Enrique de Amo (left) and the Bishop of Almería, Antonio Gómez Cantero / Credit: Discover Foundation and Spanish Episcopal Conference
ACI Prensa Staff, Nov 9, 2022 / 15:00 pm (CNA).
Controversy surrounded the recent appointment of a former communist candidate by Bishop Antonio Gómez Cantero of the Diocese of Almería, Spain, as the episcopal delegate/head of Culture and University Pastoral Ministry.
Enrique de Amo was the leader of the Izquierda Unida (United Left) communist coalition in Almería and a recent municipal candidate for the Podemos political bloc, which shares the same ideology, although he has now disassociated himself from that party.
The Vox party, considered on the far right in the Spanish political spectrum, has charged that the newly appointed head for Culture and University Pastoral Ministry addressed his voters in insulting terms and therefore has asked the bishop to dismiss him.
Diocese: insults of the past ‘don’t affect his new task’
In an interview with ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language sister news agency, the vicar general of the Diocese of Almería, Father Ignacio López Román, considered that de Amo’s statements “were made at one time, in a political context, and now he’s in another context and in another time.”
“Now he’s the bishop’s delegate for university ministry and these statements don’t have to do with being a delegate of the bishop, they have to do with a person who at one time was a member of a political party” who made the statements “within political criticism,” he said.
The vicar general also considered that, in any case, “they don’t affect his new task and his new mission,” which would have been different if he had said these things after his appointment by the bishop.
“If he made those statements now, that would be something else. But if he did them in the political fray, it’s within his role as a politician, which he has already ended,” López said.
As stated in the Vox press release, de Amo allegedly used a vulgarity in reference to the leaders of Vox. He also added: “We will continue without really fighting these human scoundrels who are so successful among bar patrons and sleepy voters.”
For Vox, the appointee for culture “has disrespected his voters” by despising a party that, they say, “represents Catholic values at all costs.”
Enrique de Amo, professor of mathematics and dean of the faculty of experimental sciences at the University of Almería from 2009 to 2020, was the facilitator of the agreement with the university for the launch of University Pastoral Ministry last April.
In a recent interview with the newspaper La Voz de Almería, de Amo described himself as someone who has always been recognized as “sanctimonious in the party and a communist in the Church,” typical of someone who “has very short-sighted views,” in the opinion of his critics.
In any case, he feels very supported by the bishop of Almería: “That I am on this team is the will of one person, Antonio Gómez Cantero, who thinks that things can also be done in another way, and not as they have been done so far.”
Bishop Gómez has also been a chaplain of Spanish Catholic Action since October 2018 and is a member of the Commission for Social Communications of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference.
‘On the right of the Father’ and ‘on the left of man’
In a statement to El Español online news, de Amo said that “if you have to be on the right of the Father, that means being on the left of man,” possibly a jumbled reference to Matthew 25, where Christ the King separates the good from the bad, with the good placed on his right.
Asked about the bill for the Trans Law that is going through the legislative process in Congress, he said that “beyond the individual beliefs of one or the other, it’s important that each person feels free, and that means creating environments in which they can make their own decisions.”
In addition, he is convinced that “sex/gender, in terms of thought, is shaped by the human being as a personal option.”
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.