The Pope’s support for same-gender civil unions is being scorned in the Spanish Church, with the secretary of the country’s bishops’ conference criticising modern families and a diocese firing a lesbian.

– Supporters of Pope’s comments “clericalist”, traditional marriage “common sense”

In a Twitter thread October 25, Luis Argüello, the auxiliary bishop of Valladolid and secretary and spokesman of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference, offered his own peculiar interpretation of remarks made by the Pope in a documentary that premiered last week.

In that film, Francis says: “Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it. What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered. I stood up for that”.

Argüello wrote that “in 1968, with ‘free love’, the process of the deinstitutionalisation of the family began. Later on, it was demanded that ‘free and open’ relationships should not suffer discrimination. Thus de facto partnerships, civil unions and marriage equality. At the same time they want to be and not to be”.

He went on: “Perhaps that’s why some people are jubilant about the Pope’s alleged support for homosexual unions. How clericalist! As if marriage being only the stable union of man and woman capable of generating life and forming a family had not been common sense for centuries”.

Argüello later followed up on those comments with a letter to the priests of the Valladolid archdiocese, in which the bishop split hairs to claim that the Pope, in the documentary, was referring only to “civil coexistence” and not civil unions, and was referring only to gay peoples’ families of origin, and not to “a new family based on the relationship of two people of the same sex”.

– Diocese fires catechist for civil marriage with another woman

In the meantime, in an even more controversial development out of the Spanish Church, the Diocese of Menorca confirmed October 26 that it had fired a catechist for contracting a civil marriage with another woman.

In a statement Monday in which it confirmed the dismissal of Carmen Mascaró as catechist in the Sant Miquel Catechetical Centre in the town of Ciutadella, the Menorca diocese said that “contracting civil marriage with a person of the same sex means publicly not accepting the Church’s teaching on marriage, which in our opinion means [Mascaró] must stop teaching the Christian faith to young people”.

“We are all called to holiness and to live in communion within the Church, but when joining an association or holding an office of greater responsibility, a plus of credibility is required from the person who is to take on a specific job, so that the mission entrusted to him or her is fruitful and the person in question does not cause any kind of scandal among the faithful”, the diocese explained.

The Bishop of the neighbouring Mallorca diocese, Sebastià Taltavull, later tried to play down the Church’s dismissal of Mascaró, insisting that “being a lesbian should never be incompatible with being a Christian” and explaining that “the problem came when she got married… I want to respect decisions but I would like there to be dialogue before making decisions”.

The Menorca diocese has made it clear that Mascaró can continue to be employed in the diocesan Caritas and to volunteer in all aspects of Church life that don’t involve her teaching the faith.

But for Mascaró herself the whole experience of being fired has left a bitter taste in her mouth.

In a farewell note, the now ex-catechist expressed her joy at getting married, but lamented that her new union has made her “persona non grata to conduct catechesis” in the diocese. “Unfortunately, we have no other option that allows us to get married”, Mascaró rued.

She went on to say that she and her partner “are convinced that love should always be a gift, a blessing [and] never a reason for rejection or exclusion”.

“On many occasions I have been asked how I can participate in an institution like the Church, which historically has done so much harm and which has a traditional doctrine that is often incoherent and exclusive”, Mascaró wrote.

“I cannot deny that there are many manifestations and forms of it [the discriminating Church] that I do not like and that, if I could, I would change.

“But… let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Or is it the case that we are all not light and shadow? Doesn’t every family have good and bad? Wealth and poverty? What good would it do me to judge [the Church] from outside? How could I work to renew it if I didn’t do it from love, knowledge and forgiveness?”

More on Novena on the debate in the Church over the Pope’s support for same-gender civil unions:

Dublin archbishop welcomes Pope’s comments on civil unions, says Francis “clearing the air for further discussion” on LGBT rights

Theologian says Church can no longer refuse to bless same-gender relationships after Pope’s backing of civil unions

Four things the Pope must do now to further LGBT+ equality after same-gender civil unions support (and one we can do ourselves)

Pope Francis’ support for civil unions is a call to justice

“An historic moment”: LGBT ministry “gratefully welcomes” Pope’s support for same-gender civil unions, seeks same recognition in Church


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Progressive Catholic journalist, author and educator. Working on social justice, equality and Church renewal.