Bolivian Council of Laity Rejects Attacks on Church and Demands Government Restoration of Order | Catholic National Register


The president of the Juridical Council of the Laity of the Archdiocese of Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia, Abdel Guzmán López, on Monday condemned the recent attacks on religious buildings in the country and called on the authorities to restore order.

“The Juridical Council of the Laity of Santa Cruz categorically rejects acts of intolerance which have led to violence against our Holy Catholic Church,” said the November 1 press release.

The vandalism occurred after the Church was falsely accused of intervening to prevent an 11-year-old pregnant rape victim from obtaining a legal abortion.

On October 31, a group of feminist activists from the Mujeres Creando collective entered the Basilica of San Francisco in La Paz and committed “the very serious act of interrupting the Eucharistic celebration” which was made worse by “damaging the church infrastructure “. Guzman said.

On the same day, a similar act occurred in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, where four activists from the same organization ransacked the cathedral, splashing the facade with red paint while the local archbishop offered mass.

The women also displayed a yellow banner stating “Hypocritical and vile church, you are forcing a girl to give birth.”

On October 27, the Bolivian People’s Ombudsman, Nadia Cruz, along with officials from her office led a march to the offices of the Bolivian Bishops’ Conference in La Paz where some of the participants vandalized the building, tagged the walls with graffiti and put up signs with pro-abortion messages on them.

The attacks came days after some Bolivian government institutions and the Bolivian and international press accused the Church in Bolivia of intervening in the decision of an 11-year-old girl, pregnant with rape, to refuse to abort. . , continue the pregnancy and be transferred to a shelter.

Abortion is illegal in Bolivia, except in cases of kidnapping of the bride not followed by marriage, rape, incest and when the life of the mother is considered to be in danger.

Several organizations, including the Office of the People’s Ombudsman, which is constitutionally charged with defending human rights, attempted to abort the minor; however, the daughter and her mother objected.

The local church has categorically denied intervening or pressuring the girl to keep the baby. The girl’s grandfather has been charged with the crime and is currently in custody.

Víctor Hugo Valda, delegate of the bishops for health of the Archdiocese of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, told ACI Prensa, the sister news agency of the Spanish-language AIIC, that the local Church “from the beginning showed closeness and concrete support “to the young girl and her mother and lamented that the Church had been criticized” for offering material aid to help the girl with a home, education, medicine and psychological treatment “.

In his statement, Guzmán said that the laity are “witnesses to the strong and courageous attitude of our Church of Santa Cruz, in favor of life from conception to natural death”.

“It is undoubtedly an attitude based on Christian principles and values, an inalienable task which constantly moves our conscience and our faith, in the face of a world hungry for light and hope. Our Church will always be proactive and determined in the defense of life, through a responsible and prudent position, with an attitude of mercy and solidarity, in the face of intransigence and lack of respect ”, he underlined.

Regarding the government’s passivity in the face of attacks on the Church, Guzmán demanded that the authorities “guarantee the fundamental rights established in the political constitution of the state: life, liberty and freedom of expression, as they are inherent in to human dignity and human nature. , and they are the basis of all peaceful and fraternal coexistence, which guarantees the well-being of all.

“This is why we ask the authorities, enjoined by law, to restore order, to do justice and to rule as quickly as possible in the face of these deplorable events,” he added.

The Council of the Laity also launched “a passionate appeal to all Bolivians to demand the right that we all have to live in peace, with respect for our differences, with respect for faith, ways of thinking, with tolerance and respect, with a high degree of communication and dialogue. . “

“We are men and women of faith, who work and fight courageously from day to day, for a better future for our families, we are called to be salt and light in the world, with the responsible task of obtaining the foundations of a more human life. , a just and united society ”, concludes the declaration of the Council of the Laity.

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