Edited by Peter Cumper and Tom Lewis
Chapter 6: Religion and secular values in Spain: a long path to a real religious pluralism
The demise of Franco’s dictatorship heralded a new period in Spanish history, one that paved the way for a transition to democracy. The old systems were overturned, including the powerful role the Roman Catholic Church had played for more than 30 years in Spanish politics. Spain, quite suddenly and profoundly, had ceased to be a Catholic state. Yet in the period leading up to the establishment of the new Spanish Constitution in 1978, calls by secularist groups for a strict separation between Church and State were not successful. The new Constitution enshrined the principle of State neutrality and incorporated the principle of religious freedom according to international human rights norms. But it also explicitly declared that the State did not have an official religion, and stated that public authorities ‘should take into account the religious beliefs of Spanish society and shall maintain appropriate cooperative relations with the Catholic Church and other confessions’.
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