Bishop Banned from Official City Events in Alcala

Country: Spain

Date of incident: May 18, 2012

The city council of Alcala adopted a motion banning bishop Juan Antonia Reig Pla from official city events. The motion answers the bishop's remarks criticizing homosexual lifestyle.

The motion, passed on May 15th, bans Bishop Juan Antonio Reig Pla from local festivities and calls for him to be moved to another diocese. It was presented by the political group "Union, Progress and Democracy" and was backed by other left-leaning organizations as well as the Spanish Socialist Party. The ruling People’s Party has opposed the motion.

The diocsesan priests stated in response: “In response to these very grave acts, we express our adherence to the Catholic doctrine taught by our father and pastor, Bishop Reig, as well as our support for him and his apostolic ministry, and we invite all to pray for religious freedom, for our Bishop and for those who persecute the Catholic Church."

Bishop Reig Pla has faced intense criticism after remarks given in a Good Friday sermon in which he condemned sexual practices he believes to be harmful. As part of a larger cultural critique of sexual behavior in modern society, he lamented how some with same-sex attraction “corrupt and prostitute themselves or go to gay night clubs” in order to “validate” their struggle. “I assure you what they encounter is pure hell,” he said on April 6th.

Bishop Reig Pla is supported by the Spanish bishops' conference, whose secretary general, Auxiliary Bishop Juan Antonio Martinez Camino of Madrid, called the controversy caused by his sermon “unjust.”

The International Federation of Associations of Catholic Doctors has also voiced support for Bishop Reig Pla as well as more than 20 locals struggling with same-sex attraction who personally wrote the bishop to thank him for his remarks.