Fox´s "Irregular" Union Prompts Church´s Comment

Mexican Cardinal Says President Can´t Receive Eucharist

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MEXICO CITY, JULY 3, 2001 ( The archbishop primate of Mexico says the Catholic Church considers President Vicente Fox´s union with his former spokeswoman Martha Sahagún Jiménez irregular, but continues to receive them with love.

On Monday, Fox, 59, who says he is a practicing Catholic, surprised Mexicans by marrying Martha Sahagún, 48, in a civil ceremony, putting an end to rumors about the couple´s intentions. Both are divorced and have children.

At a press meeting, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera explained that the Church accepts the presidential couple with the same love as before: «They can participate in the Mass, the sacred Scriptures, perform works of charity and justice in favor of their neighbors, and have many ways for their sanctification.»

The cardinal added, however, that the marriage impedes the president and Sahagún from access to the sacrament of confession and the Eucharist, the Church´s highest expression of communion.

Cardinal Rivera also said he did not know if Fox and Sahagún have begun the process for the annulment of their respective religious marriages.

Regarding the effect the union might have on public opinion, Cardinal Rivera Carrera said that «they are persons like everyone else, with limitations and weaknesses, and no one can set himself up as a judge of others and invade their private life to pass sentence on them.»

Asked by reporters, Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro-Valls confirmed that the Holy See has not published any sentence of annulment of the ecclesial matrimony contracted by Fox. «I can deny that there has been any sentence in this respect,» he said.

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