Roman Catholics: Troubled Citadel

For the first time since the end of the Civil War in 1939, Spain's Roman Catholic hierarchy has issued a joint pastoral letter to the faithful. The 38-page letter, redefining the relations between church and state in the light of the Second Vatican Council, spoke out for political and economic freedom within Spain, but also urged Catholics to avoid politicking in the name of the church and asked for "moderation" in seeking reforms. It was unmistakably designed to calm down the turmoil that has led Vatican officials to speak openly about Spanish Catholicism being in a state of crisis.

Once...