Pope blasts Spain's "aggressive" anti-church ways - Yahoo! News
This is the pope that keeps on giving with his blatant revisionism of history. While I do concede that during the late 19th century and early 20th century there was anti-Clerical sentiment, this pope fails to mention the root cause of that sentiment which was almost universal among new world and old world Catholics. He also fails to define just what kind of anti-Clerical sentiment this is. It seems it's better to get a soundbyte than address why people in some of these countries are 'anticlerical'.SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA, Spain – Pope Benedict XVI criticized an "aggressive" anti-church sentiment in Spain that he said was reminiscent of the country's bloody civil war era as he began a two-day visit Saturday to rekindle the faith.
Benedict made clear his distaste for Spain's liberal bent as he arrived in the pilgrimage city of Santiago di Compostela, where the remains of St. James the Apostle are said to be buried.
He was warmly received by a crowd of thousands chanting "Viva el papa!" but there were hints of opposition as well. About 100 people demonstrated against the pope's visit and a handful of gays kissed along his motorcade route — a preview of the gay "kiss-in" protest that awaits him Sunday in Barcelona.
Benedict told reporters en route to Santiago that the anticlericalism seen now in Spain is like that of the 1930s, when the church suffered a wave of violence and persecution as the country lurched from an unstable democracy to civil war.
The Church of the last 2 centuries, much like that of today, was part of the system which lived in prosperity while preaching that poor Catholics should live in abject poverty. This system was also supported by the richest of richest in these countries. In some Latin American countries for example, the Church and a few dozen families owned most of the land while the majority of peasants were forced into indentured servitude. Catholics could not understand why the Church(and by that I don't mean their local clergy but I'll get to that later) would support their oppressors and collude to gain the very land that they worked as slaves.
In Italy for example, papal orders banned many Catholics from participating in the political environment of their country. This allowed for blatant violations of their human and civil rights which to them must have seen 'fine' as long as they didn't go to hell, I guess. The disagreements between the Italian state and the Church finally subsided when Benito Mussolini came to agreement with them in order to gain the support of the Bishop of Rome. While Mussolini did not even like the Church, his fascism needed the support of the clergy.
I always find it odd when a pope does not understand when anti-clericalism in Catholic countries comes from. It does not come from people hating their local priests or Catholic beliefs. It does not come from resentment of local clergymen. It comes from the actions of Rome and the 'higher-ups' in local church structure when the fate of many poor Catholics was in question. In Latin America for example, Catholic priests like Bartolome de las Casas(Cuba, Central America) and Padre Hidalgo(Mexico) are seen as national heroes. Other priests in Venezuela and Colombia were indispensable in helping local freedom fighters transmit messages and receive medical attention attention. Today in China, many priests risk their lives preaching about the need to enforce human rights laws. This all leads me to believe that anti-clerical sentiment in the Catholic world is not a response to local clergy. It's a response to the corruption of Rome and some of their agents. While thousands of priests around the world are seen as heroes to Catholics, it is the scum that takes its orders from Rome which is seen as the problem. Maybe the pope should see anti-clericalism for what it is.