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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Spanish cardinal says Church teaching rejects national independence

Less than one month before elections in Catalonia, a Spanish cardinal said Catholics everywhere are violating Church teaching if they support pro-independence movements.

“In democratically constituted nations, there can be no moral legitimacy for unilateral secession,” Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera of Valencia said in a Wednesday 29th November commentary for the Madrid-based La Razon daily.

“When certain nations are linked by historical, cultural and political ties to other nations within the same state, it cannot be said that these nations necessarily enjoy a right to political sovereignty. Nations, considered in isolation, do not enjoy an absolute right to decide.”

The 21st December elections in the Catalonia region will replace the region’s Parliament. In late October, Parliament voted to unilaterally declare independence from Spain, so the Spanish prime minister invoked an article of Spain’s constitution and dissolved Catalonia’s government.

Cardinal Canizares said the Catholic Church recognised the right of people to change the political order “without violence, by democratic methods.” However, he added that it was “morally unacceptable” for nations to “claim independence unilaterally by their own will.” He said nationalist demands could only be justified “with reference to the common good of the entire affected population.”

Picture: Spanish pro-unity supporters hold a banner reading “Catalonia is Spain” during an 18th November demonstration in Barcelona. (CNS photo/Albert Gea, Reuters).