Home | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising | El Centinela
Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Thursday, May 5, 2016
CYO Football 2015 2015 Priest Reassignments, Archdiocese of Portland Cardinal Francis George dies Mothering with faith Sisters of the Holy Names, 2015 Live Nativity at St. John the Baptist 2014 Fall CYO results Catholic Charities Donor Lunch 2014 Year of Consecrated Life opening Mass Holy Spirit Sisters Jubilee 2014 Seaside youth conference Mount Angel 125th Northwest Hub Furlow at papal Mass 2014 Rosary Bowl NW Brother André 2014 Fall 40 Days for Life 2014 Inauguration of Fr. Mark Poorman Coffee shop at abbey First day of school, 2014 Regis High School 50th anniversary 2014 Crooked Finger Pilgrimage Mass with migrant farm workers Maronite Ordination Consecration to "Immaculate Heart of Our Lady of Fatima" CYO track Southern Oregon Evangelization 2014 Priest Ordination Christ the King youth 2014 priest reassignments Our Lady of Lavang Confirmation, 2014 Memorial Day 2014 2014 Transitional deacon ordination Padre Foster Granados visits Albany Bishop Smith ordination Canonization of Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII Bishop Peter Smith 2014 Easter Vigil 2014 Walk of Cross 2014 Chrism Mass CYO basketball 2014 St. Patrick of the Forest 150th Catholic Charities Celebration of Hope, 2014 Boys2Men Archbishop visits Oregon State Penitentiary 40 Day Vigil for Life, 2014 Pope Francis creates new cardinals St. Henry shelter 2014 CYO swimming Funeral of Fr. George Wolf Travel on a budget Lunar New Year, 2014 Tech in Catholic schools 2014 Right to Life Rally Archbishop visits Santiam Prison First Mass in Oregon Milwaukie Posada St. Francis, Sherwood, Toy Drive Central Catholic football Typhoon Haiyan Deacon Ordination/ Kresbach, Schmitt A Catholic fisherman St. Cecilia Centennial Southern Oregon Welcome Mass Shepherd of the Valley, Central Point, dedication Grotto Anniversary 2013 Champions of Faith Dinner Gardenripe farms Coleman hop farm Corvallis Year of Faith Archbishop Howard at St. Rose Hitchhiking priests Franciscan Spiritual Center Sacred Heart, Medford Migrant Mass Tanzanians' jubilee World Youth Day 2013 2013 Blessing of the Animals 2013 Freedom Mass Albany school closure Fabric art Megan graduates from Catholic school St. Vincent de Paul Hillsboro 2013 Deacon ordination Sister Theresa Lamkin St. Helen Mission, Brownsville Marist Brainiacs St. Mary, Eugene St. Francis eighth graders Ascension confirmation 2013 Pastoral Ministry Conference St. Joseph Salem — Year of Faith Archbishop Sample's Installation Mass 2013 Archbishop Sample Chrism Mass 2013 2013 Young Catholics Pope Francis inauguration Celebration of Hope Vlazny Farewell Mass Archbishop Vlazny Farewell St. Paul Church in St. Paul Valley Catholic Green Building Rite of Election 2013 Water summit 2013 Lunar New Year Alveda King in Eugene New Monsignors, 2013 2013 Right to Life Rally MLK Mass, 2013 St. Henry, Gresham, Centennial Jesuit High drama School uniforms Friar in the mall Holy Trinity food ministry January Book Covers St. Andre Bessette food Year of Faith Mass Nestucca Sanctuary Hillsboro Choirs Father Betschart installation Salem Religious Freedom Rally Year of Faith Vespers, Awards Roy's Catholic School Adelante Mujeres 10th anniversary New Blanchet House Missionaries of Holy Spirit Priest, religious photos Providence Nursing Schools Pioneros Fortnight for Freedom Mark Bentz Deacon Ordination OLL School Walk Through Gaga over science St. Philip Neri Centennial Ordination of Bishop Cary SVDP, Grants Pass Holy Cross School centennial Confirmation - Mount Angel Holy Land Pilgrimage Blanchet Watershed Chrism Mass, 2012 Bishop-designate Cary Pope in Cuba, 2012 SSMO 125th Jubilee Mass Pope Benedict in Mexico 2012 Catholic Charities Celebration 2012 Madeleine Mardi Gras Centennial Rally for Life, 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Mass 2012 Day Laborers-Guadalupe Guadalupe 2011 Christ the King, Milwaukie, 50th Sesame Doughnuts Central Catholic Volleyball St. Peter Centennial Deacon Ordination, October 2011 St. Agatha Centennial Rosary Bowl 2011 St. Wenceslaus, Scappoose, Centennial Filipino celebration Polish Festival 2011 Holy War Football 2011 World Youth Day 2011 Sun Gold Farm Our Lady of Victory's New Church Freedom Mass 2011 St. Mary Church Steeple Removal Priest reassignments, 2011 Old Catholic Buildings Paige Rice, St. Mary's runner Graduation 2011 Easter vigils 2011 Pastoral Ministry Conference Basketball Holy War 2011 Search for Peace 2011

Pacifica Senior Living - Calaroga Terrace

Home : News : Pope Francis/Vatican
Francis effect? Observers see shift in stance of Mexico's bishops
Catholic News Service

MEXICO CITY — Mexican prelates normally prize cordial and close relations with politicians and refrain from criticizing public policy.

