Catholic Herald Reporter LA CORUNA
'THE Spanish government has announced full agreement
with the Spanish hierarchy on the position of nonCatholics in Spain, and the government will now proceed to finalise and promulgate its Bill of Rights for Protestants.
The efforts made for years by the Foreign Minister, Sr. Castiella, to emancipate the Protestants have at last borne fruit. His draft of a special Constitution for this purpose was approved some time ago by the Holy See under the Concordat.
Sr. Castiella began working towards this achievement after his service as Ambassador to the Holy See when he became a friend of Pope Pius X11. He also discussed the mater with Pop John XXIII.
The news of his draft Constitution was first announced in Britain in the columns of the CATHOLIC HERALD after Hugh Kay had interviewed the Minister in Madrid in 1962.
The new Bill, which has the full support of General Franco, will give form and permanence to Sr. Castiella's practice over the past year of allowing more Protestant chapels to open in various parts of the country. Non-Catholic versions of the Bible now have easy entry into Spain, and the Minister has maintained close and cordial relations for a number of years with the traditional Protestant Churches. Problems have arisen largely in connection with the activities of militant, extremist sects.
The effect of the Bill will probably be to give Protestants complete freedom of worship and the Corporate legal status they require for property ownership. Restrictions on public proselytising will probably remain in what is, after all, a 99 per cent Catholic country, especially as these methods of evangelism have led to disturbances in the past.
Cardinal Play y Deniel, said this week that the Church will in no way oppose the government's proposals.
Delays in bringing this work to fruition have been caused by the anxieties of conservative elements of the hierarchy, but the views of the progressive sector have now won out.