Mexican Politicians Invited to a Mass

MEXICO CITY, JUNE 15, 2001 ( In a move unthinkable only a few years ago, Mexico´s lawmakers have been invited to a Mass in the Basilica of Guadalupe.

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The Mass on June 21 will be to commemorate the feast of St. Thomas More, the recently named patron of politicians.

The Catholic Politicians´ Plural Group made the invitation. Tarcisio Navarrete Montes de Oca, one of the organizers, said the event is in gratitude to God and the Virgin of Guadalupe for the help they have given to politicians to understand one another and find «avenues for dialogue» in Congress.

Leaders of all political persuasions have been invited to the Mass, which will be presided over by Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, archbishop primate of Mexico.

Navarrete Montes de Oca, secretary of the Foreign Relations Commission of the Chamber of Deputies, said the Mass is not of an official nature, and lawmakers would attend «voluntarily and in a personal capacity.»

During the more than 70 years of rule by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the participation of politicians in public religious acts was regarded by some as an attack on the principle of separation of church and state. PRI lost the presidency last year.

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