A Catholic archbishop in Spain is causing controversy by implying that women are primarily to blame for domestic violence.
Archbishop Braulio Rodriguez Plaza of Toledo told his congregation on Dec. 27 that domestic violence mainly occurs when a woman asks her husband for divorce, reports The Local.
"Often, the macho reaction comes about because [the woman] asked for a separation," Rodriguez Plaza said in his sermon, according to The Local.
He added that the majority of domestic abuse deaths occur when a man "does not accept" his partner or "rejects them for not accepting their demands."
A copy of Rodriguez Plaza's homily has been posted to the diocese's official website.
"The serious problem lies in that these couples have not had a true marriage," he said, according to Periodico CLM.
ABC Noticias reports that the archbishop also criticized politicians who "have fought so hard to implement the so-called 'quickie divorce.'"
Rodriguez Plaza's sermon has been summarized in the diocese's free weekly "Padre nuestro" bulletin, available at churches across the area.
Critics were quick to respond on Twitter.
"The Archbishop of Toledo links domestic violence to the woman asking for divorce," wrote Raúl Fernández Jódar, an academic and HuffPost Spain blogger. "Shouldn’t it be the other way around, first violence and then divorce?"
"Another archbishop that justifies the unjustifiable," wrote Paco Alonso, a television journalist.
Rodriguez Plaza has not commented on the criticism. The Huffington Post has reached out to the archbishop's office, and will update this story if more information becomes available.
Father Thomas Rosica, an English-language spokesman for the Vatican, declined to comment on Rodriguez Plaza's remarks when reached by HuffPost.
Rodriguez Plaza's comments came as Spanish police revealed that a 43-year-old woman in Madrid had become the country's first domestic violence victim of 2016. She was allegedly strangled in her home by her 41-year-old partner, who later turned himself in, reports Publico.
A total of 56 women were killed in cases of domestic violence in Spain last year, according to El Pais.
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