Spain on Wednesday approved a sweeping new law that eases restrictions on abortion, declaring the practice a woman's right and doing away with the threat of imprisonment, in part of a drive toward liberal policies that has angered conservatives and the Catholic Church.
The new law allows the procedure without restrictions up to 14 weeks and gives 16- and 17-year-olds the right to have abortions without parental consent. The senate's passage of the bill Wednesday gives it final approval.
The bill brings the country in line with its more secular neighbors in northern Europe is the latest of a series of bold social reforms undertaken by Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who first took office in 2004 and has ruffled feathers among many in the traditionally Catholic country.
While about 100,000 Spanish women a year have been getting around the law by using a mental health exception, technically they still faced prison.
The Catlick Church is really, really pissed, but won't take action against King Juan Carlos when he signs the new law.
From the above link, the story of how another weaselly monarch got out of a similar sticky wicket in Belgium in 1990.
Saying his [King Baudouin's] conscience and Catholic faith would not allow him to sign the [abortion] bill, he worked out an agreement with parliament allowing him to resign for less than 48 hours. During his temporary abdication, the country's council of ministers assumed the king's powers and signed the bill. Parliament then reinstated the king.
It seems people everywhere -- except the Excited States of course -- are blithely ignoring Christo-talibanny edicts and temper tantrums.
And here's another breath-taking demonstration of the Church's increasingly desperate efforts to
Francis Eugene George is not just a cardinal. He is also president of the United States conference of catholic bishops and sets the tone and direction for church policy and position in the country. His comments, therefore, on the positive attributes of the Church of Latter-day Saints (LDS), more commonly known as Mormons, seem surprising given the enormous theological and demographic differences between the two groups. Or do his words herald a spirit of co-operation among disparate religious movements in the fight against secularism?
Last Tuesday, in a speech called Catholics and Latter-day Saints: partners in the defence of religious freedom, he told an audience that Catholics and Mormons must stand together as a "vital bulwark" against those who wanted to "reduce religion to a purely private reality". The LDS church has proved its mettle in contentious areas. Were it not for their involvement in Proposition 8, there is every chance the same-sex marriage ban in California would not have been passed. Noting their ability to mobilise member support around issues that also concern Catholics, Cardinal George praised Mormons for their work to protect the rights of those who did not want to participate in abortion or assisted suicide and to defend marriage as a heterosexual institution. "When the government fails to protect the consciences of its citizens, it falls to religious bodies to defend them," he said. He also claimed that Catholics and Mormons shared more than a common understanding of religious freedom: they enjoyed a common experience of growing from a small, sometimes persecuted, religious minority to larger communities of 67 million Catholics and about six million Mormons.
But it's disingenuous of George to play up the similarities. Catholicism has been part of the US landscape for a lot longer than the LDS church. Immigrant communities ensure that the religion, its values and institutions, survive and evolve. It is the majority Christian movement in the US, boasting a profile and privilege that other denominations do not. And then there's the church's 2007 statement, which reasserted the universal primacy of Roman Catholicism.
So why the cosying up? There is an increasingly secular mood in the US and religious groups are all too aware of it. The Roman Catholic hierarchy knows it cannot rely solely on its congregations to campaign on touchstone issues and a "vital bulwark" – in the shape of the devout, wealthy and organised LDS church – is just what's needed to help it.
Yes. An alliance with a virulently homophobic, misogynist cult is just what the Catlicks need. (Just for fun, I googled 'Mormon cult' and got over a million hits.)
Mormons and Catlicks, oh my. Who's next? Scientologists?