DAILY CATHOLIC MONDAY December 6, 1999 vol. 10, no. 231
NEWS & VIEWS
CHURCH IN SPAIN ASKS FOR FORGIVENESS FOR CIVIL WAR
"Mea Culpa" for Victims of Culture of Death: Abortion and Euthanasia
MADRID, DEC 2 (ZENIT).- Continuing in the tradition set by Pope John Paul II, the Spanish Episcopal Conference has approved a document asking for pardon for the crimes committed by the Church in Spain and its members. Bloody battles such as the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) brought the Bishops to ask "God for forgiveness for all those who were involved in actions that are reproved by the Gospel, regardless of what side of the war they were on."
This striking "mea culpa" of the Spanish Church is written in a document with the significant title, "God's Faithfulness Lasts Forever. A Look in Faith at the 20th Century," which was approved by the Episcopate's plenary assembly last week. The text, which was published today, is 16 pages long and is divided into three parts. One is dedicated to "Confession of Sins and Petition for Forgiveness, for the self-sufficiency of modern times, secularism, unheard of violence, the lethal misery of entire populations, the culture of death and the crisis of the family.
"The blood of so many of our citizens spilt as a consequence of hatreds and vengeance, which are always unjustified, and in the case of many brothers and sisters as the gift of martyrdom for the faith, continues to cry to Heaven for reconciliation and peace. May this petition for forgiveness obtain for us from the God of peace the necessary light and strength to know how to always reject violence and death as a means of resolving political and social differences," continued the document.
During the press conference to present the text, the spokesman of the Episcopal Conference, Auxiliary Bishop Juan Jose Asenjo, explained that the Spanish bishops are not trying to "delve into the past and open new wounds." "The Church asks for forgiveness for this very black episode" of the Spanish Civil War, but "we do not want to identify who it is who must ask for pardon."
"We all must ask for forgiveness: the bishops, the Church, and the entire society," he explained. "The Church was also a victim of the war, and we are not asking others to ask us for forgiveness."
"Mea Culpa" for all Violence
Although the document makes news because it relates directly to the controversial question of the Spanish Civil War, it also alludes to the two Word Wars and to terrorist violence, and it mentions recourse to abortion and euthanasia as "crimes" and studies the "self-sufficiency of modern times," "the number one sin of the people of the 20th century," also committed by the children of the Church.
The bishops believe that one of the great sins of this century that is coming to an end is "having often rejected the Heaven God offers us, arrogantly considering it a false consolation or an infantile dream."
Culture of Death
In order to be coherent, the document asks forgiveness for all acts of violence committed against the innocent, by which "an 'adult' has felt authorized to dispose of his own life and the life of others, thus thinking he will find a solution to certain problems. As a result, murder has become a deed that in certain circumstances must be tolerated and even regulated by the State, and as an alleged right of individuals that should be given recognition."
"This is the case of the crime of abortion and also of euthanasia. The Church cannot stop asking the Lord for forgiveness for the life of so many innocents brutally deprived of their right to see the light, as well as for so many elderly, sick and handicapped, whose life is underestimated, threatened, and even taken away in virtue of purely material calculations of efficiency," wrote the Bishops.
The Bishops even ask for forgiveness for the so-called "sexual revolution," which separates sex from love and the personal exercise of sexuality from human procreation. "As a result, the human fundamental 'ecology' is harmed, that is, the family environment maintained by matrimonial commitment, in which life and the values of the person are cultivated."
The Spanish Bishops believe that at the end of the second millennium, "the Church has returned to being a martyr Church. The testimony of thousands of martyrs and saints has been stronger than the violence of insidious false prophets of irreligion and atheism."
Finally, the Bishops give a clear explanation of the objective of the
document: "with a memory purified before the merciful God, who has done
and continues to do so much for us, we are encouraged and encourage all
to walk confidently toward the future. We have confidence in human
beings because we trust God. We will remain vigilant in face of idols
that will offer us heaven on earth, but which will end by handing us
over to discouragement and death. Confidence in God helps us to learn
from the past, including from our errors and sins, and helps us to look
toward a future in which we can truly hope for the best."
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NEWS & VIEWS