.- In a ferocious column published by the Spanish Socialist daily, âEl Pais,â Professor Gregorio Peces-Barba, considered the inspiration behind the current Socialist anti-clericalism in Spain and author of the course âEducation for Citizenship,â has threatened the Catholic Church, warning it to either be silent or âsuffer the consequences.â
In a column entitled, âRegarding Education for Citizenship,â Peces-Barba said the massive opposition by the Church to the government-sponsored course is illegitimate, since âfaith cannot be set against the law in a democratic society like ours.â
The Church, he continued, which âembraces an anti-modern and clerical traditional culture and opposes many legal conclusions of the democratic Stateâ has no basis for its opposition.
Peces-Barba accuses parents who have opposed the course of âextreme arrogance, an attitude of impunity, and an unbearable sense of superiority, derived from the idea that they hold to âsuperior truths,ââ and he accuses the Church of years of âchallenging legitimate authority, the Constitution and the law by seeking to impose its views as opposed to the general interest and the popular sovereignty which resides in Parliament.â
He said Catholics in Spain are un-democratic and hearken back to âthe anti-Enlightenment principles expressed in the pontifical documents of the 19th century, from Mirari Vos in 1832 to Libertas by Leo XIII.â
The Spanish bishops, he went on, have âIran as their model, where Islam is above the leaders and the president himself, and where the death penalty is not only active but is applied frequently.â
The bishops âcannot and should not continue down this road or pull so tightly on the rope. They are responsible for the agitation that prevents social peace and belligerent toward the policy of the government and toward any progress,â he stated.
âThey should have more respect for dissents and avoid condemning things all the time,â Peces-Barba said. âIf this new climate is not achieved during the next legislature, the issue of the actions and situations of the Church and of establishing new status, that puts her in her place and respects the autonomy of civil authority, should be taken up,â he said in conclusion.