News from Europe

Spanish bishop says he is prepared for martyrdom

Worshipers filled the cathedral in Alcalá de Henares in Spain to show solidarity with Bishop Juan Antonio Reig Pla, who called on bishops and priests to be ready for martyrdom while the government pursues a probe into alleged illegal “conversion therapy” for homosexuals that it says is offered by the Catholic Church.

On April 6, after praying the Rosary with hundreds of people who filled the pews in the historic church near Madrid, Bishop Reig Pla explained to them what he told his fellow bishops on April 4 when they gathered at a plenary meeting. Speaking without notes, as is his custom, the bishop referred to a government probe into the diocesan Center for Family Counseling and whether its guidance to persons with same-sex attractions is in violation of laws prohibiting so-called conversion therapies.

The leader of Madrid’s regional government called upon the government’s Council on Social Policy to investigate the Diocese of Alcalá de Henares after a reporter posed as a homosexual earnestly seeking counseling at the counseling center. For an article published April 1 by El Diario, the journalist attended a session at the Regina Familiae family counseling center on March 21.

In Spain, therapy that is labeled “homophobic” is illegal, and those found in violation may face fines of as much as 45,000 euros. Bishop Reig Pla and others denounced the law in 2016, saying it is “an assault on the freedom of expression and religion.” On April 4, Spanish bishops issued a statement reiterating Catholic teachings with regard to sexuality while also insisting on the freedom of the Church to preach.

“They are harming our children,” Bishop Reig Pla said. “We cannot allow it,” he added, in reference to LGBT activists and their advocates in government.

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