We Are Church International

DECLARATION WITH RESPECT TO THE VISIT OF THE POPE TO THE "WORLD CATHOLIC YOUTH DAY" IN MADRID (AUGUST 2011)

Only a few months after his visits to Santiago de Compostela & Barcelona, Mr Ratzinger - Benedict XVI for Catholics - bent on his idea to "reconquer" a country which he sees is moving away from his moral and religious proposals, is coming back to Madrid.

From a secularist and democratic point of view, there can be no objection for a meeting of a spiritual pastor with his followers.  It is evident, however, that in spite of the calculated ambiguity of the event, the "World Youth Day" of this august in Madrid has the objective of congregating thousands of young Catholics around the Pope's teaching.  This act, whatever its size, can only be seen as having a private character since the beliefs and declarations are private.

However, what is contrary to a democratic State which declares itself as non-confessional is to mix the affairs of the state with religious matters, the general interests with private interests, the institutions which represent all the citizens with events which only concern some, in this case, those who share certain religious convictions.

 

Consequently, we find it scandalous that the Government is contributing 25 million Euros – that is to say, with money from the taxes of all the citizens  – for the visit of the Pope and the celebration of a confessional act, together with the concession of fiscal exemptions to major companies which are contributing a further 25 million Euros.  To this, one must add additional expenses which the Central Government, Madrid City Council and Regional Government are happy to assume with the free cession of many public services (civil servants, visas, transports, police, use of public spaces such as sports centres, primary and secondary schools, etc.).

 

This deviation of public resources for private uses is especially serious at a time when so much generosity with the Catholic hierarchy (which already receives by different means, state funding to the tune of 10,000 Euros annually) is a flagrant contradiction to the severe restrictions in state expenditure and social benefits that we are all suffering under the pretext of the economic crisis.

Likewise, it is unacceptable that in this event of a private nature, there is an engagement with public authorities and officials, who would be perfectly in their right to participate on a personal basis, but never in representation of the public functions they hold in the name of the whole of the citizenship.

In this case, the excuse that these expenses and honours are those due to a head of state, holds no validity.  Pope Benedict XVI  does not come in representation of the few inhabitants of the Vatican which, besides, neither in its origins nor in its configuration bears any relationship with a true democratic State based on the rule of law.  If he comes to meet his followers in the capacity of his spiritual leadership which the former exclusively recognise, in no way is the official and privileged treatment dispensed by the public authorities, applicable, especially when, evidently, similar treatment is not allocated to citizens of other beliefs or religious convictions.

For the above reasons, the undersigned persons and organizations declare our rejection to the confusion and connivance of our public institutions with a series of acts of an eminently private and confessional nature.  We call on all citizens who, independently of their personal convictions, claim a framework of peaceful coexistence in equality of rights in which to organize acts to defend democracy and the secularism of the State and address ourselves to the Public Administrations to demand they act accordingly and cease to grant privileges reminiscent of past times and an antidemocratic inheritance.”

Signing organisations:

AMESDE (Asociación para la Memoria Social y Democrática)
Asamblea Popular de Moratalaz del Movimiento 15 M. Madrid
ABLESGAY-Albacete
Acción Educativa (MRPS de Madrid)
ACSUR - Las Segovias - Madrid
Agrupación Ateneísta Juan Negrín de Madrid
Albacete Laico-Europa Laica
Alicante Laico-Europa Laica
Alternativa Laica de Toledo
AMAL (Asociación Madrileña de Ateos y Librepensadores)
Andalucía Laica-Europa Laica
Área de juventud de Izquierda Unida
Asamblea de Movimientos Sociales del FSM de Madrid
Asamblea de mujeres de Bizkaia
Asamblea Feminista de Madrid
Asamblea Popular de Prosperidad (Madrid)
Asociación "No nos resignamos”
Asociación Ateos y Republicanos
Asociación Colectivo Infancia
Asociación de Amigos de las Brigadas Internacionales
Asociación de Descendientes del Exilio español
Asociación de Redondela polos Dereitos Humáns
Asociación de Transexuales de Andalucía (A.T.A.)
Asociación Diversitat LGTBI, de Alicante
Asociación Laica de Rivas-Vaciamadrid
Asociación Laica y Republicana del Condado de Jaén
Asturias Laica-Europa Laica
Ateneo de Izquierdas de Arajuez
Ateos de Albacete
Ateos en acción
Ateus de Catalunya
Attac Catalunya- Galicia-Aragón
AVALL (Asociación Valenciana de Ateos y Librepensadores)
Católicas por el derecho a decidir
CAUM  (Club de Amigos de la Unesco de Madrid)
Círculo Poético Republicano de Burgos
Ciudad de Mujeres
Ciudadanos por la República de Cuenca
COGAM - (Colectivo LGTB de Madrid)
Col·lectiu Republicà del Baix Llobregat
Colectivo Harimaguada de Canarias
Colectivo Republicano Antonio Machado de Segovia
Colectivo Republicano de Redondela
Colectivo San Blas - Madrid
Comité Oscar Romero de Madrid
Confederación Intersindical (STES-i)
Córdoba Laica-Andalucía Laica
Cristianos por el socialismo
Cuenca Laica
Cullera Laica
Democracia, Ciudadanía y República (Asturias)
Ecologistas en Acción - Madrid
En Lucha
Escuela laica de Valladolid
Europa Laica  
ExtremaduraEntiende
Extremadura Laica-Europa Laica
FELGTB  (Fed Estatal de lesbianas, gays, trans y bisexuales)
Foro Social de Madrid
Fundacio Frances Ferrer i Guardia
Fundación María Deraismes
Girasol (Fed. Coordinadora de Asociaciones LGTB del Sur)
Granada Laica-Andalucía Laica
Grupo de Estudios Comp. Euroafricanos y Eurolatinoamericanos
Grupo Fediversa- Asociación LGBTI Algarabía
IAC  (Intersindical Alternativa de Catalunya)
Iglesia de Base de Madrid
Iniciativa Atea
Izquierda Anticapitalista
Izquierda Republicana
Izquierda Unida Federal
Jaén Laico-Andalucía laica
Libre Pensée (Francia)
Lliga per la Laïcitat, Catalunya
Logia Mozart del Gran Oriente de Francia
Madrid Laico-Europa Laica
Málaga Laica-Andalucía Laica
MHUEL-Aragón (Movimiento hacia un estado laico)
Movimiento Laico y Progresista
MUP-Republicanos
Observatorio de la laicidad
Partido Comunista de España
Partido Comunista de España (marxista-leninista)
Partido de los Trabajadores de España (PTE-ORT)
Partido Obrero Socialista Internacional. (POSI)
Plataforma Aranjuez Laica
Plataforma de Ciudadanos por la República
Red Laica por la Igualdad y la Diversidad
Redes Cristianas
RQTR. Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Sevilla Laica-Andalucía Laica
Transexualidad-EUSKADI
Unidad Cívica por la Republica
Unión de Ateos y Librepensadores de España
Unión de Juventudes Comunistas de España
Unión Republicana Federalista-Madrid
USTEC·STEs - Catalunya
Red Roja
Asociación Cultural La Casa de Zitas de Zaragoza