A “wait-and-see” attitude prevailed at three Protestant meetings held last month to discuss the future status of minority religious groups in predominantly Roman Catholic Spain.
While signs supporting hopes for greater freedom were noted, said Religious News Service, reports from Protestant gatherings in Madrid, Alicante, and Tarrasa indicated minority denominations are withholding optimism pending action on a proposed law to ease restrictions.
A law proposed by Foreign Minister Fernando Maria Castiella y Maiz calls for a definition of the status of minority religious groups and at the same time asks safeguards against proselytizing.
Adoption of any form of “legal status for the non-Catholic denominations” in Spain, Señor Castiella has said, will hinge on “the express agreement of the Holy See.”
Though a draft document on religious freedom has been prepared for the Second Vatican Council, it is doubtful that the bishops will get to it during the current session.
At the Protestant meetings in Spain, according to spokesmen for a “Committee of Defense” for minority denominations, major concern centered on the distinction between the concepts of proselytism and “evangelization.”
While there was general agreement that effort should be made to reach an agreement on proselytism with Catholic bishops, it was hoped that Protestants could print and distribute devotional works in their own denominations.
It was noted that several Protestant churches have been allowed to reopen this year and a primary school operated by the Plymouth Brethren at Cartagena opened this fall.
At the same time, reports were received from Algeciras that local authorities had ordered the closing of a Bible school which was training Protestant leaders.
The Protestant ...1
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