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Mexico’s bishops hope politicians would be enlightened by Our Lady

March 2, 2021 CNA Daily News 0

Mexico City, Mexico, Mar 2, 2021 / 02:33 pm (CNA).- In a statement Tuesday responding to media inquiries about US president Joe Biden’s stated devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe, the bishops of Mexico expressed hope that public office holders would be enlightened by her.

“As the Mexican Bishops’ Conference we are proud that the Virgin of Guadalupe is so loved and appreciated everywhere, beyond the bounds of languages, cultures, and traditions. We wish that all those who hold public office allow themselves to be enlightened by Our Mother in their way of living and serving so that they know how to promote the highest values that give life to peoples, such as health and peace, justice, truth, solidarity, care for the earth, defense of the poor, and promotion of the marginalized,” the bishops said in a March 2 press note.

They said their statement was “in response to inquiries from the media about what was expressed by the President of the United States Joe Biden about his devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe.”

Biden had cited Our Lady of Guadalupe and displayed his rosary in a conversation with Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador March 1.

Biden, who is Catholic, claimed a devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe from his previous travels to Mexico as vice president.

“During my visits, I got to know Mexico a little bit and its people, and paid my respects to the Virgin of Guadalupe. As a matter of fact, I still have my rosary beads that my son was wearing when he passed,” Biden said, according to a White House transcript of the event.

Our Lady of Guadalupe is patroness, not only of the Americas, but of unborn children.

Biden is the second Catholic U.S. president, and the U.S. bishops’ conference has noted the unique circumstance of having a Catholic president who is not inconsistent with Church teaching on topics such as immigration and fighting poverty, yet contradicts Church teaching on abortion, marriage, religious freedom, and gender ideology.

Biden has supported taxpayer-funded abortion and has pledged to sign the Equality Act, legislation the USCCB has warned would codify gender ideology in law and would “punish” objecting religious groups.

In a Jan. 20 statement for Biden’s inauguration, Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles offered prayers for the new president and emphasized his own role as bishop in forming consciences, rather than in being a partisan.

Biden, warned the USCCB president, “has pledged to pursue certain policies that would advance moral evils and threaten human life and dignity, most seriously in the areas of abortion, contraception, marriage, and gender. Of deep concern is the liberty of the Church and the freedom of believers to live according to their consciences.”

Abortion, said Gomez, “remains the ‘preeminent priority’” of the conference, as it “is a direct attack on life that also wounds the woman and undermines the family.”

Although Biden’s staff have referred to him as a “devout Catholic,” the USCCB’s pro-life chair has said they should stop using that term due to his support for abortion.

“The president should stop defining himself as a devout Catholic, and acknowledge that his view on abortion is contrary to Catholic moral teaching,” said Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, in an interview with Catholic World Report published on Feb. 13.

Archbishop Naumann noted that “we bishops have the responsibility to correct him” for using the term. He added that Biden “is usurping the role of the bishops and confusing people” by calling himself a “devout Catholic” while opposing the Church’s teaching on life.


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Man dies on his knees in front of altar in Mexico City church

February 25, 2021 CNA Daily News 0

Mexico City, Mexico, Feb 25, 2021 / 05:01 pm (CNA).- A church in Mexico City was the scene on Sunday of the death of Juan, a man in his sixties who got down on his knees to pray at the entrance of the church, made his way up the main aisle still on his knees, passed out, and died within minutes in front of the altar.

The same afternoon the parish priest celebrated Juan’s funeral Mass accompanied by several parishioners.

The official report states that Juan entered Jesus the Priest parish church, around noon on Feb. 21, and died shortly thereafter on his knees in front of the altar, about 45 minutes before the start of the afternoon Mass.

The sacristan, who witnessed the man’s collapse, quickly informed the pastor, Fr. Sajid Lozano, who called an ambulance, but “there were several signs indicating there was no more we could do because he had already died,” the priest said.

Speaking to ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish language news partner, Lozano said that “Juan came on his own two feet to his funeral Mass with his body present there, which is the death of the just, a death without suffering.”

“Juan had the strength and the courage to come to the house of God to take his last breath,” he added.

According to the magazine Desde la Fe, a publication of the Archdiocese of Mexico City, very few people knew Juan, but moved by the way he died, many participated in the funeral Mass.

Police and paramedics “told us that the death had occurred due to a sudden heart attack and that there were no signs of violence,” the priest told the archdiocesan magazine. The authorities also gave the priest permission to go ahead with the Mass and suggested that he find one of Juan’s relatives.

