Hate Speech

Spanish Cardinal Faces Criminal Charges for Homily Remarks

Cardinal Antonio Cañizares faces hate speech charges for questioning "gay empire," "radical feminism," and "gender theory" during homily.


Presidència Generalitat/Flickr

Just in case you need more examples of why laws against "hate speech" are a bad idea, here's a case out of Spain in which a Catholic leader is under investigation for remarks he made during a religious ceremony.

While giving the homily at a Catholic University of Valencia mass, the Archbishop of Valencia, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares, suggested that "the gay empire" and "radical feminism" were undermining traditional family values. "The family is being stalked today, in our culture, by endlessly grave difficulties," he said. "When the family is attacked or is diminished, the most sacred forms of human relationship are perverted."

Note that the 70-year-old Cardinal didn't threaten violence against anyone, nor attempt to incite listeners to violence. He merely expressed his—perhaps unfashionable, but hardly radical or dangerous—opinion that Spain has passed "legislation contrary to the family," and that this stems from "the action of political and social forces," including the "gay empire," the ideas of "radical feminism," and "the most insidious of all, gender theory." 

Yet because hate speech is such a nebulous concept, one rooted in à la mode concepts of civility and shifting perceptions of power, the homily Cañizares gave has earned him an investigation by the Provincial Prosecutor's Office in Valencia. 

The investigation stems from a criminal omplaint filed by Lambda LGBT collective, which called Cañizares' homily "homophobic and sexist," designed to "incite hatred against those who do not enter fit into the archaic models defended by the Catholic hierarchy." That's right: the group is upset about a Catholic official defending "Catholic hierarchy" during a Catholic mass. 

Alas, this effort to dictate the confines of religious rhetoric isn't just a whim of one particularly illiberal activist group; Lambda's complaint was signed by 55 other organizations, including the Spanish Network of Help to Refugees. In a statement, the Network accused Cañizares of being an "ultra conservative" who yearned for the "times when immigrants, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transsexuals and women were subjected to the dictates of a society governed by the powers of the Catholic church society." Apparently, such sentiment is now potentially criminal in Spain. 

The governor of Valencia condemned Cañizares for "fomenting hatred, while the Monica Oltra, Valencia's vice president and minister for Equality and Inclusive Policies, called the Cardinal a misogynist. If found guilty of the charges against him, Cañizares could face up to three years in prison.

NEXT: Things You Should Consider Before Moving to Canada

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. The empire strikes back.

  2. Coming soon to a country near you.


    1. Seven more months until your venerated messiah Block Insane Yomomma is out the door… assuming he doesn’t try to make himself Dictator for Life of course.

      1. President Clinton or Trump or Presidente Obama. Tough choice.

  4. …the homily Ca?izares gave has earned him an investigation by the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office in Valencia.

    Bet he didn’t expect it.

  5. I like to point to examples from countries, like Russia and India, in which the right not to be offended works in the other direction. That always shuts up the would-be censors, who prefer not to imagine falling under the wheels of their own juggernaut.

    1. P.S. Who is the gay emperor/empress? I have a long list of LGBTQIMOUSE talking heads who I fervently hope don’t occupy the throne.

      1. One thing’s for sure: that emperor is wearing clothes and they are FABULOUS.

      2. P.S. Who is the gay emperor/empress?

        They don’t have one, they have a collective hive-mind of queens.

        1. “Yoohoo!” one of them says.

      3. Freddy Mercury’s Ghost.

        1. you mispelled Ghola.

          1. sorry, no, it was probably autocorrect, nevermind.


  6. SJW cannibalism is entertaining, that’s for sure.

  7. Are they going to start monitoring sermons at the local mosque?

    1. I think the people at the LGBT collective view dying at the hands of a repressed group to be their duty.

    2. OMG already! When Muslims act anti-gay they’re just closeted with low-self-esteem. Plus, Christians made them do it.

  8. I am sure they will be charging Muslims with hate speech real soon.

    1. I wouldn’t hold my breath.

      Not sure what the Spanish are supposed to feel guilty about.

