Article 26 of the Constitution:
March 1, 1933
Ladies and Gentlemen, my involvement in this debate is solely due to the conviction that it was necessary for a woman’s voice to be heard on a subject which, as we are constantly assured by the extreme right-wing sectors, is of particular interest to women.
And it is not, ladies and gentlemen, that these affirmations make any impression on me: the debates on the Divorce Law are still too recent, when day after day, in the right-wing press, in right-wing propaganda and in the speeches of right-wing deputies, we were assured that women in Spain were repulsed by this law. I do not know what would happen if women in Spain were not repulsed by this law, because the fact is that, as soon as it was implemented, there were only in the Court of Madrid some 700 divorce petitions, signed mostly by women, and I do not need to tell you, ladies and gentlemen, the work, the workload that the Divorce law gives to all our Courts.
I do not have much to say, therefore, on these statements that the vast majority of people either want or do not want the draft law on Congregations to be approved. Moreover, I am well aware that, apart from a small sector, which, until proven otherwise, we have the right to believe also represents a small sector outside Parliament, above all disagreements which may separate the fractions of this Parliament for the moment, on this specific point, not of persecution, but of the introduction of a law which will finally bring peace to the spirits so long persecuted, the various sectors of this House are in perfect agreement.
In this subject there is a dual social and moral aspect, an aspect so delicate, that it is very difficult to deal without, it seems, sinning of sectarianism, and it is this aspect that mentions the nuns who assist the sick in the hospitals and in the asylums. I do not believe, of course, that a nun is a person who lacks any of the merits that can adorn a secular person; I not only admit parity, but, if you wish, I even want to admit that all nuns, the more in agreement they are with their convictions, with those that led them to pronounce vows, the more incompatible they are with the life, I do not say of a Republic, but simply of our days.
For a religious woman, the world, the earthly world, cannot exist; for a religious woman there must exist only a second life, to which all her acts tend, and everything in it may be sacrificial, this will make her all the more worthy of respect for a believer; for those of us who are not believers it will only serve to distance her from us. It is natural that a woman who believes herself to be in possession of an absolute truth and of a truth that is nothing less than eternal happiness, out of kindness, out of charity, out of conviction wants to make as many of her fellow men as possible enjoy this eternal happiness, and so we find, gentlemen deputies, that what is perfection from the Catholic point of view, is an instrument of oppression from the point of view of non-Catholics. There will be very few, apart from the sectors of the Right, there will be very few Members of the House who do not have the memory of real moral tortures inflicted in the name of that perfection at the sacred moment of death, by themselves, by a family member, by a colleague. I am not going to bring them here, if I am forced to, but I do not think it is useful to bring up examples that we all have in our memories, truly dreadful examples; because, ladies and gentlemen, if for a believer the moment of the supreme transition is consoled by the assistance of a religious symbolism at his bedside that must bring him the greatest hope, but for those who have never had this belief or for those who no longer wish to have it, this symbolism that is imposed on him, that has been imposed on him by force, only represents the anguish of the oppression that has haunted him all his life. This is the truth of the hospitals, Members of Parliament. Those of us who speak here on behalf of those who have to suffer their illnesses and die in hospitals know that the charity of the nuns is the greatest cruelty, the greatest coldness, the greatest harshness. I would just like to remind you of this: that until very recently, until just a few months ago, when the fear of this very law advised greater prudence in the exercise of this proselytism, the sick in hospitals were awakened at a certain time in the morning to pray. The gentlemen who speak here in defense of these Congregations and who have not had to go to any hospital, when they have spent a night of suffering, a night of insomnia and after this interminable night have finally fallen asleep, they will have had the persons in charge of their custody, to say, in the house: “Quiet, do not wake him up, he has had a bad night.”
In the hospitals, the sick were awakened, whether or not they had spent a night of suffering; and I know of a sick woman, I know of one who had just undergone surgery, who after a night of horrendous suffering, having finally fallen asleep at dawn, was awakened at seven o’clock in the morning with these words: “If you do not pray, you will not have breakfast.” This is not even sectarianism. This is not even sectarianism. What is to be asked of women who, however holy they may be (I do not want to doubt their sanctity), are almost all completely uneducated, completely removed from all that their function as nurses entails? How is it to be demanded of them that they have knowledge that no one took care to give them? The imposition of a habit, the pronouncement of vows, can open the way to heaven; they cannot, unfortunately, give infused knowledge.
