Matthew Hoffman

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Socialist political parties seek removal of Spanish bishop for ‘homophobia’

Matthew Hoffman

May 17, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A trio of socialist political parties in the government of Alcalá de Henares, Spain, has passed a resolution demanding the exclusion of the local bishop from all local government functions for preaching the Catholic Church’s doctrines on homosexual behavior, which it characterizes as “homophobic.”

The resolution also asks that the Spanish Episcopal Conference remove the bishop from his position as head of the diocese.

Bishop Juan Antonio Reig Plà incurred the ire of socialists and homosexual groups in Spain when he gave a sermon on Good Friday in early April that included homosexual behavior in a list of destructive vices.

With regard to homosexual behavior, Reig Plà said: “One must not corrupt people, not even with false messages. I would like to say a word to those people carried away by so many ideologies that end up failing to properly guide human sexuality. They think that since their childhood they have had an attraction to people of their same sex and, sometimes, to prove it they become corrupt and prostitute themselves or go to homosexual nightclubs. I assure you that (there) they find hell.”

After expressions of outrage regarding the bishop’s statement, which reflects the perennial teaching of the Catholic Church and all traditional Christianity on sexual deviance, Reig Plà gave an interview to the Internet news service Religion en Libertad (Religion in Liberty). In the interview he explained his statement in more detail, and added that homosexual tendencies can be cured through therapy, further angering opponents of Catholic teaching on sexual morality.

Reig Plà‘s opponents have responded by filing at least one criminal complaint at the national level, and a local judge has ordered an investigation into the bishop’s statements, requesting a copy of the video from the television network that broadcast it.  Reig Plà has countered by posting testimonies by homosexuals and former homosexuals supporting his stance.

Now the Spanish Socialist Worker’s Party (PSOE), with the United Left (IU) and the Union, Progress, and Democracy Party (UPyD), claim that the bishop’s words “have put Alcalá on the homophobic map,” in the words of one PSOE representative, and want Reig Plá removed from his position.  However, the mayor of Alcalá de Henares, Bartolomé González, who is a member of the more conservative People’s Party, has been silent on the matter, according to the El Plural newspaper.

The same publication reports that a People’s Party spokesman has called the motion by the other parties “the new inquisition to which the socialist group has appointed itself,” and characterized the spokesman for the POSE “the new Torquemada.”

The Diocese of Alcalá de Henares has responded with a public statement noting that Bishop Reig Plà‘s affirmations are simply a repetition of Catholic teaching, and that he has no intention of retracting them.

While expressing “respect for all people,” the diocese adds that “it is not legitimate for any human institution to judge, and much less, impede the teaching of the contents of Catholic Doctrine,” calling it a “sad and intolerable violation of human rights and the principle of Church-State separation.”

“Our father and pastor, the Bishop of Alcalá de Henaraes, Mons. Juan Antonio Reig Plà , has always taught, with charity and truth, Catholic doctrine, and he will continue to do so, by the grace of God,” the statement continues, and concludes: “We invite all Catholics to pray for religious liberty and other human rights in Spain, for our pastor Mons. Juan Antonio Reig, and for all those who—without judging their intention—are persecuting him for defending justice.”

Bishop Reig Plà has received support from many Catholic organizations, including the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations (FIAMC), pro-life and pro-family groups such as Spain’s influential Hazte Oir (Make Yourself Heard), and the Catholic blogosphere.

A special Internet website has been established by Bishop Reig Plá supporters to facilitate many communications of support to the bishop:

The website, requests entry of “Nombre” :first name, “Apellidos”: last name, “Provincia”: EEUU for United States, Irlandia for Ireland, Reino Unido for United Kingdom (Canada and Australia are spelled virtually the same way).  Instructions are to type comments in the “Mensaje personal” box, and click on “Firmar” to send the signed message to Bishop Reig Plá.

The letter states: Monseñor Reig Plà: I wish to express to you my support and to thank you for the brilliant homily that you gave last Good Friday. The lies and insults cannot erase the truth that enclose words such as yours, which help me to understand the sense of the Passion of the Lord, and the real meaning of sin.

Previous LifeSiteNews coverage:

* Spanish bishop publishes ex-gay testimonies on diocesan website after attacks from homosexual groups
* Liberal outrage in Spain: Homosexual groups seek prosecution of bishop over sermon on homosexuality

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