BARCELONA, May 31, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Catholic priests have joined forces with pro-life activists in the Archdiocese of Barcelona to initiate monthly protests against the archdiocese’s continuing association with hospitals that perform abortions.
Fr. Custodio Ballester and other priests of the archdiocese, together with the Cross of Saint Andrew and Right to Life associations, began their protests in front of the San Pablo Hospital of Barcelona on May 25. Organizers say they will continue to protest the archdiocesan presence on the hospital’s board on the 25th of every month until it ceases.
Ballester joined representatives of the two pro-life organizations in a press conference on May 25 to denounce the archdiocesan leadership’s “cowardice” in continuing its association with the San Pablo Hosptial (or “Hospital Sant Pau” in Catalonian), and to announce his participation in the protest.
“The Church is free. The Catholic Church is not condemned to form part of the board of directors of the San Pablo Hospital of Barcelona,” Ballester said, condemning the hospital for “having abandoned the ends for which it was created” by performing abortions.
“The Church is free, and we do not have the right to muzzle it because of fear of the governments of Catalonia and Barcelona which also form part of the board of directors of the San Pablo Hospital of Barcelona,” added Ballester.
“I want to be the voice of Barcelona priests who this afternoon will be in front of the San Pablo Hospital to proclaim with our presence that the Church is holy, and we don’t have the right to obscure its image with our cowardice.”
As LifeSiteNews reported on May 18, Ballester has already written directly to Cardinal Luis Martínez Sistach, Barcelona’s archbishop, asking him to “publicly denounce and put an end to this scandalous situation and to any participation, representation and connivance of the Catholic Church in the boards of directors of the Santa Creu and Sant Pau (Hospitals) of Barcelona,” as well as several others.
Although Ballester says Sistach never responded, he recently told the Spanish Catholic website Religion in Liberty that Vatican officials are aware of the situation and have asked Sistach and other Catalonian bishops to end their associations with the hospital. Thus far, the requests appear to have gone unheeded.
The hospitals’ involvement in abortion has been known since at least September of 2010, when it was first reported by Spain’s ABC newspaper.
After the archdiocese claimed the abortions were the result of other medical procedures, new evidence came to light indicating they were voluntary. The archdiocese has not responded to media since then.
Archdiocese of Barcelona
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