And if we are going to deal with the nuns who have recently been in the prisons, then we will see that the cruelty of the hospitals reaches its peak here, because they had even less sense of responsibility than in the hospitals and clinics. The worst of all, in contrast to when employing a nurse, when employing a teacher, when employing whoever in whatever position, is to know that no responsibility can be demanded of a nun; and the nuns have only their superior to answer to. Neither the doctors, nor the practitioners, nor the director of the prison can give them orders, because the nuns know that if they do not want to fulfill these orders, they will not lose their bread because of it; instead, the doctor or the director of the prison will lose it.
The other day the performance of Miss Victoria Kent, as Director General of Prisons, was censured here for having separated the nuns from the Women’s Prison of Madrid. To Mr. Lamamié de Clairac, who had so much pity for the ill-treatment, the lack of comfort and personal consideration reserved for those whom we had the right to punish as traitors to the Fatherland, I offer this picture, which is not very idyllic: That of some student girls, in December 1930, girls who were also accustomed to the life of a wharf and to being surrounded by all kinds of respects, who, for having been taken to jail in Madrid for having made some anti-monarchist propaganda, were in jail, over the orders and the will of the director, were confused by those religious women with the most degraded poor women, and the deputies already understand what I mean. And here in this very Chamber sit two deputies, one of them now absent, Mr. Perez de Ayala, and the other present, Mr. Luis de Tapia, who together with that great gentleman and great heart that was Don Adolfo Buylla, and together with the one who is now addressing you, had to intervene, during the Dictatorship, in a matter that had led to the Women’s Prison in Madrid to an Italian girl. This girl was called Gabriela Tranquillo. Don Luis de Tapia will surely not have forgotten this affair.
This girl, perfectly educated, perfectly cultivated, belonging to the only aristocracy that deserves respect, which is that of the spirit and that of study, had entered Spain in union with a companion of hers with whom she lived maritally. He was a communist. When the boy was arrested, she was also arrested, arguing that she had made a false declaration when registering as a legitimate wife. She was taken to jail and there began the ordeal of that woman; Mr. Luis de Tapia will remember it. A girl, as I have already said, very polite, very prudent, incapable of a gesture or a word that could offend. She entered the prison in the afternoon, and at a certain hour, at five or six o’clock, one of the nuns told her that she was going to pray the rosary. She, with all prudence, said, simply, as a natural thing, natural in all civilized countries, except in Spain, until the Republic, she said that she was not a Catholic. She should never have said it! There was no humiliation or humiliation that was spared her; there was no moral torture that was not inflicted on her; she could not once receive the food that her friends sent her from outside, nor could she see a doctor when she was sick; she was tubercular.
To refine the cruelty, when she asked about her companion, she was told that he had died, which was uncertain, and she was forced to share her bed with one of those unfortunate women, who to make matters worse was suffering from a repugnant disease.
This was done by the nuns in the Women’s Prison of Madrid and in all the prisons where they were allowed to stay. How could they not do it! They had no sense of responsibility, no culture of any kind and their poor mentality of poor fanatics made them believe that religion consists in that, in imposing it by force and in taking revenge, however they could, on whoever resisted this imposition.
I can assure Miss Victoria Kent that even if her time as Director of Prisons had left no other mark than the removal at last of women from the prisons who had no title, other than their tocas, for that alone Miss Victoria Kent’s name will be remembered with gratitude by all liberal spirits.
There is one thing that really surprises me, and that is how at this moment you want to discuss freedom of conscience. It’s a good time to talk about freedom of conscience!
Earlier I said that all Members of Parliament who were not from the right, and even from the extreme right, know of not one, but several bleeding cases similar to the one I have just related. But there is no need to look outside of here for any case. Here is a fellow member of Parliament (I say fellow member of Parliament, not of a party, which removes from my words whatever you might see in them as sectarian or subjective); here, in this Parliament, sits the son of the illustrious, and the illustrious was attacked by a trabucaire priest in the streets of Oviedo, on a day that he did not show his respect in the passage of a procession. In this same Parliament, in these Constituent Courts of the Republic, a pension has been requested for the widow and orphans of that man who in La Arboleda who was also imprisoned for not having saluted a procession and died insane in prison. The day that one of you can say that he was persecuted for not having saluted the symbol of another religion or that he could not fulfill the religious duties he wanted, that day you will have the right to speak of what you call freedom . . .
I had forgotten, when speaking of hospitals, to make the obligatory distinction between the nuns in hospitals and those in fee-paying sanatoriums. In the sanatorium, as it is paid, and the patient is a client, of course, no religious conviction has ever been imposed on him. Why does H.H. not read what D. Fernando de los Rios said about the Sisters of Charity?
