Basques reject papal nominee
Tuesday 12 September 1995
In a message to his diocese, Monsignor Blasquez promised to start learning Basque, and speak it "even if I stammer with my Basque brethren, like a child". To which one PNV leader shot back: "an old parrot doesn't learn to talk."
The row has stirred passions among Spain's Catholics that have smouldered since the days when Franco won from the Vatican the power to appoint his own bishops. The Bishops' Conference, which has closed ranks against Basque critics, accuses the PNV leader Xabier Arzallus, a former Jesuit priest, of unwarranted political interference, of reviving the worst practices of Francoism, and of threatening the Pope.
Basque Catholics counter that they were among the most outspoken critics of Franco and that many were imprisoned and shot for their independence- minded actions. "In Franco's time, the Basque church was very much against the regime, it was the only one to challenge Franco's crusade," said Pedro Miguel Lamet, a Jesuit priest and commentator on religious affairs.
Basque politicians were tipped off about the impending appointment some weeks ago, Mr Arzallus denounced the move as a slap in the face to his Basque compatriots, and Basque priests drew up what amounted to a job description, making it clear they wanted the bishop of Bilbao to be Basque.
Critical insiders say the appointment of the conservative and ultra-Castillian Mgr Blasquez is intended to counter the pro-Basque Bishop of San Sebastian, Jose Mara Setien, and see it as part of the Pope's strategy of appointing dull but loyal placemen.
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
- 5 'Isis' schoolgirls: Missing British teenager tweets picture of her Syrian takeaway
Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
Ian Brady: Moors murderer announces his support for Ukip and the SNP
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
Power of Nepal earthquake was equivalent to 20 huge atomic bombs
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Engineer is required ...
£15000 - £70000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to ...
£12 - £14 per hour: Recruitment Genius: We are looking for someone to join a s...
£15310 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has arisen for a...