Ciudad de Mexico—In a rare move the Roman Catholic Church in Mexico has inserted itself into Mexican politics by waging an attack on proposed reforms by Mexican El Presidente Enrique Pena Nieto and his party. The president’s flagship project is a series of reforms he wants to institute in Mexico and Mexico’s primary opposition even supports the reforms. However, the recent criticism of the Church has come as a surprise to many leaders in Mexico as the Church has traditionally had a cordial relationship with the past few Mexican administrations.
This all began this past April when the Episcopal Conference issued a sharp message to Pena Nieto and his party and supporters of the reforms. One by one the Bishops questioned the proposed reforms in their message. The reforms target education, taxation, politics, and the telecommunications and energy industries in Mexico. The bishops said in their written message, “We ask ourselves, how will they (these proposed reforms) be beneficial especially for those who have always been unfortunate?”. The message went further stating, “Or, are they (these reforms) going to be a new opportunity for those who are used to pillaging the resources of this country?” Following the message Church officials in Mexico issued some other well directed comments at el presidente and his proposed reforms in yet further attacks on the proposed reforms.
The most recent comment from the Church came in the official weekly magazine of the Archdiocese of Mexico. In that editorial this week the Church accused the “particracy” of shielding the “power hungry class” in Mexico and of having corrupted the electoral reforms by avoiding transperency and preventing citizen participation in government and elections.
Mexican bishops have warned about the drug violence in Mexico many times and they’ve done so again. They are calling the violence “narcoterrrorism.” During his meeting with Pope Francis on June 7 Mexican el presidente Enrique Pena Nieto and the Pope exchanged mostly positive words and the Pope expressed his desire to travel to Mexico in the coming future. The Pope also expressed interest in visiting the nation’s worst hot spot, the US-Mexican border.
Pena Nieto for his part has tried to avoid any confrontation with the Church. Following the first few comments by the bishops the el presidente met with them to defend his plan which he told them would be the biggest reform agenda in Mexico in decades. The el presidente told the bishops at that meeting, “Poverty is contained when there is growth that allows people to join the active workforce.” It must be noted that the party with the largest Catholic base, the PAN (National Action Party), did not endorse the bishops statements.
In the past couple of years 15 Catholic priests have been killed in Mexico in drug related terrorism. This has resulted in the Church’s decision to change its tone and rhetoric in Mexico and speak out boldly. Mexican bishops have called for a radical change in mentality among the clergy and faithful as well as government. They have said, “No reform will help us overcome the intolerable disparities and social injustices that makes us pay more attention to the private lives of performers than the suffering of migrants hurled from trains becaue they do not have the money to pay the extortionists, or read about kidnappings, the mistreatment of individuals, unpunished criminal activity, kickback payments, violence and decapitated bodies in SECRET MASS GRAVES as if they were mere statistics or news items.” The bishops were talking about El Bestia, the freight trains many migrants ride at their own risk from Central America through Mexico to the border with the US. See our story on this published this past week here at SDNP.
With this new stance the Catholic Church in Mexico has aligned itself with the message of Pope Francis and his LOUD calls to fight against poverty and injustice across the world. The bishops newest message seems to mark the end of a close relationship with the Mexican government that began with el Presidente Carlos Salinas de Gortari in 1881. He had the Mexican constitution reformed giving the church recognition it had been denied until then in Mexico. Today 83% of Mexicans identified themselves as Catholics. The church continues to be a powerful force inside Mexico and Latin America.
In their message the bishops went on to say, “We can’t allow ourselves to get used to having more than 50 million Mexicans living in poverty, many of them in miserable conditions that condemn them to a death without the aid of medical attention.”
And so it begins. The Catholic Church is no longer to be silent in Mexico! IT’S ABOUT TIME PADRES! SPEAK OUT AND BE THE VOICE OF THE POWER AND MARGINALIZED ALL OVER THE WORLD!!