And they talk about culture! When I see that they talk about the culture provided by the religious congregations, I truly cannot explain to myself how, Spain being the country with the most convents, is the country with the highest illiteracy among the proletarian classes . . . and less culture in the women of the upper classes. One of the great surprises of all the foreign diplomats who come to Spain is this truly narrow-minded lack of culture among the women of the middle and upper classes who leave the convents.
To confuse the beaky handwriting and the slurring of French with culture is a sad thing.
Then there are the women who have been kept aloof and ignorant of all the currents of modern culture, these women have signed protests such as the one donated by the mothers of Jesuit students. I remember them, I remember the signatures, I know many of the signatories, and I can only say: How do you know if you have educated your children well or badly if you are not educated?
The fact is that the Church, with very good intentions, with a talent for organization that no one can deny, has been very careful not to teach even elements of history to women. These Catholic girls and women who say: “Yes, but we women were redeemed by Christianity.” These women ignore one thing as essential as this: that in the Council of Mary, in the year 581 (this, whether it is a lie or not, your Lordships would know better), it was debated whether women had souls or not.
As with the arts and with civilization as a whole, there is, I dare not say a trick, but, in short, a mechanism whereby everything bad, everything that today we judge to be ignorance or something criminal done by people of the Church or in the name of the Church in past centuries, we are told: Ah, it is the result of the times! On the other hand, everything good is said: Ah, it is the fruit of the religious orders! No; it is either all the bad and all the good, or neither all the good nor all the bad.
It is like with the palimpsests. The Benedictines, who had the holy patience to bring out the ancient text from under the text that erased them, were driven away. And we are told: the Benedictines brought back the classical culture. If they had not first covered the ancient text with other more modern texts, they need not have done another one with such patience.
And all the culture of the Church, all that is due to the Church, we still do not know if it can compensate us for that which was lost in the fires of libraries such as those of Alexandria, which were set on fire by the early Christians to destroy all the culture that existed until then.
I do not say that it is the fault of the Church, I do not say that it is the work of Christianity, but what is certain is that the decline of feminine culture in Spain has coincided with the increase of Christianity. Because certain dithyrambs in literature manuals are taught to girls in order to make them believe in certain literary-Christian glories that are not valid; not including Catherine of Aragon, who attributed some works about the psalms and some works that, as it has been discovered with authentic texts, were written in 1548, that is, thirteen years after the death of their presumed author; however, the letters that Catherine of Aragon wrote to her father, Ferdinand the Catholic, and that are in the archives, which I cannot invent, are not taught to the girls in the convents. In those letters we see how the princess suffered in England not only all kinds of humiliations, but real need, real misery, and how her father, Ferdinand the Catholic, whom there was even talk of canonizing, turned a merchant’s ear to those complaints of his daughter, because he was very busy with something that is not taught to girls in the nuns’ schools: he was busy forgetting what Doña Juana la Loca had to say, or the extreme jealousy of his wife, that is, the unbridled hysteria of Isabella of Castile; either way he was very busy forgetting, as soon as that saintly queen had gone down to the grave, he was in the arms of a pretty little French girl, Germana de F. This would be of no importance, as it is of no importance to say that Oliva Sabuco de Nantes, who not so long ago had been extolled in one of those parties to which the nuns of the colleges are so fond of, that Oliva Sabuco de Nantes, to whom her father, Don Miguel, endorsed -this time in the name of the Queen of Castille- the Queen of Castille. Miguel, endorsed -this is the word- despite the fact that in reality she never wrote a single line, or so it appears according to the records, and there you can see, you can consult and study that delicate process wherein the father claimed the rights he had received for those books from his daughter, for this our feminists will be happy, the good D. Miguel Sabuco believed that a book signed with a woman’s name would sell better than one signed with a man’s name; he himself declared that he wanted to give his daughter the honor of the writings, but not their profit.
Does this mean that, since the rise of Christianity, there have not been any preeminent women in Spain? Not at all. A single name would suffice, that of the Doctor of Avila, so persecuted, who had to fight so hard against the Church and against the religious Orders; the name of Sister Maria de Agreda, who advised the king not to pay attention to the Valides, nor to the rich, nor to the high clergy, who wanted to take him away from what was his people; the name of a Countess of Montijo, who was persecuted by the Holy Office and by Godoy, who was persecuted by the Holy Office for having translated a work of Voltaire and for being a Jansenist, and by Godoy, because she was responsible for a reception speech at the Academy of the Count of Teba, which attacked the legitimacy of the royal power, would suffice; these names would be enough for us to respectfully speak of the culture of some exceptional women throughout the centuries of Christianity in Spain. But they were exceptions. The average level neither returned nor has yet to return to what it was during the Roman Empire and during the Cordoba of the Caliphate.
