In a statement issued Thursday, the Executive Committee of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference lamented a Congressional committee’s decision to debate and put to vote a censure of Pope Benedict XVI for his statements against AIDS during his trip to Africa.
The measure sponsored by left-wing lawmakers was eventually voted down.
The Spanish bishops’ said that with these kinds of actions “Parliament endangers the principle of religious freedom. In fact, the just distinction between the State and society, and, more concretely, between the State and the Church and between the public order and the moral order, demands that the institutions of the State abstain from intervening in the unconstrained development of religious institutions, and in our case, of the Catholic Church, as long as it is not proven that they are a threat to public order.”
“Trying to interfere in the moral leadership the Pope exercises in the Church through his ordinary magisterium by way of parliamentarian political censures seriously contradicts the principle of non-intervention and harms the right to religious freedom,” the bishops said in their statement.
“The Catholic Church, in laying out the moral doctrine that is derived from the Gospel, contributes to the formation of persons as true responsible subjects and as citizens capable of collaborating in achieving the common good,” the bishops continued.
The Spanish prelates also stressed that the Church's teachings are beliefs that “she cannot nor desires to impose on anyone. But she will not cease to speak out in freedom in accord with the mission she has received.”
Lastly, they expressed the “affection and most cordial adherence to the Pope of the bishops and all Spanish Catholics.”