      The Alhambra Decree expelled Jews.

      Maybe they’re supposed to hate themselves because of the Inquisition?

      Franco. Are they supposed to hate themselves because of Franco?

      I’m not sure, but for some reason, they’re supposed to hate themselves instead of [insert whatever]. That’s the foundation upon which all social justice warrioring is built.

      1. Those evil spainiards expelled the practicioners of the “religion of peace”(tm) and enslaved much of the New World before infecting them all with smallpox. Then they stole all the gold and silver.

        Oh, and while we’re digging into historical “crimes” to inflict guilt with, why stop at things they actually did?

        1. Yeah, I suppose you can dig back deep to find the reasons why people are supposed to hate themselves (and not Muslims, in this case).

          I guess we American are supposed to hate ourselves for things that happened before we were born, too. Slavery, Jim Crow, etc.

          I guess I am responsible for the AIDS epidemic, though, since, you know, Ronald Reagan didn’t give them all the taxpayer money they wanted. I mean, it wasn’t my responsibility exactly since public policy isn’t up to me and I couldn’t vote at the time. But it did happen during my lifetime, and for that I will always be to blame! Jesus, I should be so ashamed of myself.

          Also, there were child molesting priests. Maybe the Spanish people are supposed to hate themselves (and not Muslims) because Catholic priests molested children.


    1. No one expects to have his jokes ripped off with a gross unsubtlety either but yet here we are.

      1. +1 previous comment


        1. You are hereby charged that you did on diverse dates commit heresy against the Holy Church Progressive Theocracy.

      3. I expected it.

    2. Least of all the Catholic Church!

  10. The investigation stems from a criminal omplaint filed by Lambda LGBT collective

    Good thing they choose a name that wasn’t creepy as fuck or anything.

    1. Is this the Gaystapo I’ve been hearing about?

      1. “Yeah, that gay empire? No such thing. And we’re investigating you because a highly influential group of gay people asked us to.”

  11. the archaic models defended by the Catholic hierarchy

    “Archaic”, eh? Gee, that sounds pretty darned hateful to me. I’d say the leadership of the Lambda LGBT collective ought to be put in the next cell over from Cardinal Ca?izares.

    1. All hate is equal, but some hate is more equal than others.

  12. “Note that the 70-year-old Cardinal didn’t threaten violence against anyone, nor attempt to incite listeners to violence.”

    Even if he had, there’s still a difference between speech and violence, though, right?

    Please tell me you understand that there is a difference between speaking words and violence.

    1. Your words wound me.

  13. It’s like the rest of the world is trying to reassure us that, as bad as the US might get, it’s still better than most everywhere else.

    It’s speech, you morons. I thought we settled all this back in the Enlightenment. Goddamn.

    1. Just turn off the lights when you leave.

    2. Look at the less free speech-y parts of U.S. history and how some are trying to get us back to those days.

      Check out the speech codes they’re using in universities in order to teach tomorrow’s professors, journalists, nonprofit execs, activist-group executive presidents, bureaucrats and judges about the proper limits of free speech.

      1. I think he addressed that:

        as bad as the US might get, it’s still better than most everywhere else.

        1. I mean it could get worse because there’s some influential people who want to make it worse, and they’re raising a generation of future policymakers who will sign onto that agenda.

    3. I thought we settled all this back in the Enlightenment.

      The times, they are a changing… back.

  14. Two things:

    1. He has the right to be a reactionary if he wants, and fuck Spain and fuck hate speech laws but;

    2. That said, either start charging Muslims or GTFO. The imams commit hate speech pretty much every time the muzzein calls.

    1. This is nothing more than SJWs hitting a group they hate while overlooking far worse behavior by a pet-victim group.

      1. Principals, not principles.

  15. Even if (as I suspect) the prosecutors are simply trying to impose a “chilling effect” be announcing a criminal investigation and then quietly dropping it after a certain interval, it’s still censorship.

