OXFORD, England (CNS) — King Juan Carlos of Spain received a tribute from the country’s bishops after he announced his decision to abdicate in favor of his son.
The executive committee of the Span’s bishops’ conference described the work of the outgoing 76-year-old king as having “extraordinary value” because of his work on behalf of democracy during his 39 years on the throne.
“All Spanish bishops recognize and appreciate the work of His Majesty the King, Don Juan Carlos, and his generous gifts and contributions to Spain’s recent history, particularly to establishing and consolidating democratic life, which was especially relevant during the political transition,” the bishops’ committee said in a June 2 statement.
It said Crown Prince Felipe de Borbon y Grecia, Prince of Asturias, who will succeed his father, had “proved his qualifications and competence” to continue the monarchy’s “constitutional service.”
Meanwhile, Archbishop Julian Barrio Barrio of Santiago de Compostela, praised the king’s “affection” for the western Catholic shrine and close ties with the city, as well as his periodic attendance at Mass in the city’s historic cathedral.
“I feel utmost respect for his decision,” the archbishop said in a June 3 message posted on the archdiocesan website.
King Juan Carlos, who assumed the monarchy when it was restored after the 1975 death of 36-year dictator Gen. Francisco Franco, was widely acclaimed for backing parliamentary democracy in Spain, and facing down an attempted February 1981 military coup by Franco supporters.
However, public support for the monarchy slumped in the last five years when the king’s eldest daughter, Infanta Cristina, and her husband, Inaki Urdangarin, were investigated for alleged embezzlement of public funds, and when Juan Carlos broke a hip on a lavish April 2012 elephant hunting trip to Botswana during Spain’s economic recession.
In his June 2 televised announcement, the king said he had taken the throne hoping Spaniards would “become protagonists of their own destiny,” in “a modern democracy, fully integrated into Europe.”
He added that he felt “pride and gratitude” that Spain had since achieved, “in times of great uncertainty and difficulty, a long period of peace, freedom, stability and progress.” He said he believed the new generation could “justly claim a starring role in forging the future.”
Meanwhile, the Catholic Communion and Liberation organization welcomed the Juan Carlos’ summons to a younger generation, and said it expected the new king to “promote true coexistence” and “inspire in all of us a radical desire to affirm the other person.”
“One generation assumed its responsibility 39 years ago, leaving behind old divisions and building a society no longer based on the view that other was an enemy to be eliminated,” the group said in a June 3 communique.
“In the same way, a new generation is now called to express its desire for true coexistence, excluding the aggressive and sterile dialectic, which has eroded our democracy in recent years.”
Vatican Radio said King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia had discussed Spain’s economic crisis and “current issues regarding the church’s mission in society” during an April 28 Vatican audience.
The 75-year-old queen was to receive a Path to Peace prize June 3 in New York from the Holy See’s permanent observer to the United Nations, Archbishop Francis A. Chullikatt.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103