Tags: New | Pope | Draws | Line | Spain

New Pope Draws Line in Spain

Friday, 29 April 2005 12:00 AM

"One cannot say that a law is right simply because it is a law." The Bishop of Castellon, Juan Antonio Reig Pla, called for "civil disobedience," saying that "one has to obey God before man."

Observers say the Vatican's action signals a toughening stance against creeping secularism, which Pope Benedict has called one of the greatest evils facing Europe.

When he was a cardinal, his Vatican office told Catholic officials in 2003 that they shouldn't support laws that contradict moral teachings on issues like abortion, and later stated that it is "gravely immoral" not to oppose legal recognition of same-sex marriage.

Spain was long considered a Catholic bastion and is the birthplace of the conservative Opus Dei order. The nation jailed homosexuals until 1975, outlawed contraceptives until 1978 and banned divorce until 1981.

But Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is now promoting a secular agenda, attempting to broaden abortion rights and simplifying divorce procedures.

Spain's government has cautioned public employees to abide by the same-sex marriage law. A senior official insisted that civil servants "must apply the laws that government proposes and parliament approves." But Bishop Reig Pla said: "If obeying the law comes before conscience, this leads to Auschwitz."

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"One cannot say that a law is right simply because it is a law." The Bishop of Castellon, Juan Antonio Reig Pla, called for "civil disobedience," saying that "one has to obey God before man." Observers say the Vatican's action signals a toughening stance against...
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2005-00-29
Friday, 29 April 2005 12:00 AM
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