The Pope does not come to Spain on an official trip and the Catholic hierarchy feels lonely, fané and descangayada, like the skinny girl in Carlos Gardel’s tango. Fané means coming to less. This is how the Roman Church in Spain is today. John Paul II visited this country five times, Benedict XVI did so three times, and if Paul VI did not come it was because the dictator Franco denied him authorization. Francisco has been in the pontificate for ten years, has visited 59 countries on four continents (only Oceania is missing), and he does not plan to come to Spain. His refusal leaves the prelates disappointed, which is a Spanish word from Portuguese. It literally means that something is battered, badly injured.
Without a Pontiff there are no crowds. The usual papolatry maintains that no public man gathers hundreds of thousands of people around him in a field. The parents do it. On the other hand, the bishops barely arouse the interest of the faithful when they move through the dioceses. Without a papal trip, the loneliness and discredit of the hierarchs of Catholicism are even more evident. In Portugal, several hundred thousand faithful followed Francis, fervent, ―it has been said that a million―, among them 75,000 young Spaniards registered through the parishes of their dioceses (67 in total) or in the 32 religious congregations and 11 national movements. They arrived shepherded by their bishops, 71, according to a statement from the Spanish Episcopal Conference (CEE). Charged with “energizing the 25 Spanish-speaking catechism,” they have done so from very colorful settings, but with very little audience. The paraphernalia of the meetings deserved better luck, even better language. They have called them Rise Up Encounters, with what Cervantes would have been: Get up!, an exclamation with which it is said that the Christian founder raised the dead.
The bishops return devastated. That there will be no trip for Francisco to Spain has been said by the interested party in person so that there is no doubt, and twice in ten days, the last time laughing, as if joking. Taking advantage of the fact that the papal plane was flying over the airspace of Spain on its way to Lisbon, they asked him if that counted “as a papal visit.” “Maybe,” he said between laughs. The other denial was more solemn. Meeting with the staff of the magazine Vida Nueva, who is now 65 years old, they challenged him point-blank. Why doesn’t he come to Spain? “I am not going to go to any big country in Europe until I finish with the small ones. I started with Albania and although I went to Strasbourg, I did not go to France. Although I am going to Marseille, I am not going to France”.
It’s a fancy apology. Francisco will soon travel to Argentina, he has been to the United States and Japan and it is the second time he has visited Portugal. The truth is another. Francis does not come to Spain because he is suspicious of the episcopate, rejects many of its behaviors, does not share how diocesan seminaries are managed, is angry with Opus Dei and knows that the Episcopal Conference, in breach of what was ordered by the Vatican, has been dragged into investigations into the still countless cases of sexual abuse in clerical circles.
“I will go to Spain when there is peace,” he already said on his flight to Morocco in 2019. “First you have to agree,” he said on the way to the United Arab Emirates. It was then thought that the Holy See was concerned that the Pope would visit a country in which the bishops were at odds with each other and, to a significant extent, were contrary to the pastoral line of the Argentine Pontiff. You have to go back to the 19th century to find a disrespect similar to a Pope as now against Francisco. Then, Pius IX suffered the execrations when he proclaimed himself infallible and anathematized the modern world left and right. Francisco is branded as “weapons” and even as a heretic.
Before prelates who boast of their economic abundance, the Pope preaches a church that is poor and for the poor, that smells like sheep, merciful, happy, that causes trouble. There are bishops who hate those principles. Informed that most of the prelates have behaved greedily in the immatriculations scandal, registering tens of thousands of property without an owner, that is, belonging to the people, in their name, Francis said: “The bishop is God’s administrator, not of goods, nor of power. The bishop must not be arrogant, nor arrogant, nor angry, nor a businessman attached to money. A bishop like that would be a calamity for the Church. The men of the Church have to pay the same taxes as the rest of the citizens”.
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