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Empowering you to build a pro-life, pro-family world.

Empowering you to build a pro-life, pro-family world.

Empowering you to build a pro-life, pro-family world.

No Spaniards, No Spain

Guest commentary by María José Mansilla-Arcos, director of Association Spei Mater, HLI’s affiliate in Spain.


The Institute for Family Policy in Spain recently published a report titled Demography and Birthrate in Spain. Even though demography is not often publicly discussed in Spain, the report has been picked up by the mass media due to its devastating conclusions: Spaniards are extinguishing themselves. Spanish flag

What has happened in Spain? How did we arrive at this point? The Spanish are beginning to discuss the reasons that couples either do not have children or have fewer of them. While many lay the primary blame upon the economic problems suffered by the nation, this does not explain the dramatic shortfall: the wealthiest families do not necessarily have more children, and immigrants seem to have the highest fertility, though they are as a group the most disadvantaged socially and economically.

The report also considers the question of whether longer work days and lowering job stability are exerting downward pressure on fertility. Not considered in the report is the perspective that the collapse is cultural: Spain is a country that has been devastated by the culture of death.

Spain holds a strategic importance for those who see progressive social engineering as the way to the future. The nation once widely referred to as “Catholic Spain” has long been a testing ground for policies that inhibit fertility and give the state greater importance than the family.

Several laws have eroded our social and moral consciousness. The ‘Aído Law’ of 2010 (named after Bibiana Aído, who was the former Minister of Women’s Equality of Spain) declared that abortion is a “human right.” Other laws promoted widespread divorce and redefined marriage to include couples of the same sex. Worst of all, there is no national political party in Spain that promotes pro-life and pro-family policies. All of the political parties accept without question the ideology of the culture of death, and attack anyone who is opposed to them.

When analyzing the situation in Spain, one must mention the 2014 diocesan open letter written by Bishop Juan Antonio Reig-Plá of the Diocese of Alcalá de Henares, which was titled: ‘For a bowl of lentil soup’ (in reference to Esau, who in the Old Testament sold his birthright for a bowl of soup).

In his letter, Bishop Reig-Plá discussed the withdrawal of a 2014 bill that would have amended the abortion law, at least reinstating several of the abortion restrictions removed by the “Aido Law.” It would not have been a strong pro-life law, but it would have provided some level of protection for the unborn child in the country. Bishop Reig-Plá claimed that the reason that the bill failed was that Spain wanted to become a member of the United Nations National Security Council, a position that it obtained soon after. In 2013, the Spanish prelate received Human Life International’s Cardinal Von Galen Award for his courage in defending life and family in his country.

The study mentioned above proposes several measures to alleviate the dire demographic situation in Spain, most having to do with an increase in maternity support measures and compensation for each born child. All of these policies might be helpful: In several of the European countries where these policies are being implemented, one can see a small increase in national birthrates.

Nevertheless, the battle is more encompassing and profound. It is a battle against an anti-culture where human life has no intrinsic value and no dignity, where children are not seen as a gift from God. Instead children are seen as subject to the desire of adults. If they are not desired, they are discarded. If they are desired, then every method possible is employed to obtain them, such as by in-vitro fertilization or surrogate motherhood.

As Saint Paul reminds us in Ephesians chapter 6, “For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” At the same time, one must look to the future with hope, knowing that God has already overcome all evil. Spain, which sadly finds itself in the present malaise, is also a land of great saints and great deeds carried out on behalf of the faith. Each of us must serve this great mission of proclaiming the Gospel of Life. Let us embrace life and the Author of life, who has told us that: “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.”

About María José Mansilla-Arcos


  1. ravian on October 9, 2015 at 6:46 PM

    Why is this so surprising, when Catholic education has been watered down and suppressed from within and without for decades? (Perhaps this is at least partially due to EU common frame of reference standards on language instruction, which, at least so I’ve read, requires silence on religion, based on the philosophy of Wittgenstein (?), who by the way is not God, while Jesus Christ Is God, and many of His apostles and other followers died horribly to testify to that.) Where is the attention to the First Commandment? Where are the hymns that appropriately praise and glorify God for giving us Himself by transubstantiation? Also, as Blessed Assunta Goretti taught: never do anything to offend God, especially never do anything impure. The New Testament equates lust with idolatry, so why is that not mentioned? Perhaps this situation also stems from regarding money as god, as occurred prior to the collapse of the Roman republic, as described in Tacitus (compare his The Annals of Imperial Rome to his The Agricola and the Germania, and focus on the Germania section, notice that the Germanic tribes of that time had large happy families, and basically did not know what money was, though these works illustrate that every nation and culture need the light of the Gospel). Where is the focus on actual Faith and Morals teaching of the Universal Church (e.g., Catholic Scriptures, Catechism of the Catholic Church, Papal and Church Council documents (very useful as multi-subject study guides), lives and writings of the saints (especially the Doctors of the Church), Catholic literature, Church History, Catholic philosophy (especially St. Thomas Aquinas)? Thanks for your consideration.
    In caritate Christi,
    Mrs. Richard Avian (Carol Avian)

  2. Melissa on May 1, 2016 at 3:31 AM

    It’s interesting that you describe equality and acceptance as “culture of death”. Very dramatic. Although I do not see the US as superior I would like to point out that despite access to abortion and newfound acceptance of gay marriage by many states, most married couples are having at least 2 children, including gay and lesbian couples. Many straight couples have 3-4 children despite global concerns of overpopulation and climate change. I’m sure homosexual couples in the US would be happy to have 3-4 children as well but costs prohibit this. Spain’s population problem is a result of something else. Job stress and insecurity is a good hypothesis and is not driven by xenophobia. Fear is not the best way to unlock the truth. If Spain’s population is declining it’s likely for the usual reasons: lack of job security and maternity support. Even men and women involved in abortion when they’re young grow up to be adults who have families. Just in their mid-twenties rather than teens. Whether you believe abortion is right or wrong it is generally just a delay in beginning a family, not a rejection of reproduction.

  3. Mary Lee on June 25, 2016 at 5:14 PM

    Excuse me, but homosexual couples cannot “have children”….they must adopt because their sexual practices are barren and infertile (not to mention wrong).

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