Valencia’s Card. Cañizares persecuted for defending nature, common sense against “gender theory”, homosexualist agenda

UPDATE 23 June:

Via Crux 2.0

Spanish cardinal who denounced ‘gay empire’ cleared of hate speech

ROME-A judge in Spain ruled on Thursday that a cardinal denouncing an attack against the Christian family by a “gay empire” was not, simply by virtue of using that language, committing a hate speech crime but exercising his right to freedom of expression.

The criminal proceedings against Cardinal Antonio Cañizares of Valencia were dismissed without further investigation because the magistrate saw no “criminal intent” nor an appeal to “hatred and violence” in the homily delivered by the prelate on May 13.

“The family is haunted today, in our culture, by an endless threat of serious difficulties, and this is not hidden from anyone,” Cañizares had said in his homily.

“We have legislation contrary to the family, the action of political and social forces, with added movements and actions of the gay empire, of ideas such as radical feminism, or the most insidious of all, gender theory,” he added.

For many in the Church hierarchy, included Pope Francis, the term “gender theory” is used to describe the ideas of some scientists and cultural critics who argue that sexual differences between men and women are socially constructed rather than given in nature.

The criminal complaint dismissed on Thursday had been filed by The Spanish Network of Help to Refugees, that also accused Cañizares of xenophobia for questioning if all the immigrants arriving to Spain were “clean wheat.”

A second process, started by the Valencian LGBT association Lambda together with 55 other organizations, has also been dismissed.



Originally Published on: Jun 21, 2016

I was in Spain recently, having breakfast – as one does – and, while munching the ubiquitous toast with tomato looked up at the TV only to see a discussion of Card. Canizares Llovera and the trouble he was in for giving what sounded like a really good sermon in Valencia.

I shot a photo of the screen.

Since then the Cardinal’s problems have multiplied. BTW… he had the nickname “Ratzingerino” for a while and had served as the Prefect of Divine Worship after Card. Arinze and before Card. Sarah.

Here’s a good summary from with my usual treatment:

Spanish Cardinal Faces Criminal Charges for Homily Remarks

Cardinal Antonio Cañizares faces hate speech charges for questioning [questioning… but really denouncing] “gay empire,” “radical feminism,” and “gender theory” during homily.

Just in case you need more examples of why laws against “hate speech” are a bad idea, here’s a case out of Spain in which a Catholic leader is under investigation for remarks he made during a religious ceremony. [If a certain party wins lots of election in these USA, this is what we will see happen more and more often.]

While giving the homily at a Catholic University of Valencia mass, the Archbishop of Valencia, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares, suggested that “the gay empire” and “radical feminism” were undermining traditional family values. “The family is being stalked today, in our culture, by endlessly grave difficulties,” he said. “When the family is attacked or is diminished, the most sacred forms of human relationship are perverted.”

Note that the 70-year-old Cardinal didn’t threaten violence against anyone, nor attempt to incite listeners to violence. He merely expressed his—perhaps unfashionable, but hardly radical or dangerous—opinion that Spain has passed “legislation contrary to the family,” and that this stems from “the action of political and social forces,” including the “gay empire,” the ideas of “radical feminism,” and “the most insidious of all, gender theory.[Which is demonic.  I’m with Card. Sarah on that.]

Yet because hate speech is such a nebulous concept, one rooted in à la mode concepts of civility and shifting perceptions of power, the homily Cañizares gave has earned him an investigation by the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office in Valencia.  [Wait till you read the name of the office involved.]

The investigation stems from a criminal omplaint filed by Lambda LGBT collective, which called Cañizares’ homily “homophobic and sexist,” designed to “incite hatred against those who do not enter fit into the archaic models defended by the Catholic hierarchy.” That’s right: the group is upset about a Catholic official defending “Catholic hierarchy” during a Catholic mass.