Mexican law states that when a person dies outside of a hospital, the body cannot be removed until the coroner and local prosecutor come to examine the body to verify there was no foul play.

Consequently, Juan’s body had to be left right where he died. As the Sunday Mass was scheduled to begin shortly at 1 p.m., Lozano made the impromptu decision to make it the funeral Mass for the deceased.

A young man who was passing by near the church was able to identify the body and then accompanied the authorities to the family’s residence. The son of the deceased was at home, and shocked by the news, went to the church to participate in the funeral Mass.

As a sign of respect, Juan’s body was covered with a white sheet brought by one of the faithful and a candle was placed at his feet.  

Lozano told ACI Prensa that “death is still a painful and unexpected event”, and it is “only through faith that we have the hope that it is not the end of everything, but the beginning of eternal life.”

The pastor told Desde la Fe that the faithful “prayed for a person they did not know, but that he was a member of the community.”

The dramatic turn of events “made a big impact on the people,” surprised by what had happened, and “together we reflected that death is only the end of our pilgrimage in this world, but the beginning of eternal life,” he concluded.



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Petition to preserve religious liberty in Chile launched

February 23, 2021 CNA Daily News 0

CNA Staff, Feb 23, 2021 / 08:01 pm (CNA).- Alliance Defending Freedom International has launched a petition addressed to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to rule in favor of religious freedom in Chile.

The ruling will have ramifications for all member states of the Organization of American States.

The petition campaign addresses the case of Sandra Pavez, a lesbian and former nun. The Diocese of San Bernardo did not renew her certificate of suitability to continue teaching religion classes in 2007 because Pavez chose to cohabit with her female partner and go public with the relationship.

Bishop Juan Ignacio González Errazuriz of San Bernardo had informed Pavez that if she continued in that relationship “he would be obliged to revoke her certificate of suitability, for not giving ‘the witness of a Christian life’, which the Catholic Church expects from its teachers,” the campaign explains.

Religion classes in Chile are governed by Decree 924 of 1983, issued by the country’s Ministry of Education, which requires all schools to offer optional religion classes in accordance with the student’s religion. The decree also states that the teacher must have a certificate of suitability issued by “the corresponding religious authority,” in this case the Bishop of San Bernardo. The decree also empowers that authority to revoke the certificate of suitability, which Bishop González did.

Consequently, Pavez “could not continue teaching that specific class.”

The revocation of the certificate of suitability to teach Catholic religion classes entailed “no negative judgement about the professional competence of Pavez, nor was her right to continue teaching other subjects questioned, even in the same establishment.”

“This is in fact what happened, without Pavez losing even for a moment the source of her livelihood, nor was she removed from the school community,” the campaign notes.

Pavez sued the Catholic Church for discrimination and filed for an injunction with the San Miguel Court of Appeals. The court denied the injunction, ruling that the revocation was neither illegal nor arbitrary, and Chile’s Supreme Court confirmed the appeal court’s decision.

In 2008, the teacher took her case to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights based in Washington, D.C, “which agreed with her, stating that she has the right to teach Catholic religion classes even against the objection of her church and that the faith communities cannot require teachers’ conduct to be faithful to their beliefs, not even in private schools.”

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights, located in Costa Rica, now has the case, with a decision forthcoming some time in 2021.

Both the Inter-American Commission and the Inter-American Court are organs of the OAS to protect human rights in the hemisphere.

Those signing the petition hope that the court will consider “all the interests and rights involved, since we know that what it decides in this case may create ramifications that will extend to the exercise and enjoyment of our rights in the states we live in,” the campaign states.

ADF International warns the decision will determine whether religious schools “will be able to ensure that their religious educators fulfill their obligation of fidelity … that they voluntarily profess.”

In addition, the decision will also determine “whether states will respect the right of parents to have their children receive a religious education that is consistent with their convictions.”

“International human rights law recognizes as a central element in the teaching of religion – which is a manifestation of freedom of religion – the freedom of each religious community to choose who will teach it on their behalf.”

Likewise, “human rights treaties also recognize for us, parents, the freedom and right to guarantee that our children receive a moral and religious education that is in accordance with our convictions,” the campaign adds.

“By virtue of our freedom of religion, we have an expressly recognized and protected right to spread our faith, starting with ensuring that it will be transmitted to our children.”

Signers of the petition consider the “consistency of life” of those who teach religion to be “absolutely central.”