Archbishop warns against dangers of “national secularism” in Spain

Joining the debate in Spain over the place of religion in schools, the Archbishop of Valencia, Agustin Garcia-Gasco, said this week that “religion classes are a constitutional right of parents and not the Church,” and the said he was willing to allow religion classes to be held in the parishes of the archdiocese if it was not possible to do so at the schools.

According to the AVAN News Agency, Archbishop Garcia-Gasco pointed out that “80% of parents want religion to be taught to their children.”  Therefore, “this is no way an attempt to establish ‘nationwide Catholicism’ and those who are inclined to believe so are perhaps themselves falling into the temptation of ‘national secularism,’ which would be another mistake.”

In a press release, the Archbishop stated, “If it is necessary to hold religion classes in the parishes I am willing to do so, but we must never abandon our children and young people by letting them have the opportunity to learn whatever religion they want.”

Archbishop Garcia-Gasco recalled that “the non-sectarian nature of the State was proposed by the Church and acknowledged by the Second Vatican Council,” and according to Spain’s constitution, Church and State “are two institutions with complete autonomy and independence, but they are called to work together.”

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