THE MOST SERIOUS SACRILEGE EVER DARED, ELICITS A VERY STRONG REACTION FROM THE CHURCH AND THE FAITHFUL IN SPAIN

These days, not only do we have to contend with Islamic fanaticism which is shaking and devastating the West; there is also another, more silent but no less dangerous, precisely parallel and just as specular: secularism and jacobism, which perhaps, at least for the time being, are not tearing up bodies and destroying lives with explosives, yet indubitably manage to pierce the souls of the faithful.

Sadly exemplary, in this sense, is what happened in Spain last year, where, according to eyewitnesses, the most serious sacrilege ever committed has been effectuated since the horrendous Spanish Civil War. Abel Azcona is 27 years old gay man from Pamplona. He defines himself as an «interdisciplinarian» artist, linked to the so-called «art of performance». No one had ever heard of him previously and probably nobody would ever have hear about him.

Perhaps because of this he spasmodically seeks to provoke by crossing over the lines in a way that is considered unacceptable, the immoderate excesses, the shouted transgression, exceeding not only the limits of human decency (let alone good taste…), but also that of a respect for the sacred. For this Azcona went to great trouble by going to different churches in Pamplona and Madrid during the Holy Mass, pretending to receive holy communion and purloining the consecrated Host. He did this 248 times. Then he used the particles to compose them into the word «pedophilia» after having tossed them onto the ground.

Abel Azcona. Image from Twitter

All this, be it noted, with the Body of Christ. The desecration is evident. And so is the crime against religious sentiments, regulated by art. 525 of the Spanish Penal Code which states «Article 525: 1. Those that, in order to offend the feelings of members of a religious confession, make public derision, orally, by writing or through any type of document, of their dogmas, beliefs, rituals or ceremonies or mistreat, also publicly, those who practice that religion, will be punished with a fine between eight to twelve months of their salary. 2. Those that make public derision, orally or by writing, of persons who do not profess any religion will incur in the penalties set in the previous paragraph.»  To make matters worse, the exhibition entitled Desenterrados [unearthed], set up recently by Azcona in Pamplona. Where he also exhibited the blasphemous work in question. Piously removed by a person, who preferred to remain anonymous: he took the Hosts consecrated from the display and transferred them to a parish, so as to put an end to the sacrilegious act. Only in part, though. Unfortunately, the panels with the images remained in situ, which meticulously depict the various phases of their blasphemous and so called artistic realisation.

A real cowardly assault on beliefs. A frontal attack and insult against the Divine, an act of unprecedented gravity and a genuine attack on the Catholic faith. In presenting his exhibition, Azcona stated that he wanted to «reflect on his own suffering and on that of others». In reality, this suffering was only caused upon others. Not only that: the issue has immediately become political, the event was set up last November 20 until 17 January by the municipal administration of Pamplona, led by the Basque nationalist and pro-independence leftist group of Euskal Herria Bildu [Basque Country Unite], in the public hall of Piazza Serapio Esparza (Conde Rodezno), next to the War Memorial.

PLAZA CONDE DE RODEZNO

These are premises originally owned by the Diocese, but sold in the Nineties to the City provided that the beneficiary carried out strictly cultural and educational activities, compatible with the nature and history of the building, having to keep internal order and the respect due to the Crypt. It is quite evident how, in this case, these conditions have not only been disrespected, but have obviously been violated.

The Center-Right along with the UPN [Unión del Pueblo Navarro], with the support of the Partido Popular de Navarra [PNP], presented a motion to reject the exhibition, accusing it of « lacking respect » and indeed of making an attempt against « the religious convictions of a part of the society ». Ana Beltrán, president of the PNP, has branded Azcona’s exhibition as “reprehensible” and “execrable“. But the Parliament of Navarre, and above all due to the compact vote of the Left, dismissed the request.

The reasons are always the same, devoid of meaning: they trample on the faith of others, insulting and deriding the feelings of others, citing the malapropism of «freedom of expression and opinion», as claimed by Koldo Martínez, spokesman for the progressive Basque separatists Geroa Bai, while Parliamentary Deputy Adolfo Araiz Flamarique, exponent and mouthpiece of the forces left-wing extreme, EH Bildu, complained of a «certain air of censorship»: tagging along the same lines were the socialists and Laura Pérez of Podemos, who feared « grave risks » and consequences due to these attitudes.

The question has now, however, moved into courtrooms: the Association of Christian Lawyers filed a complaint against the author, accusing him of «profanity»; but he also made it known that, depending on the use of those spaces by the Municipality – through the Department of Culture, specifically – if the exhibition were not immediately suspended, even the local authority would be cited with the same indictment. The Spanish government has also asked the prosecutor to verify whether any criminal offences have been committed.

A Catholic who committed a similar act would incur immediate excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See, as indicated by the Code of Canon Law, in can. 1367, which establishes that: «A person who throws away the consecrated species or takes or retains them for a sacrilegious purpose incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See; …»

Meanwhile, the InfoCatólica agency released a photo of the author of the « deed », Abel Azcona, so that everyone, priests and lay faithful, can « memorise his face » in case « he again attempts to receive communion, and further attempts to steal consecrated Hosts », they can immediately take the appropriate action. The agencies change.org and hazteoir.org, on the other hand, have launched two public signature campaigns, which have in a short time collected about 90 thousand signatures against the exhibition. Thousands of faithful have recited the Holy Rosary in Pamplona, in front of the Azcona exhibition site (see video here).

On November 26th a protest was held in front of the Municipality, to show the clear and absolute rejection of similar future offences toward Christ and the faith of millions of Catholics. 

The hermits of Saint Bruno normally stay away from commenting on these type of activities, as we feel that it adds to the notoriety of the person concerned, and shows our faith in a bad light when there is already a vast arena of anti catholicism on the web and media, we would rather share messages that spiritually encourage and uplift an individual or give them information that is relevant to their faith.  And whilst we find the activities of pedophile clerics abhorrent and the churches reaction, protection and silence disgusting, inhumane and particularly horrific, we feel there are other ways of addressing the church’s and the Bishops lack of christianity and moral fibre on this issue.  We nevertheless felt it important to share this atrocity against our faith, and the attitudes of governments who would rather play second fiddle to islamic extremists, and other unsavoury and questionable activities. The outrage is such and the reaction so strong, this time, against yet another, sacrilegious disregard for the freedom and the fundamental rights of Catholics which governments around the world are slowly attempting to eradicate and anathemise.

The Archbishop of Pamplona, Msgr. Francisco Pérez González, on November 25 at 1900 hrs., decided on the celebration of two concurrent Holy Masses for reparation for the sacrilegious theft of the consecrated hosts, admittedly self confessed by Azcona: a liturgical function in the Cathedral of Pamplona, celebrated by Msgr. Pérez, and the other in the Cathedral of Tudela, celebrated by the Auxiliary Bishop, Msgr. Juan Antonio Aznárez Cobo.

In closing, in an interview with Alfa y Omega, Msgr. Pérez declared that the Diocese has filed a complaint-lawsuit against the perpetrator: « We have the right to access civil justice  to protect ourselves against such acts of sacrilege, an acts that would harm and ridicule  our beliefs. It is a blasphemous sacrilege » he continued « A sacrilege, which has scorned, trampled and mocked the Eucharist, which is the real presence of Jesus Christ in the consecrated Host and His most sacred form for a Catholic“. The Archbishop has also written to the City, giving them the opportunity to « withdraw this exhibition with sacrilegious connotations which are contrary to our faith ».

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