That the little princesses or the girls of the big house knew Latin at the age of eight was nothing special; Latin was learned as today governesses teach English or French. Culture, there was none. On the other hand, in Roman Spain, you would not forgive me, gentlemen deputies, if I were to offend you by citing even a few of those women who constituted the middle level, simply the middle level of the female intelligence. But it will suffice to recall that of Lope, in which he quoted that Pola Argentaria, wife and collaborator of Lucano in “la Argentaria Pola, who was also a Spanish scholar”; it will suffice to recall that epigram, so graciously translated by a festive poet of the eighteenth century, by Don. Francisco Micón, Marquis of Merit, epigram of Martial, in which he extols the virtues, intellectual virtues, truly singular of Theophila, the wife of Gaius Rufus, and it would be enough to remember in the fifth century, in the last days of the Empire, that woman Serena, the niece of Theodosius the Great, that woman who knew how to gather around her a real court of writers and poets, a court that has not been the same since the Courts of the Italian Renaissance; that woman who when it has been discovered in the sixteenth century, in Rome, the tombstone of her daughter Augusta, the wife of Emperor Honorius, on which remained the inscription: “She was a scholar, worthy disciple of her mother”, when this was discovered in Renaissance Rome, the wits, who despised everything that was not their Italy, because Italy was then the highest of Western civilization, had to think that there had also been a civilization equal to theirs in Spain.
And then, our medical doctors, our poetesses of the Cordoba of the Caliphate, all those girls who went to the Muslim University. This is not known by the women who today believe that in Spain there has been no culture for them until the religious Orders have given it to them. And it is natural that this is so; the strength of the religious Orders is in the unilateral sense of their teaching: they teach only the part that is convenient for them, the other part remains in the dark. And so, once they justify the Inquisition, and the so-called “The Hundred Thousand Sons of St. Louis”, and others leave in the shadows, with great care, all the popular deeds, from that of the Comuneros to that of the War of Independence.
But today the whole world is asking for a rectification of this unilateral sense of history. In other countries this rectification is called for in order to eradicate chauvinism, fascism, anything that might make any child believe that because he or she was born in a certain place he or she was born with a superiority over those of other countries.
We also need to rectify the teaching, not only in the patriotic sense, but in a sense that I cannot say religious, because religion has nothing to do with the exploitation that is made of it.
And as for the Pious Schools, which Mr. Carrasco Hormiguera was talking about before, it is precisely in the Pious Schools that charity is practiced and education is also given to poor children. The poor children enter through a different door than the rich children, so that, from an early age, the rich children know that they have a certainty in the privilege of their fortune, and the poor children become accustomed to a resignation, which is humility. Here, in Madrid, a house of education where both poor children and rich children attend has existed for many years, but they go in completely integrated, not without a few scholarships, as in the religious houses, scholarships are generally reserved for children of former students or for children of aristocrats who have fallen into financial decline, whose names and reputations give the house its good name, but this house is truly integrated, truly equal, the poor along with the rich. And so they go to the vacation camps. And many of our own children have also gone here, without themselves knowing whether they were the children of parents who paid for them or the children of parents who could not pay. Those of us who, from near or far, directly or indirectly, feel integrated with all fervor to the work of D. Francisco Giner, can only shrug our shoulders when we hear about the charity of the Catholic schools.
And now comes a point, perhaps the most delicate to deal with and, of course, the one that interests me most, as a socialist, as a representative of workers: it is that of work in religious communities. This is not the first time that my judgments on this question will be heard in this Chamber. In the monarchist Cortes, the left-wing elements already had to confront the then Minister of Public Instruction to ask why a teacher who had put a book of mine that deals with these things in the hands of her pupils consequently had a case made against her. I remember mainly, with gratitude that can never be extinguished, the speech of Mr. Prieto and the vibrant articles of Mr. Zulueta, Mr. Alomar and Mr. Leopoldo Alas. I said in that work, and I have to repeat now with all crudeness, that, without wanting it, of course, unconsciously, as unconsciously as you want, the religious congregations that are dedicated to the industry have a great responsibility in the promotion of prostitution in Spain. And this is very easily explained.