But Mexico's bishops posed uncomfortable questions for President Enrique Pena Nieto in a May 2 meeting, challenging him on the government's agenda of structural reforms and sharing the sense of dissatisfaction they hear from many ordinary Mexicans.

"In no way are we trying to not recognize the great efforts and advances that have been taken under your management," Cardinal Francisco Robles  Ortega told the president at the bishops' bi-annual meeting in Cuautitlan Izcalli, near Mexico City.

"We want to pass on what we hear from the people of different social strata, their angst and anguish and -- allow me to say -- their annoyances. We do so with honesty and a true desire to serve."

Public questioning of the president is rare given the history of unhappy church-state relations in Mexico. The bishops' relationship with Pena Nieto had been considered close prior to his taking power Dec. 1, 2012.

Church observers say the status quo is shifting, however: The bishops see their plans of playing a more prominent role in public policy diminished, and Pope Francis, who clashed with presidents while archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, prefers prelates to side with the people instead of the powerful.

Mexico's bishops may be moving uneasily toward more critical positions with the federal government and the business class, starting with an April 30 letter, asking the president if his agenda of structural reforms in areas such as education, finances, telecommunications and the oil industry would meet expectations.

"The Mexican church ... has been passive, very comfortable in its relationship with power, but with the presence of Pope Francis, (he) has questioned and asked for more social sensibility from his bishops," said Bernardo Barranco, a columnist and veteran observer of the Mexican church, who saw signs of the pope's vision in the statements.

"This document is proof of the new times that Pope Francis has brought about."

Barranco also attributed the statements to timing: Mexico's bishops travel to the Vatican in May for meetings with Pope Francis.

"Many of them probably feel fearful that they're confronting President Enrique Pena Nieto, that they're putting him in an uncomfortable spot," Barranco said. "But they have the demands of Pope Francis that they move, that they do something for society, for the poor, for the worries of the faithful."

The bishops' comments came at an inopportune time for the president, whose popularity has plunged since taking office in December 2012.

Polls show public skepticism, especially as the economy slumped in 2013 and new taxes were implemented Jan. 1. An April survey by the Reforma newspaper put the president's approval rating at 48 percent, unusually low for Mexican standards. An equal number disapproved, while other polls showed even worse numbers.

International investors, meanwhile, have lauded Pena Nieto for pushing through tough structural reforms in areas such as energy, competition and education -- issues his party previously opposed during a dozen years of opposition. Pena Nieto says the reforms will allow Mexico's economy to grow by 5 percent annually, double the rate of recent decades.

"We have become only a government that is dedicated to mitigating poverty," Pena Nieto said in a statement after the meeting. "Poverty is contained when there is economic development that permits people to be incorporated into productive activities."

Puebla Auxiliary Bishop Eugenio Lira Rugarcia, conference secretary-general, told reporters after the meeting that the president promised responses within five days.

"Reforms in favor of everyone and not only one group are required," said Bishop Lira, who also broached the topic of security -- a topic Pena Nieto says is improving in Mexico and which churchmen often avoided in past years.

"The topic of security can't wait," the bishop said. "We realize from Mass intentions that people ask for relatives who have been affected or are kidnapped."

Given that the bishops spoke publicly on issues such as insecurity and questioned the president's political agenda before a presidential meeting made some observers wonder if the bishops were sending signals of discontent over the failure to incorporate their own policy preferences in the structural reforms.

"They're being left on the outside," said Ilan Semo, political historian at the Jesuit-run Iberoamerican University.

Pena Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party previously ruled Mexico for 71 straight years, promoting a secular ethos and promoting anti-clerical laws such as prohibitions on the church owning property and priests talking politics. The laws gradually eased and relations appeared easy between Pena Nieto and the church hierarchy -- to the point he was invited to the Vatican in December 2009, and the Archdiocese of Mexico City annulled the marriage of his then girlfriend, now-first lady Angelica Rivera.

The church's policy agenda also appeared to be advancing, with Congress in 2012 approving an amendment to Article 24 of the Mexican Constitution to allow increased religious liberty.

But Semo said the path is impeded for the church introducing religious education into public schools and religious associations owning radio and television outlets. And on matters of health and culture, the church "is no longer consulted" as it was at times during the 12 years of Catholic-friendly National Action Party rule.

"It's a warning," Semo said of the bishops' statement. "It's a warning that we could see a further distancing. A further distance is, 'We no longer support you.'"

Article Comment Submissions
Submit your comments, please. 
Comments are reviewed before being posted to the site. Comments must use respectful language and address the story. Comments are not posted immediately to the site. The site editor may edit content for appropriateness. There may be a delay of 24-48 hours. Comments may also be considered to appear as letters in our print edition, unless the writer specifices no.
Note: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number is for our use only, and will not be attached to your comment.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

Mary Jo Tully ~ The Path to Resurrection

News | Viewpoints | Faith & Spirituality | Parish and School Life | Entertainment | Obituaries | Find Churches and Schools | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising
E-Newsletter | RSS Feeds

© 2016 Catholic Sentinel, a service of Oregon Catholic Press

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved