Basque bishop prays abortion reform will fail in Spain


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Madrid, Spain, Aug 7, 2009 / 08:53 pm (CNA).- Bishop Miguel Asurmendi of Vitoria, Spain said Thursday that new norms for schools issued by officials in the Basque region have led to a dramatic decrease in the number of students taking religion classes and that if steps aren't taken, "classes on Catholic morality will disappear from public schools and Basque schools."

During a Mass on Thursday, the bishop prayed for "the gift of overcoming the grave crisis of moral conscience in the Basque and Spanish societies which is affecting the right to life, to religious and moral education and to work."

He also mentioned the reform of the country's abortion law, which will be put to a vote in Parliament in the coming months. He said the most troubling aspect of the reform is that it makes abortion a right that must be protected by the state. The proposed abortion reform, Bishop Asurmendi said, is "a venomous source of immorality and injustice that tarnishes the entire bill."

Bishop Asurmendi criticized the measure for assisting pregnant women in "the destruction of their children, instead of protecting maternity and the family in order to prevent women from becoming victims of abortion."

"Abortion is a clear sign of the crisis of moral conscience in our society. Those who carry out an abortion and those who collaborate are excommunicated," he noted.

The bishop also addressed the new decree on education approved in the Basque region, saying it is responsible for "the drastic decline" in the number of students taking religion classes.

The result of this decline, he said, has been an increase in juvenile violence, drug and alcohol abuse and sexual activity. The bishop added that Catholic religion classes "constitute an essential, valid method for the proper education of young people."