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Far-right take positions to try to oust Pope’s men from bishops’ conference

The pre-election year has begun, and not only in the halls of Congress. Although there is more than a year left in the term of Juan José Omela and Carlos Osoro at the helm of the Spanish Episcopal Conference (CEE), the truth is that the chips are starting to find their place on the board. The Spanish Church, ten years after Bergoglio’s election, remains one of the most conservative on the old continent.

Church time goes by a different rhythm than social time. But it is clear that some bishops are more concerned with daily politics than with the salvation of souls. The most recent examples come from some of the bishops who have stood most vociferously against any left-wing government in recent years. Thus the Reverend José Ignacio Munilla, already fired from the Diocese of San Sebastián — his replacement, the Claretian Fernando Prado, has just taken office — continues to rail against the current executive on matters that are not always related. Faith. “What can we expect from a parliament that denies the right to life to the weakest and most innocent? Any other barbarism you can prove next will be insignificant!” he noted… on the reform that blocks the renewal of the Constitutional Court. A few days ago, he also spoke about the debate on the crimes of embezzlement and sedition: “Ethics should govern political pacts as well! the fact that some crimes are abolished or reformulated as a bargaining chip for consolidating power; Or passing a law to gain political control over the judicial system is simply immoral,” said the current bishop of Orihuela-Alicante.

The Basque leader – one of the leaders of the church’s far-right along with Jesús Sanz or the now-retired Juan Antonio Reig Plaas – does not have much chance of being elected at the episcopal conference in March 2024. Yes, others also have them, who in recent weeks have raised the tone of their speeches against the government on social networks. The most famous is the archbishop of Valladolid and a few weeks ago the general secretary and spokesman of the EEC, Luis Arguello, who last week worried that “the economic system and political power have an open field and a free hand to justify inequality and impose rules that suit the dominant money”.

“Some of Spain’s big problems require dialogue and a political solution. Without, of course, imposing constitutional legality or strengthening privileges for groups or regions that harm the dignity and common good of all, unforgivable references to dialogue and legality,” Arguello emphasized regarding the question of Catalonia.

Arguello, who, as has learned, could count on many supporters to lead Cardinal Omela in 2024. The former bishop participated in the class last Wednesday. Leadership and Management Executive ProgramOrganized by Issep (Institute of Social, Economic and Political Sciences). analytical center Funded by Marion Maréchal Le Pen (grandson of the founder of the National Front and niece of Marine Le Pen) and directed by people connected to the Vox environment in Spain, such as Kiko Mendez Monastery or Gabriel Ariza (son of businessman Julio Ariza, president of Intereconomía). The course, whose tuition is 7,500 euros, serves as a school for cadres of the far-right party.

Archbishop of Valladolid share monastery, among others, with Julio Ariza; Javier Tebas, president of La Liga, former public minister Jaime Mayor Oreja or journalist Jose Javier Esparza. The academic director of ISSEP, Miguel Angel Quintana Paz, highlighted how Arguello revealed in his presentation “a not so well known anecdote: that years ago he had a debate with the philosopher Gustavo Buenos at the University of Valladolid, a debate that ended. .. at the police station.” “Then, over time, Buenos would become even more Catholic than it was then,” Arguello explained, as detailed by Quintana Paz on her social media.

The prelate did not want to answer the questions of this newspaper, but ISSEP justified on its social networks the presence of “the privileged teacher of our class “Church in today’s world”. In addition, one of the phrases used by Arguello during the presentation stood out: “Since the 17th century, we have Jesus in the closet because it was believed that he could be problematic and that his values ​​were enough for us without him.

Why Arguello’s rapprochement with the extreme right, which has been attacking him fiercely for months for defending the dignity of migrants? Why did you accept this invitation in light of the attacks received by the extreme right after defending Minister Irene Montero? Church sources explain the prelate’s “progressive turn” toward increasingly conservative positions, which was highlighted during his leadership of the General Secretariat of the Episcopal Conference.

His clashes with the Sánchez government, especially over the crisis of sexual abuse of minors in the Church – the subsequent reaction of the authorities and the creation of an investigation by the Ombudsman – and, above all, the electoral horizon of the Episcopal Conference in 2024. They will bring them closer to the episcopal group that appreciates their leadership abilities as demonstrated in their responsibilities in the church house. And also to the judicial advisers of this sector closely connected with the extreme right. He was not the only one: other leaders and prominent churchmen were called analytical centerwhich was also echoed in other national-Catholic institutions, such as the NEOS platform created by Jaime Mayor Oreja and the Catholic Association of Propagandists.

Other possible candidates

Arguello is not the only candidate from the conservative Episcopal majority. The Jesús Sanz option is almost ignored (the archbishop of Oviedo could lose any possibility of leading the episcopal conference), two other names could argue for a less moderate front in the episcopate of our country. The youngest, 57 years old, is the archbishop of Valladolid, Mario Iseta. The most moderate of the list is Archbishop Jose Angel Saiz Meneses of Seville.

How is the sector reacting to these movements? Francisquist? At the moment, there is still no clear candidate, as it does not appear that Omela – who will turn 77 in 2024 – or Osoro – 78 – will be able to repeat their mandate, given their age. Retirement is set at the age of 75. A selection of bishops who support the reforms promoted by Bergoglio are pinning their hopes on the generational change expected in Spain in the coming months. And this is that at least a third of our country’s 104 bishops – 70 resident and the rest auxiliary – have passed the retirement age. Sources close to the episcopal conference believe that only the appointment of twenty bishops close to Francis and the retirement of a dozen conservative prelates could prevent surprised Curate in the Church House.

The bishops of León (Claretian Luis Ángel de las Heras) or Bilbao (José Segura) are two emerging values ​​among the bishops who are still in the minority faithful to the Spanish Church, which is less in line with the postulates. extreme right. In neither sector are the options that prelates such as Antonio Canizares’ successor in Valencia, Enrique Benavente, could have. or a long-awaited surprise a White brunette which today may be in a diocese bordering Portugal.


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Source: El Diario





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