Page 2, 12th August 1960

12th August 1960
Page 2
Page 2, 12th August 1960 — A Spaniard tells of bullfighting evils

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People: Pius V
Locations: Gerona


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A Spaniard tells of bullfighting evils

SIR,--11 was interested to read in your issue of July 8, in Mr. Donnelly's letter that Pope Pius V condemned bullfighting under two headings: (1) bullfighting caused death and injury to human beings; (2) it was "not consonant with Christian piety and charity". •

In those days there were no professional bullfighters and 200 people were killed every year fighting bulls. It should also be pointed out that Gregory XIII lilted the ban when the practice was made less dangerous; but we do not know how he treated the second heading when he re-allowed bullfighting, nor how this is regarded by the Church in our time.

I agree with Mr. Donnelly that there are other evils to be condemned under these headings, but it is impossible to attack them all in one letter.

I notice that some people in England think that there should be no public criticism of the bullfight because it is a purely Spanish affair, but I believe the cruel spectacle has created a great deal of morbid interest outside Spain, and I think people outside Spain have a right to attack that if their consciences prompt them to do so.

Moreover, bullfighting which goes under the title of Fiesta Nacional is in reality a highly organised money-making industry. The organisers appeal to foreign tourists to patronise the spectacle (visitors to Spain may see their gory posters in hotels and bars which they frequent) and it seems to me that those who pay to see these shows should have the right to say. even in public, just what they think of them.

I sympathise with Mr. Donnelly not being able to understand that "the bullfight does harm to the prestige of the Church". Although he must know that Spain is a Catholic country where the Church exercises the greatest influence in public morals, I suppose he is unaware that the Church in Spain never raises her voice against the bullfight. When this is realised it is not difficult to understand that the cruel spectacle, in which men also are often injured and sometimes killed. does harm to the prestige of the Church in the eyes of • those who know it and judge the bullfight by Christian standards.

But, it will he said. the Church in Spain is against bullfighting because the clergy are not allowed to attend bullfights. That is so, and when one visualises how undignified it would be for a priest to be seen among a frantic, vituperating mob (for that is what respectable spectators at a bullfight all too often become) the good reason which bans the clergy from watching bullfights becomes apparent.

Francisco Forges Palau Sacosta, Prov. Gerona, Spain.

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