Alas, this effort to dictate the confines of religious rhetoric isn’t just a whim of one particularly illiberal activist group; Lambda’s complaint was signed by 55 other organizations, including the Spanish Network of Help to Refugees. [I direct the readership to a book by Andrew McCarthy called The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America. ] In a statement, the Network accused Cañizares of being an “ultra conservative” who yearned for the “times when immigrants, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transsexuals and women were subjected to the dictates of a society governed by the powers of the Catholic church society.” Apparently, such sentiment is now potentially criminal in Spain.

The governor of Valencia condemned Cañizares for “fomenting hatred, while the Monica Oltra, Valencia’s [Get this!] vice president and minister for Equality and Inclusive Policies, called the Cardinal a misogynist. If found guilty of the charges against him, Cañizares could face up to three years in prison.

This is where things are going.

Free speech and religious liberty are under attack.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. idelsan says:

    That accusation coincided with a blasphemous ad (mocking Our Lady). So the cardinal decided to have an act of reparation in the main square of Valencia followed by a celebration of the Holy Mass. It was packed! Thousands of people. I was there (I am a priest for the diocesis near to Valencia).

  2. Eugene says:

    @idelsan…God bless you father

  3. Johannes de Silentio says:

    We had a papal intervention in the case of Cardinal Barbarin. Will we have one in the case of Cañizares as well?

  4. Eugene says:

    And the solid public support of this great shepherd from the Vatican and PF has been so formidable…NOT…its better they issued statments comparing how BOTH Christians and Muslims pray to the same God of mercy during Ramadam…I feel sick

  5. ChesterFrank says:

    It could have happened in the USA, except our bishops and cardinals would not have made such a good speech. Sigh

  6. Traductora says:

    The Cardinal has always been a supporter of the Traditional Rite, promotes it and celebrates it.

    Interestingly, he was unpopular among some Spanish conservative Catholics because of his support for the PP – the Partido Popular, which is the Spanish equivalent of the GOP. He thought it was the better option, and it was, but it has been so weak in defending its own constituency and good at making deals with the left that it has lost its credibility. Kind of like the GOP in the US…and now, just as in the US, there has been an upsurge of populist parties, and the most leftwing of them (Podemos, or “Yes, We Can” – original slogan Sí, Podemos) is the one the Pope plans to meet with just before the general elections in Spain. This has given Podemos an enormous boost, sadly.

    I fear that the Cardinal’s prospects are not very good, although bloggers and others are forgetting their quarrels and rising to his defense, and I think there’d be several good bishops who’d do likewise. But so far there has not been a peep from Rome in support of Cdl Cañizares.

  7. CPT TOM says:


    Yes, it could. Makes you wonder how many Bishops will prove to be brothers of St John Fisher or Thomas Cranmer.

  8. Father K says:

    George Orwell was a true prophet.

  9. Devo35 says:

    My office now has a “Diversity and Inclusion Committee” so it’s not just for government any more. Hold on to your hats, America!

  10. Legisperitus says:

    Cardinal George was right.

    Well, except in the specific case of his immediate successor, who seems an unlikely candidate to die in prison.

  11. Broggi66 says:

    In keeping with Fr. Z’s previous post about getting gun training, this is exactly why the Founding Fathers wrote the Second Amendment. Contrary to popular belief, it was not for hunting. Apart from protecting from foreign invaders, it was to protect the First Amendment. Totalitarians don’t like you to have non-state approved opinions. Once they decide your speech is a weapon, you will be made to comply.

  12. iPadre says:

    This is why we need to speak clearly and without apology now. If it means imprisonment. Better we serve the Lord of life, than the lord of death. The silence of certain prelates in this country for decades that has led us the cesspool we are now living in.

  13. Semper Gumby says:

    idelsan: God Bless you and Card. Canizares.

    Fr. Z wrote: “This is where things are going. Free speech and religious liberty are under attack.”

    Here are two items about this from the military. Yesterday, Breitbart posted this: “Exclusive video: Veteran Forcibly Dragged from Air Force Ceremony for Mentioning God.” Of course, video usually doesn’t provide the full context, but the text indicates something could be seriously wrong here with a lieutenant colonel and several airmen.

