MADRID — Prosecutors said Friday they are investigating a Spanish archbishop for possible criminal hate speech because of remarks he made recently about the gay community.
Valencia’s provincial prosecutor’s office said it was studying a recent speech by Valencia Archbishop Antonio Canizares, in which he said “powers such as the gay empire” promoted the rise of movements against the Christian family.
Canizares also hit out at feminists and gender ideology.
The remarks raised much criticism and a regional LGBT group and 50 other groups filed a complaint.
News reports said the cardinal later issued a letter of apology, saying he had been misinterpreted.
The prosecutors’ office has six months to decide whether the case merits prosecution. The offense is punishable by up to three years in prison.
Canizares, 70, stirred a similar controversy last year when he criticized the influx of migrants and refugees into Europe. He later apologized for those remarks.
This is yet another example of a formerly free country limiting free speech rights — and this one is a doozy. Right or wrong, this is a religious leader speaking out on a moral issue. I can’t think of anything which deserves protection more.
Now, all Spanish religious leaders will be very careful not to face a similar unexpected inquisition.