessness of an epic scale.

UPDATE: The Christian Science Monitor, predictably, digs a little deeper.  Spain is the only European country that officially does not have separation of church and state.  The state is officially neutral on religion but in practice the Catholic church has legal advantages over other faiths and state supported control over large chunks of the education system and other areas of social spending - to the tune of over nine billion dollars a year in taxpayer funds.  The current government has been proposing serious functional reforms that in practice would start bringing Spain's balance between church and state in line with the rest of the industrialized world. 

Short of Vatican City, Spain is the last refuge for Vatican control over state structures in a country that does have a large majority who identify as Catholic but where only about 20% of the population consider themselves practicing or observant. 

The fact that the Pope is fighting tooth and nail to keep that dominance is revealing.

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