.- In comments this week about the recent financial accord between the Spanish government and the Church, Bishop Demetrio Fernandez of Tarazona said, “The Catholic Church is not a parasite on Spanish society, but rather is of great benefit to mankind.”
In a letter entitled, “The Financing of the Church,” Bishop Fernandez said the State’s contribution to sustaining the Church “was not some kind of privilege,” because “there was a historical debt for the lands and possessions unjustly seized” by the State during the 19th century. “And the Church acquiesced in this because her objective is not the accumulation of possessions, but rather to serve the Gospel worthily.”
“The accord is important because from now on the Government will not give one penny to the Catholic Church. Catholics themselves will directly support their Church through collections, donations, subscriptions, bequests, and tax allocations,” he explained.
Bishop Fernandez also underscored that through her charitable works the Church in Spain saves the State some $10 million each year —“five thousand times more than what the Church received from the State.”
“If the Church ceased doing everything she is doing now, it would be a huge expense for the State to take over such tasks,” he added.
The Catholic Church in Spain, he continued, provides tremendous benefits for society, even for non-believers. “When an AIDS patient receives care from a Catholic facility, that person is not asked about his or her religious practices, but rather simply receives care. The same thing occurs in parishes throughout Spain with regards to immigrants, no matter what their color or religion.”
“Catholics will have to wake up, since the support of the Catholic Church will depend on them and on their responsibility as the faithful,” Bishop Fernandez said, adding that Catholics should be conscious of “the importance of helping the Church in her needs.”
“Let me take this opportunity to thank you for everything you do. Let us continue making ourselves aware of the financing of the Church. It is our task,” he concluded.