    Here’s another news item, from the Washington Times on June 8: “Military chaplains call on base [Ft. Riley] to renew speaking invitation to outspoken former Army general.” Gen. Boykin was disinvited to speak at a prayer breakfast after complaints to Mikey Weinstein’s MRFF caused Weinstein to demand that Ft. Riley disinvite Gen. Boykin. Ft. Riley complied. This is a quote from the article: “Mr. Weinstein claimed to represent 131 military personnel who wanted the general disinvited, saying some of them were “weeping” on the phone because they were “terrified” of Gen. Boykin.”

    Well now, if true, it seems that weeping college students in “safe spaces” have infected certain military personnel. Some US military personnel are “terrified” of a retired general? Hopefully that is a fabrication by Weinstein. Weinstein also wants those responsible for inviting Gen. Boykin to be “prosecuted” and “visibly punished.”

    Fortunately, military chaplains at Ft. Riley are on the move to correct this.

  14. Augustine says:

    Actually, speech that the elites hate by someone who belongs to an institution that they hate. And so the persecution begins. First, by making the good cardinal a confessor, but, in no time, the next target will be made a martyr.

  15. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Inés San Martin reported (Crux, 1 June), “Technically, they intend to charge Cañizares with ‘apologia,’ a term in Spanish law for encouraging or defending a criminal act”, and noted he had published the homily in full, with accompanying letter – does anyone know a reliable English translation?

    Matthew Cullinan Hoffman reported (LifeSite, 1 June), “The governor of Valencia, Ximo Puig, denounced Cañizares’ statements, accusing him of ‘fomenting hatred,’ and claiming that ‘the whole world understands that each person can love whom he wants.’ He quoted Pope Francis’s question, ‘Who am I to judge?’” He noted, “‘The censure and condemnation suffered by me in part of the media, by certain groups and certain politicians, remind one of periods of our history, but which are still recent, in which they censured and condemned certain homilies and certain preachers,’ said Cañizares, invoking the persecution of Catholic clergy by socialists before and during the Spanish Civil War, in which thousands were killed for their faith. ‘Is it homophobic to defend the family?’ he asked.”

    Is it a coincidence that these lawfare attacks coincide with the run-up to the General Election?

  16. Ben Kenobi says:

    [If a certain party wins lots of election in these USA, this is what we will see happen more and more often.]

    Which one? The party that: if Caitlyn Jenner were to walk into Trump Tower and want to use a bathroom, he would be comfortable with her choosing any bathroom she wanted. “That is correct,” Mr. Trump said.

    I’m really not seeing that we have many friends on these particular issues, Father. They are tremendously important but there is also a great push in the world to obliterate Catholic teaching and Catholic principles. I really don’t think we have a great champion at this time in the political sphere.

  17. Maineman1 says:

    Western society is gravely ill. I hope a time will come when it will be put down in a humane way like a sickly animal.

    Perhaps Orthodoxy is the salvation of Europe and the West? WHERE IS CATHOLICISM? Has it failed?

  18. Dimitri_Cavalli says:

    There must be a lot of car-door slamming in the offices of the National Catholic Reporter and Commonweal tonight.

  19. Grumpy Beggar says:

    Elizabeth Nolan Brown – the author of the piece, does a nice exposition on this article. She doesn’t always choose the easiest subjects to write about either. Although, despite the fact she is an ex-Catholic, I think she could’ve provided herself with a little more class by capitalizing “mass”. . . as in Mass.

    Try not to do the Francis frenzy on this one guys – please. Last October in some very unambiguous, non – off-the-cuff statements, Pope Francis called gender theory a “demonic cult”. And he hit at a couple of other modes of attack on the family.

    According to CNSnews what Pope Francis said was:

    “. . . the ‘throwaway culture’ of abortion, the ‘ideological colonization’ and ‘deforming’ of marriage, the ‘Satanic’ adoption of children by homosexual couples, and the ‘demonic’ cult of gender theory.”

    . . . Now that’s our Pope.

    Funny how they never go after him right ?

