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The Duke’s stance is a strong nod to the current Pope, who has made the struggle against the secularization and “de-Christianization” of Europe amongst the central tenants of his papacy. Unlike the Pope, though, the Luxembourg monarch must face the realities of democracy.
Since the Duke’s annuncement, throne-watchers in Luxembourg have wondered why their head of state would take such a rigid stand on principle. Some speculate that the religious hardline is driven by the Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, Henri’s wife and the mother of his five children. The Cuban-born daughter of Spanish aristocrats, the Grand Duchess has made her staunchly traditional Catholicism evident, and is believed to be very influential in her husband’s public decisions.
Achieving such broad consent may not be helped by a hard line on bioethics in a country where fewer than 10 percent still attend church regularly.