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Spanish hierarchy sees hope in new government

Catholic World News - November 23, 2011

The president of the Spanish bishops’ conference sees “a new political era in Spain,” with the election that brought Mariano Rajoy to power as the nation’s prime minister.

Speaking at a plenary meeting of the episcopal conference, which took place in the wake of the elections, Cardinal Antonio María Rouco Varela of Madrid acknowledged that the new government would be preoccupied with the country’s economic crisis. However, the cardinal said, it is important to “look at the deep-rooted causes” of that crisis.

Echoing the analysis that Pope Benedict XVI offered in his encyclical Deus Caritas Est, Cardinal Rouco Varela said that the economic collapse can be linked to a loss of moral vision. The main task for the Church is to restore moral principles, he said. Today, the cardinal said, the people of Spain—and especially the young people—are suffering the damaging effects of “moral relativism, spiritual and religious skepticism, and because of a selfish and individualist conception of man and life.”

The landslide victory for Rajoy and his Parti Populaire opens new possibilities for the Spanish hierarchy, which had clashed repeatedly with the leadership of José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. While the ousted Socialist government had pushed through a more liberal abortion law and legal recognition of same-sex marriage, Rajoy opposed both measures.

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