Sunday, November 16, 2008

News flash: Queen of Spain actually believes in Catholicism

Spain is atwitter over Queen Sofia's comments, quoted in a new book, critical of both the liberal social developments of modern Spain and American foreign policy under George W. Bush. I imagine that HM's combination of views, which seem to be thoroughly grounded in her Roman Catholic faith, must be terribly confusing to those who imagine that there are only two political types: "liberals" who support abortion & gay rights and oppose Bush's wars, and "conservatives" who oppose the former and support the latter. How dare she confound that false dichotomy?!

Really, I thought her comments were pretty mild considering how uncomfortable modern Spain must be for orthodox adherents of the faith that was once so integral to Spanish society. I also applaud HM for not falling into the false trap of pro-war "conservatism." I'm not even sure that her quoted remarks are best described as an "attack on gays and abortion" as trumpeted by the headline.

I do not agree with those right-wing Catholics who condemn King Juan Carlos for facilitating Spain's transition to liberal democracy; I am convinced that if he had tried to rule as unreconstructed Francoists would have liked, there would be no monarchy in Spain today, and another Republic would not do Catholics any good. However, I think it's awfully churlish of the Left to begrudge their Queen, who as a conservative politician pointed out was only saying what most 70-year-old Spanish Catholic women think, a few moderate expressions of discomfort, given that their side, not hers, has had its way with contemporary Spain.

One often encounters the statement that most Spaniards are "juancarlistas," not monarchists. As a monarchist, this is hard for me to understand; the mentality of a Spaniard who does not love the monarchy itself, who does not treasure the heritage of St. Fernando III, Ferdinand & Isabella, Philip II, Carlos III, Queen Maria Cristina, etc. is incomprehensible to me. But alas it would seem that there is some truth to the cliché, as it is impossible to imagine a British newspaper, even a Leftist one, printing a headline telling the Queen to "shut up." It would seem that in what was once that most Catholic of countries, a queen must keep her Catholic opinions to herself if she wishes to avoid spiteful attacks.

1 comment:

Gareth R- said...

Theodore, I have to say that what Her Majesty said was in no way "anti-gay." She spoke of being respectful and supporting what are known in the English-speaking world as "civil partnerships." All she said, which is an entirely fair personal view, is that she does not think they should be labelled "marriage" as that noun is now part of a Judeo-Christian vocabulary. If anything, what Her Majesty said symbolised what was best in the traditions of Western European monarchy - she offered words of hope to all her husband's subjects, without compromising her own religious views.

Personally, I think anyone getting into a tizz about the Queen's comments is seeking to generate controversy out of nothing. If anything, I feel, Her Majesty should be commended for her honesty and I think it is more than refreshing to hear a member of one of the European royal houses voice their own personal opinions on various social, diplomatic and religious issues.