Church leaders in favour of replacing national holidays

While the country is gripped by the ongoing political soap-opera, church leaders have managed a bit part, saying they too are in favour of replacing national holidays gobbled up by austerity.

But contrary to the left-wing alliance’s plan – to replace the holidays in two goes, first civil in 2016, followed by religious in 2017 – the Catholic Church would like to see them all brought back at once.

The Patriarch of Lisbon, D. Manuel Clemente, declared at the recent Episcopal conference in Fátima that he hoped the subject would be treated with “due rigor”.

Replacing civil holidays first was “a symptom of the excessive secularisation of society, which is to be avoided”, he stressed.

The State may be secular, but society has values and traditions which should include religious holidays, he added.

It was yet another colourful cameo in the country’s ongoing pantomime which appears to show no end.

Instead of making a decision quickly, President Cavaco Silva is due to travel to Madeira next week as news stories spiral seemingly out of control suggesting no-one in charge seems to know what to do next.

With outgoing deputy PM Paulo Portas calling the left wing alliance “looney tunes” and former finance minister Maria Luís Albuquerque pouring scorn on the left’s economic plans, the weekend promises to bring yet more confusion and fan the flames of fear to the utmost.

D. Manuel Clemente’s exhortations against “excessive socio-political tensions” may well be headed in the same direction as those stolen national holidays.

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