In the Superior Council for the Protection of Children, I presented a motion at that time to establish day care centers in factories and workshops that employ a certain number of women, and the other members of the Council told me: “If you can get only six factories, six employers, to voluntarily agree to this, we will formulate it as an official petition”.
In fact, there was only one employer, only one factory that voluntarily agreed to this request. Do you know why, Members of Parliament? Because light bulbs are not manufactured in convents. All the other employers told me something that forced me to agree with them: “How do you expect,” they said, “me, who has an establishment of linen, embroidery, ironing, or washing; me, who is subject to taxes, to inspections; me, who has to fight with the illicit competition of houses that, because they call themselves religious, exploit my same industry, without any of my burdens, to burden myself with one more burden?” And those employers were right, because in the religious congregations the workers are not paid, if anything they are only paid with a bad meal, also the statistics of tubercular women who leave those asylums is peculiar, they can be kept bent over the embroidery frame from sunrise to sunset, land the labor can be provided quite cheaply. Hence the free industry cannot pay their workers well and today Spain is the only country where a woman cannot honestly live from a sewing job, embroidery or ironing.
But there was more. There was that special sense that you gave to charity. You had the charity monopolized and you closed your doors precisely to those who needed them to be opened most. The woman coming out of maternity, with a child in her arms, if she did not have what the people so graphically call the shadow of a husband beside her, she had no door to knock on, because even in the dining room for nursing mothers she was refused entrance if she was a single mother. And we found that she was not protected because she was single and that the work that could be offered to her was not properly remunerated because there was an illicit competition in that same work in the convent across the street.
What did you want that poor woman to do? What so many have done.
In other countries women are often sold out of a desire for luxury or vice, and I, who have been in the hygiene services of the Security Directorate for months, with a special permit to interrogate, have been with the unfortunate women who had just left San Juan de Dios, I can assure you that 90% of them prostitute themselves out of misery, and often to avoid leaving their child in the Inclusa or to avoid committing infanticide.
The other day Mr. Pildain made a speech here which I did not have the good fortune to hear, but which I have had the pleasure of reading, and H.H. does not see in these words the least bit of rhetoric; I say pleasure, because we are so unaccustomed to elements of Mr. Pildain’s sector pronouncing themselves with such restraint and such elevation of tone, that it is a real fortune that someone like H.H. occurs in this way in debates.
But Mr. Pildain, who eloquently spoke here of what happened in France when the Combes law was discussed, and quoted the words of Waldeck-Rousseau, forgot a small detail, and that is that the discussion of the Combes Law in France, that maximum tolerance to which his lordship alluded, took place more than a century after the great revolution. It is a detail, apparently without importance; but it is certain that in France it has been possible and it is possible to be very tolerant today, because it began to be in another very different way. In France there is not a priest who dares to stand up in a Chamber, or anywhere, to say some things so distant from all human feeling as those we have sometimes heard here; because here, when the secularization of cemeteries, we have heard a priest protest against the bones of a Catholic resting next to the bones of a non-believer. I truly believed that for a believer, of whatever religion, what mattered after death was the soul and not the bones.
And here we have heard the same priest protest against the idea of equating children born in and out of wedlock before the law. In the face of this I wonder if those of us who remember the words, “You let the children come to me”, are not mistaken. Apparently, Christ said, “Let those of legitimate marriage come to me, and the rest let them starve.”
When Mr. Pildain goes or returns to Paris, he will surely go or will have gone to a place where all tourists go, which is the cemetery of “Père Lachaise”, famous for its monuments and for the illustrious dead who rest there; that cemetery, which dates from long before, very long before Mr. Pildain, before the discussion of the Combes Law and the separation of Church and State, is a cemetery in which one and the other rest together, where people of the most distinct and opposite beliefs rest together, as its name implies, it is built in the gardens of the famous confessor. As I cannot allow myself the liberty of giving advice to Mr. Pildain, I will limit myself to the following. Pildain, I will limit myself to address a request to him, which is the following: when he goes or returns to Paris, visit these two points of the French capital that, according to what so many and so many writers have told us, are the most charged with spirituality in the world: one, next to the quays of the Seine, where Our Lady, Mother of Cathedrals, is seen; another, next to the Arc de l’Etoile, from where, in the evening, one sees the Champs Elysées wrapped in the pearl gray of the Ile de France. From the first of these places, as you look towards Notre Dame, look opposite, look at the sign of that pier, it is the Voltaire pier, and remember S.S. that Voltaire, in his lifetime, was not admired to the point of frenzy, as we are assured he was, by his contemporaries, for his literary work, but for his civic action, because Voltaire was the one who defended freedom of conscience, the one who demanded the revision of the trials of the Chevalier de Le Barre and the Calas family, executed by Catholic fanaticism; and when you are at the Arc de l’Etoile, look at the name of one of the splendid avenues that lead to it: it is Hoche Avenue. For more than a hundred years, in France whose tolerance you commend, children have been learning in history textbooks, in the free and compulsory secular school, that Hoche was the peacemaker of the Vendée. This is the name by which he is known. And how did Hoche pacify the Vendée? Ah, Mr. Pildain, if we only remotely thought of pacifying those provinces of S.S. in this same way, those provinces which today are agitated — let us admit it — especially through propaganda that was not entirely in good faith; those provinces where women, at one time, were fond of hanging ostentatious crucifixes on their necks, not as a symbol of a faith that we could respect and that does not need ostentation to be respected, but instead we have seen crucifixes on breasts that did them very little favor!