    What do we call that ? – Maybe, Cafeteria condemnation by a deputy dysfunctionary- “Minister for Equality and Inclusive Policies and other various departments of bovine scatology.” ?

  20. crownvic says:

    The persecution of the church has begun? When exactly did it stop? If persecution comes its because you’re doing “it” right. Prayers for this brave Cardinal and prayers that God will send us more shepherds such as this. Keep Calm and Pray the Rosary.

  21. AnnTherese says:

    Words are powerful. They can be used as weapons. “Gay empire” and “radical feminism” in the context of his message were intentionally used to incite hate, no? The cardinal could have made his point quite effectively using less inflammatory words meant to attack groups of people. It IS possible to speak truth with love.

  22. NYer says:

    In those countries where homosexuality has been “normalized”, the Bible then becomes hate speech, for example Romans 1:29-32. In a recent article, the NYT reported: Last week Republican Congressman read this passage aloud to his colleagues, incurring the wrath of gay rights advocates who called on Republicans to condemn the “vile and dangerous remarks” contained in the biblical text. The Catholic bishop of Saint Petersburg, Fla, similarly blamed Catholic disapproval of homosexual acts for the brutal Orlando slaughter.

    With the legalization of gay marriage, the attacks on christianity are bound to intensify. Cardinal Ratzinger, in a 1969 speech, predicted the future of the Church. Prophetic?

  23. Prayerful says:

    Grumpy Beggar

    There is no doubting that the Pope has said good things, the problem are statements which almost negate those good words. He hailed Emma Bonino, Italian Senator and a doctor who personally carried out thousands of abortions, as ‘one of Italy’s forgotten greats.’ Recently (last Thursday) there was ‘a great majority of our sacramental marriages are null’ which is just incorrect (so incorrect the official translation was changes) as the presumption for a Catholic marriage is that it is valid, unless it can be shown otherwise with moral certainty, that is, beyond reasonable doubt. Earlier remarks on how Jesus ‘played the fool a bit’ and that He was ‘not a clean one’ were just bizarre.

    At minimum the Cardinal will get no support. Quite likely there will be an effort to undermine him. Pope Francis visited the tomb in Mexico of a bishop who presided over a collapse in church life in his diocese, but was fervent in his support of a Marxist insurgency (the Zapatista’s led by Subcommandante Marcos) in his state and adjoining territories. Advancing social change, not defending the Faithful is what the Pope wants. This Cardinal is not following the programme.

  24. Sonshine135 says:

    I pray that Cardinal Antonio Cañizares, should he be imprisoned, go joyfully and convert many souls while there by his example. It is through our sacrifice that we witness most strongly.

  25. Pingback: WEDNESDAY EDITION – Big Pulpit

  26. pseudomodo says:

    It’s 1936 all over again.

    Just in time for the 8oth anniversary. That didn’t take long…

  27. jaykay says:

    AnnTherese: “They can be used as weapons. “Gay empire” and “radical feminism” in the context of his message were intentionally used to incite hate, no?”

    No, actually. What is hateful about the term “radical feminism”, a term many of them themselves use? As for “Gay empire”, no, that’s not hate, it’s a characterisation, maybe unpleasant to some ears, but it’s not “hate”. Words can certainly be used as weapons when they are intentionally misused… as in the gross twisting of the meaning of “hate” to cover what is actually disagreement, the holding of a different point of view.

    Or maybe, as pointed out by GrumpyBeggar above, the words of Pope Francis, in the context of his message last October , were intentionally used to incite hate, no?

  28. SKAY says:

    [If a certain party wins lots of election in these USA, this is what we will see happen more and more often.]
    I agree Father Z. Cardinal Cañizares will be in my prayers.

    The Obama Administration has helped California Democrats force California churches to pay for
    abortions. This is certainly something the Obama Administration, his Party and Planned Parenthood seem determined to impose nationwide.

