Hundreds of people from different Spanish cities have demanded this Wednesday the recovery of the assets registered by the Catholic Church. under the motto They are not 1,000, they are 100,000the platform recovering He has defended that “public assets are not negotiable” and has demanded to know the rest of the assets that the Church has in his name and that are not on the list released by the Government.
The Episcopal Conference admitted at the end of January that about a thousand of the 34,961 real estate properties that it put in its name thanks to a legal reform by President José María Aznar were not really its. Immediately afterwards, the Government activated a process for them to be regularized, that is, returned to their original owners. However, from Recuperando, they maintain that this is insufficient and demand a broader list of assets registered by the Churches since 1978 and not only between 1998 and 2015.
“We ask that all the registrations that have been made since 1978 be canceled because our Constitution declares that Spain is a non-denominational State,” explained Jorge García, spokesman for the platform. From this organization it is also requested that it be “investigated” since 1946 and that “all the rich artistic and patrimonial legacy be reserved for the public domain.”
The Recuperando platform has demanded an interview with the President of the Government in front of the Congress of Deputies to “propose our thesis.” “May he receive us, since he has received the Church, may he receive us too”, arguing that both in his investiture and in his government program he promised “to modify the legislation to reverse the registrations” . “However, he has done the opposite: negotiate bilaterally and falsely close a thing,” his spokeswoman has denounced.
“Return what was stolen”, “the church robs us and the government allows it”, dozens of people have shouted in front of the Congress of Deputies, who have demanded once again that the Church return the goods that do not belong to it. In the words of Juanjo Picó, president of Europa Laica, the first thing is that the complete list of all the registrations of the Church be known and that those whose ownership cannot be proven be returned. They also request that assets of cultural interest be returned to Heritage. “The bishops are not notaries”, it has also been possible to hear in the protest in the capital.
Gloria, a woman who has approached the Carrera de San Jerónimo to support the concentration, believes that “the plunder that has been carried out is unbearable”: “It is one of the great problems that there is in Spain right now and nothing is done for that. We must draw attention, that this continues”. She believes that the population, with the pandemic, “has other concerns.” “But the enemy is very big, very powerful,” she says.
Recuperando calculates that, between 1946 and 2015, the Church was able to register 100,000 goods of all kinds.
The one in Madrid has not been the only concentration. “La Seo belongs to the Aragonese people”, protesters have claimed from Zaragoza. A group of people has concentrated in front of the Government Delegation in the Aragonese capital to demand the goods registered by the Church. Shouting “the ‘you will not steal’ is for others” they have requested the recovery of the heritage and also a complete list of assets since 1978 with the necessary information to identify the assets, ensuring that the list provided by Carmen Calvo last year ” it is incomplete and does not allow them to be identified”, denounced Pedro García Castillo, president of the ‘Movement towards a secular State’. García Castillo considers that in the process carried out between the Church and the Government there have been “irregularities” and that a step back must be taken, “return to the previous situation” so that the Church responds “as one more citizen”.
When the 34,961 assets were published (among which there are buildings for worship, but also flats, orchards or garages), the Government and the Church launched a negotiation to analyze the list. After months of conversations, the Church ended up assuming that 965 of those assets did not belong to him and opened the door to their return, although he also acknowledged having sold 122 homes and farms that he improperly put in his name and seven places dedicated to worship. Now you will have to compensate its legitimate owners in the event of a claim. Meanwhile, the commission created to examine registrations continues with its work.
“El Micalet és nostre”, protesters have shouted from Valencia, referring to the well-known Valencian monument registered by the Archbishopric. The spokesperson for Valencia Laica, Raquel Ortiz, has assured that the entity calculates that there are “some 3,000 goods improperly registered in the Valencian Country”. Ortiz has requested that the responsibility for recovering these assets “be transferred to the Government and not to the Catholic hierarchy.” “It’s a democratic anomaly,” she concluded.
In Córdoba, the activists have claimed ownership of the Mosque from the Church, one of the best-known and most controversial cases, and which is not on the list of 1,000 registrations in which the Church admits to having been confused. José Antonio Naz, spokesman for Córdoba Laica, has demanded a meeting with the President of the Government, and has assured that they will continue fighting “until they achieve a regulation that defends heritage in the public domain.” For his part, Miguel Santiago Losada, spokesman for the Mosque-Cathedral, has denounced that 80% of the assets of the Spanish have been unregistered. For this reason, he has claimed the annulment of registrations made especially after 1978 “due to supervening unconstitutionality.”
Albacete has also joined these mobilizations and Fernando Cuartero, coordinator of Albacete Laica-Europa Laica recalls that registrations come from a Francoist legislation of 1945 where the bishops are given the ability to seize this public property. He is referring to the ability to enroll, an action that “they have used generously,” he adds.
Together with the national claim, the particular claim of Albacete Laica-Europa Laica against the decision of the Albacete City Council approved a few days ago for the concession of land to the Bishopric in the neighborhood of Cañicas-Imaginalia-Llanos del Águila, with the aim to build a parish.
With information from Javier Ramajo, Alfonso Alba, Lucas Marco, Elena Martínez and Candela Canales.