Well, in the Vendée the men also wore, as a protest against the Republic that had just been established, a sacred heart of Jesus. Well now, when the women of Bilbao grew so angry about the removal of a monument from one of their squares that, in any case, should have never been exposed, out of respect for religion, to the scorn of any passer-by, but should, for greater reverence, be inside a temple, tell them how Hoche pacified the Vendée: he pacified the Vendée by ordering his troops to shoot, without trial of any kind, without any contemplation, anyone who wore on his chest a sacred heart of Jesus.
Referring to us, you speak of sectarianism, you speak of intolerance, yet we have never wanted to respond in the same way to your fanaticism. And yet here we are, not the generation that France had in the time of Combes, but the same generation that is bleeding from all the humiliations, all the humiliations; we are those who have not been able to have a military son because it was necessary in the Academies to be Catholic by force; we are those who have not been able to have our children playing with others because they were insulted by calling them Moors, as if being a Moor was an insult next to certain other things.
We do not want to respond to that, but do not provoke us just because you think you speak in the name of the majority, I can assure you, I can affirm to you, that if the country is dissatisfied it is because it believes that we are going too slowly. In other nations, the mob, in moments of national commotion, assaults Banks and palaces; here they burn convents, here they go where they know that those who have oppressed them for centuries and centuries are to be found. Do not force us to answer with the same weapons, because we do not want to do so. The only freedom is that of being able to be truthful with ourselves, and that freedom, the only one we could have, you have taken away from us. It is not that I believe that as long as there is a man who can have the economic means of other people in his hands, freedom of conscience will be complete; I know well that it will not; but, at least, that minimum of human respect of which you have not known while you have been able to impose your creed by force, do not want us to recover it by force as well. Because all those sentimentalities that you highlight in your Press cannot make a dent in those of us who have such bleeding memories as those I have mentioned before, nor can they move us to the sadness of those who, assuring that they are representatives on earth of the one who said: “Thou shalt not kill”, happily blesses bombing airplanes.
And now, to finish, I am going to say something that I already said in Bilbao, in that Bilbao where you want to ignite a fictitious war using some poor ignorant women; I said in Bilbao that in any country in the world the Church might have, the religious orders might have the right to speak and to be listened to with respect, but not in Spain. In Spain you have no authority to speak neither of sacrileges, nor of grievances, because when you could have spoken about it with more authority, that was the day when a king perjured the oath made to the Gospels and for that reason it should be doubly sacred for you, that he ordered the perpetration of a double assassination, no other thing was more horrible than that double execution on a day which, according to you, the Lord commands to sanctify, no voice came out of your bosom to protest, not in the name of Justice, not in the name of solidarity, not in the name of human sense, but simply in the name of Christian duties, scorned by that sacrilege.
Therefore, I, in the name of all those who have died in hospitals, oppressed until their last moment; in the name of those women who have left the maternity ward with a child in their arms and have had to leave that child in the prison or have had to throw themselves into prostitution because blind fanaticism closed all doors to them; on behalf of those women who today, still today, cannot earn an honest living because in some houses that call themselves religious, others who claim to have renounced the world, prevent their work from providing them with the indispensable sustenance; on behalf of all these oppressed by those who now speak so much of freedom, I ask, without any spirit of revenge, with all serenity, but with all energy, that article 26 of the Constitution be fulfilled inexorably or as soon as possible.
Translation by Hannah Abigail Foley.
Copyright 2021 by Hannah Abigail Foley. Used by permission. All rights reserved.