- Aug 9, 2020
While the Vatican hosted a major summit on Europe on Friday featuring some 350 spiritual and political leaders from across the continent, nobody seemed eager to touch the big European story of the day — Catalonia’s vote to declare independence, and Spain’s move to impose direct rule. That may reflect both the sensitivity of the issue, and the fact that the Church isn’t of one mind.
The Spanish ambassador to the Vatican, Ambassador Gerardo Bugallo, had a private meeting with Pope Francis, and afterwards a weekly Catholic magazine Vida Nueva, wrote that the pope spoke to Bugallo about the “Holy See’s position against every self-determination process that is not justified by a process of decolonization.”
As an independence vote looms on Sunday in the Spanish region of Catalonia, the Church seems as badly divided as Spaniards themselves. Officially, they’re urging dialogue and calm, but some Catalonian prelates and clergy are openly supporting the secessionist movement, while others are maintaining their distance from the drive for independence.
“God is the God of life and love in all religions, especially in ours, in the Catholic world, where God dies to save man. The path of destruction is not religion nor does it come from God and can never be tolerated,” said Cardinal Juan José Omella, Archbishop of Barcelona, after visiting wounded in the hospital after the terror attacks.
Archbishop Juan José Omella of Barcelona is the odd man out among the five new cardinals being created by Pope Francis today, because the Catalan capital is a traditional red hat see. It’s a sign of how unorthodox Francis’s cardinal picks have become that the biggest surprise of this consistory was that, in this case, Francis didn’t surprise.