Green party and feminists seek end to concordat between Spain and Holy See

Spokesmen for Green party leftists and for prominent feminist groups announced this week their intentions to push the Spanish socialist government to “review” the financial aspects of the Concordat between Spain and the Holy See.

Leftists congresswoman Joan Herrera said her party will present a proposal to modify the relationship between Church and State regarding government funding, because “the ecclesiastical hierarchy is way out of bounds.”

The proposal would call for the revision of the 1979 Concordat because it is “pre-constitutional” and gives the Church “privileged funding.”  It would also call for the reversal of a 1980 religious freedom law which socialists say favors the Church.

Herrera says the bill is justified because of the “excessive reaction” to proposals to legalize homosexual marriage and the adoption of children by homosexuals.

Herrera denounced the latest document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on the role of men and women.  “The State must react because if not, it will end up acting completely hypocritically.”  “We are scandalized by young Muslim women who wear veils at school, but we are not scandalized by those who promote a doctrine that women should stay at home,” she said.

The State cannot provide funding to those who make “statements that jeopardize equality” instead of “playing a neutral role,” she added.

Herrera said groups that are opposed to the Church’s statements should “follow their criticism through with actions.”  “There is a solid majority in Congress in favor of reviewing these accords,” she stated.

At the same time, Angeles Alvarez, spokeswoman for the Network of Feminist Organizations Against Gender Violence, announced the group has launched a campaign to collect signatures calling for the government to suspend the Concordat with the Holy See, which since 1979 has determined the amount of funding the Catholic Church receives from the State.

Alvarez justified the initiative by claiming the Church “defends sexism by defending the stereotypical role of women and by attacking the principles of equality.”  “Spaniards need to reflect on the fact that the State cannot continue to maintain a privileged relationship with an organization that attacks the rights of half of the population,” she said.

Alvarez criticized local governments for providing funds for prevention and assistance programs for victims of abuse by organizations tied to the Church, when the Church “defends inequality,” she said.

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