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Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Spain's socialist government is further undermining the faltering state of Catholicism in the country

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Spain's socialist government is further undermining the faltering state of Catholicism in the country

Just as Pelayo sought the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary to recapture Spain from the Moors, so will Catholics pray to the powerful Mother of God to deliver us from the enemies of Jesus Christ. With the Blessed Virgin Mary, no amount of government effort to undermine the holy religion founded by Her Divine Son will prevail.

 

eblast promptNestled on Europe’s Iberian Peninsula, Spain is a country with a glorious Catholic heritage, featuring magnificent works of religious art from painters such as El Greco, awe-inspiring cathedrals like the Primada de Toledo Cathedral, as well as great saints including Teresa of Ávila, John of the Cross, Ignatius of Loyola and Vincent Ferrer.

However, data released by Statista disclose a significant drop in the number of Spanish Catholics, with the Spanish Catholic Church in 2023 losing around 17.8 percentage points of their faithful with a share of 52.9 percent of those polled, as compared to 2011, when the proportion of Catholics amounted to slightly over 70 percent of Spaniards.

As per an article in the Spanish news outlet El Pais, a study published in 2019 by the Ferrer i Guàrdia Foundation revealed that 27 percent of Spaniards considered themselves either to be atheists, agnostics or nonbelievers. The same El Pais article indicated that “as many as 48.9% of young people between the ages of 18 and 24 have turned their back on religion, while just 48.5% confess to having a belief system”, adding that “the numbers abandoning religion since 1980 when just 8.5% of the population did not believe, have risen relentlessly.”

In 2023, the Spanish Supreme Court reinforced that Spanish public schools are to continue promoting gender ideologies to students. Notably, the court ruling stipulated conditions for a “gender perspective” in public primary education, at the expense of religious education in schools.

Moreover, poll results released in June 2020 by Spain’s Center for Sociological Investigations and quoted by FSSPX News  in 2020 depicted that among 25-34 year-old respondents, “only 36% identify themselves as Catholics, while more than 57%  claim total indifference, if not hostility to the faith of the Church”. The same FSSPX News article elaborated:

“The Bishops’ Conference of Spain announced at the same time that in 2019 it had closed no less than 32 monasteries and convents. This is the direct consequence of the collapse in the number of religious: dropping by 1,408 in 2018, and by 1,828 in 2019.”

Additionally, a 2019 survey of the Center for Sociological Research (CIS in Spanish) divulged:

“Two out of three Spaniards declare themselves Catholic, but fewer than one-third of them (22.7%) say they go to Mass or to confession, according to the latest CIS poll, which for the first time finds that atheists, agnostics, and non-believers have reached 29% and outnumber practicing Catholics. 2.3% claim to belong to a religion other than Catholic.”

Another FSSPX News article in 2024 cited a study by Religión Confidencial on how the decline of Spanish religious vocations has prompted the Spanish Episcopal Conference not to release annual data on religious vocations for the last five years.

The 2024 FSSPX News article then elaborated on the lack of Spain’s religious vocations, stating:

“The number of seminarians in Spain has seen a considerable decline since the 1960s. At that time, Spain had more than 7,000 seminarians. Ten years later, that number had dropped to 1,500. A drop of almost 80%. After rising above 2,000 between 1985 and 1990, the trend once again started to fall below 1,000 last year.”

In wake of the country’s dismal state of Catholicism, the socialist government of Pedro Sánchez is adding fuel to the fire, further undermining the Catholic cause in Spain.

Just this year, Catholic José Andrés Calderón, was fined €3,600 by Spain’s socialist government. His only “crime” was to say the Holy Rosary in public. In 2023, the government outlawed public prayers, including the Holy Rosary. Prior to the European Parliament (EP) elections in June 2024, the government once again reiterated its ban on public Rosary prayers.

Besides, the same socialist government under Sánchez proclaimed that it would include euthanasia for the mentally ill. According to the draft of the scheduled government amendment as cited by Catholic News Agency (CNA), the Organic Law for the Regulation of Euthanasia “does not exclude mental illness, allowing people with an unbearable suffering due to the presence of a mental illness to request PAM [aid in dying] on ​​equal terms with those whose suffering comes from a bodily illness.” Spain legalized assisted suicide in 2021, with almost all of the votes that passed the law hailing from left-wing parties.

An inundation of illegal Muslim migrants facilitated by decades of left-liberal government policies also threatens to further dilute the proportion of Catholics in Spain. In 2023, Secretary of the Islamic Commission of Spain admitted that the Muslim population living in Spain has risen 10 times in the past three decades, surpassing 2.5 million.

While opposing public Rosaries, the anti-life Sánchez government has thus far not opposed upcoming summer course teaching students how to set up a legal basis for surrogacy by the Avila branch of Spain’s National Distance Education University (UNED), despite surrogacy currently being illegal in the country and public resistance to the course.

