.- The spokesman of the Bishops’ Conference of Spain, Father Juan Antonio Martinez Camino, said this week that bishops have the right to express their opinions about political issues, inasmuch as they affect the lives of Christians.
During a press conference prior to the opening of the Extraordinary Plenary Assembly of the Bishops’ Conference, Father Martinez Camino told reporters the bishops have the pastoral duty, “not to speak about politics, not to meddle in areas outside their competence, but to shed light,” upon all those areas in which Christians, and people in general, live and have to exercise their moral responsibility and their personal responsibility.
Father Camino said the bishops did not expect to put forth a statement on the unity of the country, but he left open the possibility that some kind of document might be approved by the bishops at the conclusion of their gathering.
Asked about whether it would be acceptable for the Spanish parliament to address the issue of unity in the Church, Father Martinez Camino said the comparison was invalid because the Bishops’ Conference is a different kind of entity and has no desire to run the affairs of the Parliament.
“The Magisterium of the bishops traditionally encompasses questions of faith and morals. All of the statements of the Conference have to do with the ordering of mankind’s life in society, and thus, with politics. It is nothing new for the bishops to address the political situation from a moral perspective,” he maintained. On the other hand, “Parliament is not a moral authority,” he continued. “It is a political institution” whose function is to organize laws. “The laws of a Parliament, the just laws, must be followed, but Parliament is not a moral authority, it is a political authority that is supposed to legislate and foster the common good. Nothing more, nothing less,” Camino concluded.