THE Provincial Prosecutor for Valencia has opened an official investigation into an alleged ‘hate crime’ by the city’s Archbishop, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares, following a complaint lodged by LGBT rights group Lambda which was backed by 55 other civil organisations.
A political and media firestorm followed the cardinal’s recent comments regarding his mission to defend “the good of the Christian family” as he lambasted “the gay empire and certain feminist ideologies” during a mass at the Pontifical Institute Juan Pablo II on May 16, the eve of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.
The Archbishop also asserted that certain laws passed by the Valencian Community and other autonomous regions in Spain foment a gender ideology that “is the most insidious seen in the history of mankind.”
After the Catholic bigwig received widespread condemnation in the Spanish press and political circles, the regional parliament agreed to publish a statement denouncing the doyen’s words, but this never saw the light of day after the ruling Partido Socialista del País Valenciano applied the brakes.
The bishop then sent private letters to President of the Valencian Government Ximo Puig and Vice President Monica Oltra in which he declared that “You two remind me of Franco’s times,” criticising the former’s “betrayal, cowardice and stupidity.”
He next released an open letter to the diocese in which he compared the Valencian Parliament to a “people’s court”, before accusing Puig of “inciting hatred” and proclaiming “I retract the words in my homily in case they might have bothered or hurt someone.
“I am not homophobic, racist, or sexist: God forbid! I accept everyone and do not exclude anyone.”
The cardinal must now face criminal proceedings following the accusations by Lamba, in which the Archbishop is charged with “homophobia and sexism”, constituting a potential hate crime, which the organisation believes “goes beyond freedom of expression.”
To make matters worse for the beleaguered bishop, Lamba’s actions were followed by gripes from the Spanish Network for Immigration and Refugee Aid, who demanded an apology for further “hate crimes”, following his comments on October 14 last year when he referred to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean as a “new Trojan horse” and considered it apt to question whether “this invasion of migrants and refugees is really above board?”