A Spanish politician criticized Pope Francis for apologizing for the role of the Catholic Church in the conquest and subsequent colonization of Mexico 500 years ago.
Isabel Diaz Ayuso, who heads Madrid’s regional government and belongs to the conservative, center-right Spanish “Popular Party” (Partido Popular), said she was surprised “a Catholic who speaks Spanish speaks like this about our heritage”.
She went on to defend the impact of Spanish colonialism in Latin America, claiming that it “The Spanish language – and through the missions – Catholicism and, consequently, civilization and freedom on the American continent. “
In a message to Monseñor Rogelio Cabrera López, president of the Mexican Episcopal Conference to mark the 200 years of the country’s independence, the argentinian pope declared that looking back requires “a process of purification of the memory, that is to say of recognizing the very painful mistakes made in the past”.
The Pope added that he and his predecessors had repeatedly asked for forgiveness for “social and personal sins” committed by the Church, which has been criticized for participating in the persecution of indigenous peoples and for theft and exploitation. natives. Earth.
This is not the first time that Diaz Ayuso – who is tipped to be a potential future leader of the Partido Popular, and who has the external support of the far-right Vox party as a regional leader – has clearly expressed his point of view on Spanish colonialism and the legacy of the Church and the monarchy.
Earlier this week, she critical the mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who in 2019 asked the Pope and the King of Spain Philip VI to atone for their colonial heritage, to promote what she sees as a “dangerous trend of communism via indigenism” that she has described as “an attack on Spain”.
Speaking to the Organization of American States in 2019, following the decision to change the name of celebrations from “Columbus Festival” to “Festival of Indigenous Peoples,” which she criticized for saying Spain had brought “university“, “civilization” and “western”. values ”, which she says continue today in liberal democracies.
Spain continues to face its historic legacy – with the role of Franco and his “national Catholicism” thus described strongly debated in recent years, as well as the Hispanic identity and the history of colonialism.