.- Bishop Demetrio Fernández of Córdoba, Spain, recently remarked that he was surprised "at arriving in Andalucía," to discover the "little institutional support" from the government to help dioceses repair historic churches and construct new Church property.
In an interview with Europa Press, Bishop Fernández emphasized that, in other autonomous communities such as Castilla-La Mancha, "the institutional support is much greater, and in Aragón there is much greater support for Church assets. But here, there is no (general) agreement." On the contrary, public officials have told the Church to "fend for themselves."
Therefore, Bishop Fernández said, addressing that issue is precisely his goal in the diocese, "doing what is possible in constructing new churches, the restoration of the old and, normally, paying the tab."
Despite the grim outlook for the Church to repair her beautiful and aging structures, there are exceptions. One such example is the distinct agreement the Church has reached with the local government of Andalucía. Another is the national government intervening to repair the Cathedral and an ancient mosque.
However, says the bishop, there are many examples of the lack of support by the state in restoring smaller, less famous churches. Some examples include the restoration of San Agustín, which is financed by an agreement between the local administration and the Church, as well as the shared expenses with the bishop for the restoration of San Lorenzo.
Bishop Fernandez said that there needs to be change as there is no "agreement with the provincial government of Córdoba for the small churches in the towns, and neither does there exist an agreement of permanent collaboration with the Andalucían board."