A DISCUSSION on bioethics caused the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Granada to withdraw eight seminarians from the faculty of theology at the city’s university.
The Most Rev Archbishop Francisco Javier Martínez pulled the eight students out on the first day of the second year of their theology degree at Granada University in protest at the contents of the class, claiming bioethics goes against the “culture of the Church.”
The news was confirmed in letters sent to Ildefonso Camacho and Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, the Rector and Grand Chancellor of the theology faculty respectively on October 16.
In the letter, Archbishop Martínez also announced his decision to resign as the head of the Supreme Congress of Guidance, the body in charge of appointing the rector and teachers of the theology faculty.
The withdrawal has caused anger and confusion in some quarters of the theology faculty. Rector Ildefonso Camacho called the Archbishop’s decision “illogical” while revealing the faculty has received messages of support from around Spain.
Fernando López, the President of the Friends of the Faculty of Theology, said: “It is both surprising and disconcerting what has happened.”
The future teaching of the seminarians will be handled by the Archbishop and, as confirmed by the Vicar-General of the Diocese of Granada Miguel Peinado, people close to the prelate in a new theology school at a seminary in or close to the city.
“This means the seminarians will be people of an open mind, more in touch with the people and the Church,” he said.
Archbishop Martínez is believed to be closely allied to the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation and the Neocatechumenal Way, considered by some to be two conservative sects of the Roman Catholic Church.
University officials have revealed the Archbishop will have to affiliate his new school with another theology faculty in Spain to make its teachings and qualifications official.