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

Spanish Church urges dialogue after disputed Catalan referendum

Church leaders appealed for calm in Spain’s autonomous Catalonia region after hundreds of people were detained by authorities and more than 800 others were injured during a disputed independence referendum.

Cardinal Juan Jose Omella, archbishop of Barcelona, urged all parties to engage in “prayers and calm” following the 1st October vote, which was marred by violence throughout the region.

“The violence experienced in Catalonia is deplorable,” he said. “We have to find a peaceful and democratic way out of this situation.”

The cardinal’s appeal came as Catalonia regional President Carles Puigdemont said in a televised address after polls closed that Catalans had “won the right to statehood.”

The vote went forward despite Spain’s Constitutional Court suspension of a law passed by the Catalonian parliament that said if more than 50 per cent of voters in the referendum supported independence, the state would secede. The paramilitary Civil Guard used batons and rubber bullets in a bid to close polling stations and seize ballot boxes, triggering violence with protesters.

Picture: Dozens gather outside one of the Spanish National Police headquarters to protest against the police violence that took place the day before in the referendum of independence forbidden by the central government in Barcelona, Spain, on 2nd October 2017. (Samuel Boivin/ABACAPRESS.COM).