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Spanish bishop warns of new Civil War at funeral

Alex Dunham · 2 Apr 2014, 11:16

Published: 02 Apr 2014 11:16 GMT+02:00

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Madrid's archbishop Antonio María Rouco Varela, known for his staunch views and fiery temper, lived up to his reputation during Monday’s state funeral for former Spanish PM Adolfo Suárez.

"(With him) harmony was possible," he told the crowd of mourners at Madrid’s Almudena Cathedral, mainly Spain's political and royal elite.

"Why shouldn't it be, now and forever, in the lives of Spaniards, their families and Spain’s historical communities?"

Rouco then went on to criticize Catalonia’s independence bid, his message aimed primarily at Catalan president Artur Mas, also present at the mass.

"Suárez sought and tenaciously, generously practised reconciliation in the most delicate aspects of political and social life in a Spain.

"He wanted to overcome the Civil War forever, to overcome the events and the attitudes that caused it, and which can cause it," Rouco argued.

Spain’s conservative Popular Party have not yet commented on Rouco's bizarre choice of words for a Catholic funeral, but the country's socialists and several other political parties and organizations are already calling for future state events to be religion-free.

Soraya Rodríguez, socialist spokesperson in Spain's Parliament, said it was "outrageous" and "inappropriate" to suggest that Spain could be facing another Civil War, adding that her party was preparing a draft law on religious freedom.

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Even Catalonia’s religious group Església Plural called Rouco "fanatically evil"  for "trying to justify through religion the use of all measures to defend the 'sacred' unity of Spain."

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Alex Dunham (alex.dunham@thelocal.com)

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