BY A SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
Astatement supporting General Franco's state of emergency issued on behalf of the Spanish Bishops' Conference has been disowned by six bishops in southern Spain. The statement praised the government's "conservation of peace and public order".
In Madrid, Spain's new primate, Archbishop Enrique y Tarancon, said that students had a right to take part in politics.
The cabinet of Gen. Franco imposed the "state of emergency" last month for three months, saying it was needed to counter a conspiracy to "plunge the country into a wave of confusion and subversion."
Some bishops opposed such measures. Bishop Jacinto Argaya Goicoechea of San Sebastian, in the province of Guipuzcoa, which has been under a state of siege twice in recent months after a wave of violence by Basque separatists, told authorities that individual freedoms should be restored because the province had returned to "normal order and work."
In the north also, Bishop Arturo Tabera of Pamplona was reported ready to release a letter of protest against the state of emergency. Priests and laymen in Madrid and other cities demonstrated against the suspension of civil guarantees.
The joint statement, issued now by the permanent committee of the Bishops' Conference, makes it clear that the
majority of the Bishops feel that the common good is best served by the emergency moves.
"The bishops agree in solidarity with those citizens who consider the preservation of peace and public order as the basic grounds for the subsequent enjoyment of legitimate freedoms," the statement read.
"Civil authorities have thought it necessary, within the present juridical framework, to impose a temporary restriction on the exercise of certain rights, in order to safeguard the common good," the bishops stated.
The bishops stressed, however, these conditions for their support: That the state of siege be "within the measure of just defence."
That freedoms be restored as soon as the causes for the measures change.
That in the meantime there be a continued efficient effort to use "those tools designed to foster economic and social progress of the people."
"Only within an order legally established, and respected by all, can the exercise of rights and freedoms be possible," the bishops said.