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Leading SNP politician takes on cardinal who claims independence ‘against Church teaching’

A Catholic SNP MP has challenge a Spanish cardinal over comments on Catalonian independence -By RYAN MCDOUGALL

Carol Monaghan, MP for Glasgow North West, said Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera of Valencia’s comments show a ‘deliberate ignorance of the drivers behind independence movements’, after he said Catholics everywhere are violating church teaching if they support pro-independence movements less than a month before the elections in Catalonia.

“It appears the Spanish establishment have a new champion in Cardinal Cañizares. I wonder what the cardinal thinks about other nations that have gained their independence. He cannot surely believe that the USA or indeed Ireland should have remained under London rule?” Ms Monaghan said. “The cardinal’s comments display a deliberate ignorance of the drivers behind independence movements.

“In Scotland these drivers include the desire for a more socially-just society, a society where refugees are welcome and nuclear weapons are not.

“As someone whose Faith has always informed my politics, it is ludicrous to suggest that I am violating Church teaching by asserting my belief that Scotland should be independent of the London-centric decision making in Westminster.

“Having seen the brutality of the Spanish police and the intransigence of the Spanish Government, the cardinal’s suggestion that the independence movement had aroused hatred, is deeply irresponsible.

“Thankfully many of the clergy had the strength of conviction to support those in Catalonia who were seeking independence peacefully through the ballot box.”

‘In democratically constituted nations, there can be no moral legitimacy for unilateral secession’, Cardinal Cañizares said in a November 29 commentary for the Madrid-based La Razon daily.

“When certain nations are linked by historical, cultural and political ties to other nations within the same state, it cannot be said that these nations necessarily enjoy a right to political sovereignty. Nations, considered in isolation, do not enjoy an absolute right to decide.”

The December 21 elections in the Catalonia region will replace the region’s Parliament. In late October, Parliament voted to unilaterally declare independence from Spain, so the Spanish prime minister invoked an article of Spain’s constitution and dissolved Catalonia’s government.

Cardinal Cañizares said the Catholic Church recognised the right of people to change the political order ‘without violence, by democratic methods’. However, he added that it was ‘morally unacceptable’ for nations to ‘claim independence unilaterally by their own will’. He said nationalist demands could only be justified ‘with reference to the common good of the entire affected population.’

“When the will to independence becomes an absolute principle of political action and is imposed at all costs and by any means, it is comparable to an idolatry that gravely undermines the moral order,” he said.

In a separate interview with La Razon, Cardinal Cañizares said he was ‘hurt’ that many Catalan clergy had backed independence, allowing referendum boxes to be hidden in their churches. He said he believed, and believed Bishop Xavier Novell Goma of Solsona, who also supported secession, had been confused and untruthful.

He added that he hoped the church would clarify the ‘non-legitimacy of secessionism in democratic countries’ to discourage nationalism in other European regions such as Scotland, Corsica and Bavaria.

“No one can claim a church basis for secessionism,” Cardinal Cañizares said. “The independence movement has aroused a hatred which didn’t exist, whereas the church will always work for unity, coexistence and harmony.”

During a November 20-24 meeting of the Spanish bishops’ conference in Madrid, the conference president, Cardinal Ricardo Blazquez Perez of Valladolid, also reiterated his church’s support for Spain’s 1978 constitution as ‘the fundamental regulation of coexistence.’


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