In 2023, the Spanish Supreme Court reinforced that Spanish public schools are to continue promoting gender ideologies to students. Notably, the court ruling stipulated conditions for a “gender perspective” in public primary education, at the expense of religious education in schools. The same year saw the Spanish parliament passing a transgender law championed by the then Minister of Equality Irene Montero of the leftist Podemos party. The law permits children as young as 12 to alter their gender legally.

An inundation of illegal Muslim migrants facilitated by decades of left-liberal government policies also threatens to further dilute the proportion of Catholics in Spain. In 2023, Secretary of the Islamic Commission of Spain admitted that the Muslim population living in Spain has risen 10 times in the past three decades, surpassing 2.5 million.The (re)Islamization of Spain (given its historical struggle with Muslims), along with a marked fall in birth rates, does not augur well for the country’s Catholic future, humanly speaking.

Fortunately, more and more Spanish Catholics are resisting the top-down efforts by Spain’s anti-Catholic government to discredit the Catholic Church and snuff out the country’s remaining vestiges of Catholicism.

For instance, the Spanish Bishops’ Conference (known by its Spanish acronym CEE) published a statement slamming the socialist government’s recent proclamation of its plan to tackle sexual and power abuses committed within the Catholic Church, stating that the government has unjustly singled out the Catholic Church for such abuses. Strikingly, the bishops’ text decried the government’s attempt to impose “a condemnatory judgment of the entire Church, carried out without any type of legal guarantee, a public and discriminatory targeting by the state.”

To their credit, many Spanish Catholics have courageously defied government regulations to ban public prayers. Rosary prayers still can be heard in public arenas throughout the country, as faithful Spanish Catholics entreat the Blessed Virgin Mary for Her intercession.

CNA reported in March this year that Spain’s Association for Reconciliation and Historical Truth managed to collect over 130,000 signatures on a petition urging the Madrid regional government to protect the Valley of the Fallen as an asset of cultural interest. Advocates for petition detailed how “the social-communist government has put the machinery in motion to destroy the Valley of the Fallen and transform it into a “museum” of horrors by rewriting history with falsehoods, blaming one side for all the evils [of the 1936–1939 Spanish Civil War] and hiding the crimes of the other.”

With the help of Our Lord Jesus Christ and  the Blessed Virgin Mary Pelayo emerged triumphant in the Battle of Covadonga, marking the start of the Spanish Reconquista that would last eight centuries until Catholic monarchs Isabella and Ferdinand retrieved Granada in 1492.

In recent years, traditional Latin-Mass Catholics have started an annual pilgrimage dedicated to Our Lady of Christendom, or Nuestra Señora de la Cristiandad in Spanish.

Modeled after the more established annual Chartres Pilgrimage, the Nuestra Señora de la Cristiandad pilgrimage features the Traditional Latin Mass exclusively. Pilgrims joining the walking route can pray for Spain and the Catholic Church in general. This year, The Remnant will report live from the pilgrimage ( July 27 to 29 2024).

The pilgrimage will begin in Oviedo, the capital of Spain’s Asturias region, and home to the Sudarium of Oviedo, the piece of cloth that was wrapped around the head of Our Lord Jesus Christ after His crucifixion.

Eventually, the pilgrimage will end at the Sanctuary of Covadonga in the Asturian mountains, a major center of Marian pilgrimage. A chapel with the image of the Virgin Mary of Covadonga, affectionately known locally as La Santina, can be found in the Marian Sanctuary. This site is also  where King Don Pelayo and his men sought refuge who were fighting against the Arabs during a battle that is dated between 718 and 722. The Holy Mother of God appeared to Pelayo and his men, telling Pelayo:

 “Take courage. The Moors are wavering. Go out now and attack them in the name of Jesus Christ and you shall conquer.” 

Indeed, with the help of Our Lord Jesus Christ and  the Blessed Virgin Mary Pelayo emerged triumphant in the Battle of Covadonga, marking the start of the Spanish Reconquista that would last eight centuries until Catholic monarchs Isabella and Ferdinand retrieved Granada in 1492.

Just as Pelayo sought the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary to recapture Spain from the Moors, so will Catholics pray to the powerful Mother of God to deliver us from the enemies of Jesus Christ. With the Blessed Virgin Mary, no amount of government effort to undermine the holy religion founded by Her Divine Son will prevail.

¡VIVA LA VIRGEN MARÍA!

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Last modified on Wednesday, July 3, 2024
Angeline Tan | Remnant Columnist, Singapore

Angeline is a Catholic writer who enjoys Catholic history and architecture. Her favorite saints include Saint Joseph, Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, Saint Philomena and the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of all Saints.