During Tarcisio Bertone’s recent visit to Spain, the Vatican Secretary of State stirred up controversy by denouncing abortion and homosexual “marriage,” while making a thinly-veiled attack on the government’s Education for Citizenship program, which seeks to impose homosexualist and socialistic ideologies on students as early as elementary school.
“To want to impose, as secularism intends to do, a faith or religious practice that is strictly private” involves “a meddling with the rights of people to live their religious convictions in accordance with their wishes and with the demands of those convictions,” said Bertone in a speech delivered to the Spanish Episcopal Conference.
In an apparent reference to the Spanish government’s plans to loosen its already liberal abortion law, Bertone stated, “I have tried to understand, but also to make others understand, that if something is necessary, it is to restrict – and not to widen — the possibilities of abortion.”
He also reiterated the Catholic Church’s teaching that family life is founded on “the marriage of one man and one woman, united by an indissoluble link, freely contracted.” Spain is one of the [few] European countries that has legalized homosexual “marriage.”
During his two-day visit, Bertone met with the King of Spain Juan Carlos I, Spain’s president Jose Rodriguez Zapatero, opposition leader Mariano Rajoy and numerous other dignitaries.
The Spanish Socialist Worker’s Party, which currently holds the nation’s executive and predominates in the national legislature, reportedly put its program to liberalize the nation’s abortion law on hold while Bertone was in the country, highlighting the continuing importance of the Catholic religion in Spain.
Although a majority of Spaniards publicly identify with the Catholic faith, church attendance has fallen dramatically since Spain’s transition to democracy in the 1970s, which brought a series of socialist and secularist governments in its wake.