Catholic Church ... (NSS newsline - 11 Dec. 09)
Catholic Church tries to blackmail Spanish politicians over abortion
The Catholic Church is trying once more to blackmail politicians in order to have its dogmas written into law – this time in Spain. The Bishop’s Conference has threatened all members of the Spanish parliament who vote to liberalise the country’s abortion laws that they will be denied communion. "This is a warning to Catholics, that they can’t vote in favour of this and that they won’t be able to receive communion unless they ask forgiveness," Bishop Juan Antonio Martinez Camino said at a news conference. "They are in an objective state of sin."
The government-sponsored bill, which passed the first of a series of votes in parliament last week, will allow abortion until the 14th week of pregnancy and, in cases of extreme foetal deformity, at any time in the pregnancy. The bill will also allow girls to obtain abortions from the age of 16 without parental consent, a clause that has generated dissent even within the governing Socialist Party.
Abortion is currently allowed only in cases of rape, a malformed foetus or if the pregnancy endangers the physical or mental health of the mother. In practice, Spain has a higher rate of abortion than some countries with more liberal laws, because many Spanish doctors are willing to attest to the danger to the mother’s psychological health.
Hundreds of thousands of people marched against the abortion law in Madrid last month. But the government, which has fallen slightly behind the conservative opposition in opinion polls, calculates that the bill has strong support among left-leaning voters.
See also: Italy approves abortion pill – despite Vatican opposition
Catholic Church pushing further into European politics
A group of Catholic politicians in Germany has launched a group called The Circle of Committed Catholics in Politics and Society aimed at pushing the Vatican’s agenda into German politics. It has attracted 500 members since its launch on 15 November.
Issues that the group will be promoting are "absolute loyalty to Rome and the Pope" as well as opposing abortion, civil partnerships, embryonic stem cell research and the opening of more nurseries and kindergartens. The latter is because the members of the group believe women should stay at home to look after children. The Archbishop of Cologne welcomed the group, saying it would lead to "far greater emphasis on Christian values".
Meanwhile, in Britain, Baroness (Shirley) Williams of Crosby has called for regular dialogue between Catholic politicians and senior clergy. She has written to the Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, seeking improved contact between MPs and bishops. A spokesman for the archbishop said that the Bishops’ Conference parliamentary co-ordinator had been asked to look at the best way of achieving this.