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A constitutional row has damaged out after Spain’s ministry of defence ordered all military installations to fly the flag at half mast over Easter to commemorate the loss of life of Jesus Christ.

It is the second yr operating that the defence ministry has issued an order to the impact that “from 14.00 on Holy Thursday until 00.01 on Resurrection Sunday the national flag must be flown at half mast at all military units, bases, centres and barracks, as well as the ministry of defence and its regional departments”.

A defence ministry spokesman mentioned that flying the flag at half mast for spiritual causes was “in keeping with tradition” and was “part of the secular tradition of the armed forces”.

But Francisco Fernández Marugán, the nationwide ombudsman, criticised the transfer on the grounds that Spain is constitutionally a secular state. Article 16.three of the 1978 Spanish structure states: “No religion shall have a state character. The public authorities shall take into account the religious beliefs of Spanish society and shall consequently maintain appropriate cooperation relations with the Catholic church and other confessions.”

Spanish flags at half mast.



Spanish flags at half mast. Photograph: Mariscal/EPA

In a examine carried out in 2018 by the Spanish Centre for Sociological Research, 68.5% of Spaniards recognized themselves as Catholics and 26.four% as atheists. There are roughly 2 million Muslims and 50,00zero Jews in Spain. Fewer than half of Spanish Catholics ever attend mass.

Fernández Marugán rejected the argument put ahead by the ministry, led by María Dolores de Cospedal, primarily based on a 2017 ruling that members of the armed forces are authorised “to take part in celebrations of a religious nature in which the military traditionally takes part”.

He argued that the ruling didn’t anticipate “military funeral honours for religious motives, such as the commemoration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ”.

The ombudsman mentioned that “even if this tradition has acquired a ‘secular’ connotation over the years there is no doubt that it also has a religious one”, including that “these practices could lead people to think that the state was more inclined to honour one religion than another” and non-confessional state needed to reveal neutrality in regard to the varied religions.

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