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…over the line, sweet Jesus…

6 January 2010


Msgr. Hugo Valdemar, the quasi-official spokesman for Cardinal Rivera, is skirting awfully close to imposing the Church into political affairs.  Speaking specifically of the PRD, Msgr. Valdemar said (my translation):

They have no respect for life and have legislated the murder of innocent children in the womb; they are the people who do not respect our faith, as they equate marriage with the union of same-sex couples.

Those who were victims of repression in undemocratic times have now become executioners… and when they unmask some criticism, they ask [the Secretaría de gobernacíon, which has responsibility for regulating religious affairs] to repress us.”

Added the irrepressible Monsignor: “Curious, seeing that they don’t recognize the government.”

Although Msgr. Valdemar — and Cardinal Rivera — as citizens can say what they want, denominations have no rights to political participation (although they do it all the time).  Monsignor Valdemar’s closing riposte was a reference to the start of the latest feud (going back a few hundred years) between the Mexican government and the Catholic Church, over an incident back in November 2007. AMLO — as “legitimate president” — was addressing a large crowd in the Zocalo, going about his usual denunciations of the Calderón “de facto presidency.”  Someone in the Cathedral started ringing the bells, effectively drowning him out.    At that time, I wrote:

Normally, if there is a major event on the Zocalo, the Cathedral does not ring its bells and accommodates their landlord, the Mexican government*.  Even during [Stanly Tunick’s] nude photo session, the Church  cooperated.  But, not with AMLO.  The Church’s claim is that they always ring the Angelus bells at noon on Sunday. Not for 12 straight minutes they don’t.

… people from the Zocalo crowd — went into the Cathedral, got into a fight with the ushers at Mass and knocked over a few benches — and, according to who you believe, maybe peed on the floor.  Your usual anti-clerical action.

Complicating things, it isn’t clear the “action” had anything to do with AMLO.  Photos show that the protesters were carrying anti-Cardinal Rivera placards accusing his Eminence of covering up clerical pedophilia scandals.  The Cardinal himself was in Rome.

It’s no secret that the Church favors the clerical PAN leadership, and Ironically, pissing off AMLO (if that was the intention of the chimeral chimers) may have lost the Church their last sympathetic leader within the PRD.  A privately religious man by all accounts, AMLO — although always careful to uphold the Juarezista anti-clerical political traditions — during his tenure as head of the Federal District, had the clout to hold off reforms like the abortion and same-sex marriage acts from coming up in the District Assembly.   He not only wanted to avoid confrontations with the Church… but sought church cooperation (and the Cardinal’s) on projects of common interest like historic preservation and restoration projects within the Historic District, as well as anti-poverty and housing programs**.

Even doubly ironic, is that the Church’s problems with the PRD stem from the PRD’s anti-AMLO wing… the “Chucos”, so-called because so many of their leaders have the same nickname, “Chuy”  — which means, of course, that their problem is with Jesus!

Jesús Ortega to be exact…  the PRD Party President.  Hugo Valdemar was responding Ortega’s statement earlier last week that if they Church had no business telling people who aren’t communicants what they should or shouldn’t do or think… and, come to think of it, in Mexico, the Church shouldn’t be telling people what political party to vote for — or not vote for — in the first place.

    *  Since the 1850s, the Mexican State has owned the Church properties, and the Federal District IS the Cathedral’s owner, the Catholic Church has, however, exclusive rights to use the property for religious purposes.
    **Sorry, no on-line link. My source is Grayson, George W. y Óscar Aguilar Ascencio, Mesías Mexicano: Biografía criítical de Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Mexico: Grijalbo Actualidad, 2006. p. 218 et. passum.

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