THE demonstration followed a special Mass celebrated in the cathedral in connection with the International Eucharistic Congress to he held in Rio de .laneiro in July. Large crowds had gathered in the cathedral and more were assembled outside.
When they formed a procession, police directed traffic into it. The consequent protest led
The crowd included many priests and nuns. Among slogans shouted were " Christ and only Christ," which is an answer to the Peronista slogan, " Peron and only Peron."
The crowd is reported to have been well behaved, despite the use of tear gas against them and charges by mounted police, but the flavour of the demonstration was definitely anti-Government.
this was the result of two new anti-Catholic Bills now being pushed by the Peronista Party through the Argentine Parliament. They aim at revoking all the rights and privileges guaranteed to the Church under the national constitution.
Similar disturbances occurred on Friday night in the city of Cordoba, again followed by the arrest of Catholic Action leaders. All the demonstrations were held in defiance of the law and the police—an indication of the stage which the struggle has now reached.
On Tuesday the police claimed to have unearthed what the Peron Press calls a " clerical radical plot " in Rosario de Santa Fe. Arrests followed.
On Sunday. a message from Cardinal Copello. Archbishop of Buenos Aires. announcing the arrests, was read in all churches in the capital. It said that the Cardinal had gone personally to the political department but although he had waited for an hour. he had not been allowed to speak to any of the prisoners.
The message urged the faithful to try to visit the arrested persons and show them that they were supported.
The Bill to sever ties with the Church calls for the election of a National Assembly to re-write the constitution and to eliminate all the recognitions that have been accorded to the Church.
In a recent statement ihe Argentine Bishops declared that they were not opposed to a division of powers between Church and State, but denounced what they declared was an attempt to establish the " moral " separation of the two.
Whilst the first Bill was being introduced into the Lower House, a second, aimed at abolishing the teaching of the Catholic religion in State schools, was being quickly pushed through the Senate.
These two Bills between them are, it is believed, meant to be a showdown in the Church-State conflict. To each side they are of decisive importance.
The Bishops have declared that "the Church not only has not pretended to enter the purely temporal and strictly political domain of party conflict, but also has taken all means and precautions to avoid even an appearance of it in activities of Catholic Action."
During the past six months there have been numerous arrests of priests made on political grounds (several more have been arrested in the past week), and laws have been passed legalising divorce and prostitution.
For the first time in Argentina's history the word " God,' was dropped from the oath of office in a swearing-in ceremony for recently elected Peronist Senators and Deputies.
In a May day speech President Peron said: " We are about to assault the last stronghold."
It is clear that for both sides the two new Bills ire of the utmost importance, going much deeper than others which have been aimed at the Catholic sentiments of the people during the course of the past six months.