    And there’s a large group of people in the U.S. who want the government to be able to do this sort of thing – the first step, of course, is to treat the First Amendment in the same “yes, but” fashion as the Second.

    Our current climate of speech-protective jurisprudence is due to some happy historical accidents. There is a robust media and dissenting community which loves pushing the boundaries and screaming bloody murder if they’re censored, and after enough of this, the courts, belatedly let me say, decided to adopt some pretty darn robust interpretations of the First Amendment.

    But what is done can be undone.

    Our history isn’t always rainbows and puppies with the First Amendment. There’s the Sedition Act, the censorship of abolitionist literature and petitions, wartime censorship in the Civil War, WWI, and even WWII, the Smith Act, the winking at vigilantism against dissenters, etc.

    1. You’re just saying that because you’re Catholic.

      Churches are like corporations. They don’t have freedom of speech. Only people do.

      And why should this priest be privileged? Because he’s Catholic?

      The Catholic church discriminates against gays and women. If you’re a Catholic, you should be ashamed of yourself.

      People shouldn’t be able to use their religion to discriminate against gays and women–not in public. That’s what religious freedom is all about.

      1. Ken, I hope this is a fucking joke.

        1. There’s a 99.5% chance that it is, in fact, a joke.

        2. Yeah, it’s a joke.

          And if it’s funny, it’s only funny because it’s true that’s what progressives really think.

          It’s serious to the extent that we need to rebut that shit.

          Articulating a compelling response to that shit for a general audience is the libertarian man’s burden.

        3. One is always entitled to hope!

          Poe’s Law, and all that.

  16. A serious question: Have these people lost their cocksuckin’, muthafuckin’ minds?

      1. Grrrrrrr. Can I just start biting people?

        1. no.

          You’d be mistaken for a zombie and killed.

          1. That’d be fratricide.

            1. fratricide

              grab her mother fucking brain!

    1. Have these people lost their cocksuckin’, muthafuckin’ minds?

      Considering the number of times we’ve been assured that there is no agenda… yes. It’s just blithering ineptitude and random serendipity that just keeps happening to cause the cards to fall in their favor on these issues.

      The Lambda LGBT collective is staffed entirely by monkeys at typewriters who just happened to type a complete criminal complaint against the Cardinal rather than the complete works of Shakespeare. And, since they typed it, why not file it?

    2. At some point, you’d expect Europe to swing to the right.

      And I don’t mean a David Cameron kind of right.

      It’s almost like the conundrum about whether democracies should be allowed to vote themselves out of existence. Is it healthy for a society to reject the right side of the equation so thoroughly that the right can never be a real option again?

      It’s like the difference between the question of whether immigrants should be discriminated against–and whether it should be possible to discriminate against immigrants.

      Maybe a better analogy is gun ownership. There’s a difference between choosing not to own a gun and not having the choice to own a gun. What if for reasons of history and politics, it’s no longer possible for a society to fight back in certain ways. It doesn’t mean I want society to fight back in that way, but maybe the Spanish couldn’t resist immigrants flooding in from North Africa anymore–because it’s no longer . . . psychologically possible.

      Whether they should is one question.

      Whether they can is another.

    3. Do you believe they ever had their minds in the first place?

  17. Make 5000 bucks every month… Start doing online computer-based work through our day37 website and start getting that much needed extra income every month….. You’ll get trained by us, no prior experience needed… Find out more about it on following address
    check this link …………………………………………. http://www.social36.com

  18. It’s only hate speech when Christians do it.

    1. Civilization has only just barely gotten Christian Theocratic Fascism in a cage. They had stopped. And now these Progressive play acting fascists are poking him in his cage.

      They that sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind.

      There will be some justice in that, but they’re going to take a lot of people down with them.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.