Monday, January 24

Winter barracks for Bishop Munilla, ‘scourge’ of divorcees, feminists and LGTBI people


“Progressivism is a virus.” The bishop of San Sebastián, José Ignacio Munilla, leaves. From Euskadi, and from the pools to reach positions of responsibility in the Spanish Church. In a move that very few Spanish bishops knew about, the Pope has appointed Munilla bishop of Orihuela-Alicante, distancing him from the possibility of becoming archbishop of Pamplona (head of the Basque ecclesiastical province) or entering other shortlists to lead the archbishoprics from Valencia, Santiago or Valladolid. An honorable ‘exile’ (some sources even placed the bishop in Ciudad Rodrigo or Calahorra), but which makes it clear that, at least while Bergoglio is Pope, the possibilities of promotion of the controversial prelate – and of companions of ultra-Catholic fatigue such as Jesús Sanz (Oviedo), Demetrio Fernández (Córdoba) or Juan Antonio Reig (Alcalá de Henares) – are void.

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Too bad the former factotum of the Spanish Church, Cardinal Antonio María Rouco Varela, despite it. However, his age (he is 59 years old) suggests that he still has some extra ball to play, even if this is waiting for the death or resignation of Francisco. The movement has another derivative no less important for ecclesial geopolitics: a renewal in the Basque Church, which already began with the departure of Mario Iceta from Bilbao and will continue at the beginning of next year with the replacement of the Archbishop of Pamplona, ​​Francisco Pérez. The new Biscayan bishop, Joseba Segura, much more moderate, and Munilla’s successor, surely, will mark the end of a conservative era in the Basque Church.

The leader of the most rancid episcopate

And it is that Munilla has represented, surely like no one else, the most stale proposals of the Spanish episcopate in recent years. In the very conservative seminary of Toledo – still in life of the mythical Cardinal Marcelo González Martín, the opponent of Tarancón – Munilla was soon known as the leader of the ‘corazonistas’, a branch of religious very spiritual and excessively focused on the sexual morality and in the fight against “the powers of our time”, as they know the political class, at least the one that does not agree with their interests.

An indisputable reference to the opposition of the Basque Church to ETA during his first years as a priest, Munilla was appointed bishop of Palencia in 2006, within the strategy of Rouco Varela for ‘re-Christianizing’ the Spanish episcopate. Three years later he replaced Juan María Uriate at the head of the diocese of San Sebastián.

At that time, three-quarters of the clergy of the diocese signed a letter lamenting his appointment, and inviting Munilla to meet with the feelings of the Basque people. He ignored: the bishop had been appointed to end the progressive Basque clergy, and was about to achieve it. Today, the once full seminaries in the Basque Country are practically empty, with the exception of foreign vocations or those linked to neo-conservative movements. Not just the seminars; The catechetical rooms of some parish were also emptied after the bishop decided to remove his person in charge to put a member of Opus Dei. The families withdrew their children in protest against the conservative drift imposed by the bishop.

But the difficult inheritance that Munilla leaves to his successor exceeds the ecclesial: according to what sectors of the Basque Church denounced at the time, the bishop ‘mortgaged’ the diocese, even selling the Curia building and moving the offices to the Seminary. It also gave up the use of parish land for the construction of luxury buildings, as advanced by elDiario.es, to try to stop an economic hole that could reach one million euros. The opposition that was generated in the face of the opacity of the accounts and the economic decisions of the bishop led a good part of his congregation to rebel against those who threatened to transform the diocese “into a hotel business.”

Against abortion, gender equality or sex

In his 15 years as bishop, José Ignacio Munilla has been extremely critical of feminism, sexuality, or gender equality. A few months ago he even called a day of fasting and prayer to protest against the German priests who blessed gay couples, and he has always denied both the female priesthood and the end of celibacy. In recent times, his name has been linked to false sexual reconversion therapies to which the already emeritus bishop of Solsona, Xavier Novell, also belonged.

In fact, on many occasions it has been positioned against equal marriage, considering that homosexual practices “cannot receive any approval”, despite the fact that Pope Francis himself came to ask himself “who am I to judge?” to a loving couple. Munilla, in fact, even has a book written about sexual relations, titled Sex with soul and body and in which it is dispatched not only against the LGTBI collective but against premarital relations and sex that does not have motherhood as the sole purpose. Thus, he proclaims that masturbation is “violence against the body” while condoms “trivialize the sexual act.”

Already in 2014, Munilla claimed that women could not abort in any case, even if they had been raped, arguing that in the same way that the application of the death penalty to rapists is not justified, it cannot be applied “to those who it has been innocently the fruit of her. ”

At present, the bishop was one of the main defenders of organizations such as HazteOir and its surroundings, linked to El Yunque, considering that they were the only ones who defended Catholic essences with their denunciation of the “gender ideology”, their campaigns against the trans law or the demonstrations against abortion and euthanasia. Something that, from his new destination, no one doubts that he will continue to promote. Although, at least for a few years, they have clipped his wings.

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