  29. benedetta says:

    It’s amazing how the media elites and others in desperation to deny reality are trying to create a distraction instead of giving people the respect and dignity of a full airing of the truth. That they and others animate hate against mothers and Christians in scapegoat style for like a decade now is well established in the record. They can’t exempt themselves in the coarsening of our civil discourse. When Christians are attacked they act like its deserved (barf). Why did they cover up that a heterosexual mother died shielding her son at Pulse? Maybe because it was too real and too authentically Christian and didn’t comport with the fantasy tale the violent left hopes people to digest with the media chewing their food for them. The half truth media isn’t doing even their worthy goals any favors by concentrating on things they don’t know, don’t understand, and which by their allusion could make them complicit in something torturously foul.

  30. Imrahil says:

    Somehow the image of a cleric, even one of as high a rank as a Cardinal, being thrown into prison as long, as it actually is prison, shocks me less than the silent undermining by way of fines, ridiculing, meticulously-searching-for-offences-that-have-nothing-to-do-with-speaking-one’s-opinion and all these measures that we know of.

    Almost seems as if the opponent* has lost his usual cunning.

    Then again, it may be worthy of alarm that he doesn’t feel the need to use cunning.

    [* I’m writing “the opponent”, not “the Enemy”, because I don’t mean the Devil specifically, but use a collective term for all those forces that, of possibly natural causes, vices, well-meaning errors and so on or on the Devil’s instigation, which is, of course, also a gruesome possibility, appear in the result as fighting Church and Truth.]

  31. Allan S. says:

    The Cardinal’s episcopal motto? “Fiat voluntas Tua”.

    A propos….

  32. AnnTherese says:

    Jaykay, that is possibly true about the pope, too.

  33. jaykay says:

    “that is possibly true about the pope, too”.

    Essentially, what that means is that the HF “possibly” used the words he did to incite hate, intentionally.

    No, no possibility whatsoever. He certainly used direct language, as seems to be his wont, but that’s a very different thing to “hate” in the proper, unperverted, meaning of the word.

  34. pannw says:

    “The cardinal could have made his point quite effectively using less inflammatory words meant to attack groups of people. It IS possible to speak truth with love.”

    I honestly can’t think of words he might have used that would have as clearly or effectively gotten his point across. How would you have worded it?

    Perhaps he should have gone for something more like, “You serpents, generation of vipers, how will you flee from the judgment of hell?” Or was Jesus needlessly inciting hate?

    Since when did boldly warning the flock by speaking the plain truth become lacking in love? Frankly, I see the failure of our leaders, spiritual and secular, to call out our enemies by name as one of the biggest problems we have, endangering our souls and lives. Now that is lacking in love. How can you fight the promoters of an ideology if you can’t name it what it is for fear of being called a ‘hater’? I suppose it is a good way to try to shut up the truth, and it works, far too often. Good for the Cardinal for calling evil out by name.

    And to be clear, he did not call out individuals with same sex attraction or women; he warned of the ‘gay empire’, apparently his far less derogatory way to refer to what is sometimes called the ‘Gay’, homosexual or Lavender ‘Mafia’, and understood by all as those pushing the radical ‘gay’ agenda. And there is such a thing, clearly, and that is as much a threat or more to the individuals suffering same-sex attraction who strive to follow the laws of God as it is to anyone. So there is no hatred in exposing the agenda for what it is, evil.

    Or perhaps Saint Peter was inciting ‘hate’ in 2 Peter 2 when he referred to ‘these men, as irrational beasts…children of malediction…”?

    And ‘radical feminism’…has anything done more damage to society? Romans 1…”For their women have changed the natural use…” Have you read that letter? Was St. Paul also inciting ‘hate’?

    Seriously, by some people’s standard of what is ‘speaking truth in love’, it would suggest that Saints Peter and Paul, and Jesus Himself probably should have toned the truth down a notch.

    God bless Cardinal Cañizares, and give him strength and courage. I have added him to my morning offering prayers.

    Thank you, Father Z., for keeping us informed of these signs of the times.

  35. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Excellent news! – including, good (as woefully ignorant outsider) to hear there seem to be other than mere apparatchiks in the Spanish judiciary.

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