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Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera

MADRID, December 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — According to a Spanish cardinal, an agreement reached by Spain's Socialist and left-wing parties to form a coalition government after two inconclusive general elections this year will mean not only a decisive political shift, but also an assault on the “meaning of the person and his dignity” that will lead to “abandoning and forgetting God.”

“The effective economic repercussions have been immediate, the reactions and commentaries in Europe and Spain, besides being negative, leaves us in great fear,” Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera wrote on Nov. 30 about the prospect of coalition government led by the Socialist and leftist Podemos parties in light of a pre-agreement or working document they published last month. 

Elevated to the cardinalate in 2006 by Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, Cañizares is the former Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. As Archbishop of Toledo and Primate of Spain, he earned the sobriquet “Little Ratzinger” for his defense of Catholic teachings reminiscent of the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI. He is currently archbishop of Valencia.

The document sets out the common policy principles that an eventual coalition government would follow, which include abortion rights and euthanasia. Cañizares warned that aspects of the pre-agreement have “some cultural, anthropological connotations and a vision of reality that go beyond economics and leave or create great concern.” 

On Nov. 10, Spain held a general election that garnered 120 seats in Spain’s Congress of Deputies for Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez' Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE). However, 176 is required for a majority in the legislative body. The People's Party and the pro-life Vox party won 88 and 52 seats, respectively, while the leftist populist Podemos party won 35 seats. Following the inconclusive election, Podemos and PSOE announced a pre-agreement to rule as a coalition government. However, the two would still be 21 seats shy of a majority. The coalition is seeking the support of the Republican Left, a social-democratic party that seeks Catalonian independence, and other leftist parties. 

A crisis in the previous government under former Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of the center-right Popular Party resulted in a parliamentary no-confidence vote and his resignation. Socialist Pedro Sanchez became prime minister but struggled to bring about comity among the leftist parties that had backed the Rajoy’s departure, even when a general election in April saw the Socialists win 123 seats in Congress, but not a majority. 

When King Felipe declined to propose a candidate in September for investiture as prime minister, the November general was scheduled. The Socialists won the greatest number of seats of any party, but failed to gain a majority. One of the other results of this year’s political turbulence has been the strengthening of leftist and right-of-center parties. Among them is Vox, which is led by Santiago Abascal. In April, Vox entered Congress for the first time, winning 24 seats. In the November election, Vox — Spain’s biggest pro-life party — increased its representation to 52 seats, thus becoming the third-largest party in the chamber.

Cañizares, warning about what a leftist coalition government would represent, stated: A “cultural change is established or engendered, one way of thinking is imposed, with a vision of man intended to be spread to everyone, the approval of euthanasia, the extension of new rights, gender ideology, radical feminism, bringing up historical memories that foment hatred and aversion.” 

One of the most polemical “historical memories” of this year has been the exhumation and removal of the mortal remains of Francisco Franco from his former burial place at the Valley of the Fallen, near Madrid. Franco ruled Spain as a near-dictator from 1938 until 1975. Leftists have sought to abolish monuments to Franco while also recalling for Spaniards the fratricidal civil war of the 1930s that resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths and enduring enmities.

Forgetting God, and negating humanity

Cañizares said that the pre-agreement  suggests “a deepening and immersion into a very deep crisis above all cultural, but also a political and institutional, a democratic, social, religious crisis about what constitutes Spain in its reality and its very own identity.” He asserted that Spain is “immersed in a human crisis” that is deepening, because it reflects a crisis over “humanity and about society,” which is “the crisis of the meaning of life, a human, anthropological, moral crisis and of universal values, a spiritual and social crisis, a crisis in marriages and families.”

Cañizares added that “we find ourselves facing a serious emergency” where “a new culture is being or has been imposed, a project of humanity that entails a radical anthropological vision which changes the vision that gives us identity and configures us as a people, and even as a continent, I dare to say: the identity received from our ancestors in our common history.”

The success of the prospective leftist plans for Spain would lead, in his view, to “the serious loss of or almost totally obscure the meaning of the person and his dignity” and ultimately to “abandoning and forgetting God which is to forget and negate man.”

While he expressed concern over a possible forthcoming global economic crisis, Cañizares said that “even more serious will be the cultural and identity crisis, suffered by Spain in the context of the West, with its own connotations, which, if this coalition takes over the national government given what is seen in the 'pre-agreement,' will deepen.” Cañizares diagnosed Spain as having a “real sickness, manifested on different fronts, in our society, whose great challenge, or rather, great and new challenges, are summed up in its urgent healing.”

And so the cardinal stressed that “the human person and his dignity, the basis of the common good founded on the real effective recognition of universal human rights, are the foundation that we must contemplate and put in all its consistency, if we want to find the healing and constructive path to follow.” 

Cañizares called for a common commitment to the “inviolable dignity” of the human person and the common good, “which makes us free for the world of culture, religion and science, of politics and human relationships.” This should be the basis, he wrote, of creating a “hopeful future, a new culture and a new civilization which all of us have to shape through dialogue, encounter, without impositions.”