Cardinal Varela, a Conservative, Elected Head of Spain’s Episcopal Conference

(EuroNews) He is known for his staunch opposition to social reforms pioneered by Spanish leader Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. And now, just days before the country goes to the polls, Madrid’s Cardinal Archbishop has been elected head of the Roman Catholic Church in Spain. It is an ecclesiastical show of support for the hardline stance of Antonio Maria Rouco Varela.

But, despite the tension between the Catholic hierarchy and the ruling Socialists, he spoke of loyal collaboration with the political community, in pursuit of the common good.

Reacting to the election, the number two in Spain’s Socialist Party Jose Blanco expressed the hope that the Bishops would seek dialogue and not confrontation.