Chiapas Bishops Exhort Priests and Religious to Avoid Politics

Elections in Mexican State Scheduled for Oct. 7

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SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS, Mexico, SEPT. 10, 2001 ( With state elections set for Oct. 7, bishops in Chiapas have appealed to priests and religious of their dioceses not to be involved in politics.

«The Church´s mission is to unite those who, being members of different parties, are divided and opposed,» bishops in the Mexican state explained in a pastoral exhortation.

«We do not identify with a party or an organization, because we would lose our liberty and be unable to fulfill our vocation to call those who are dispersed to unity,» the exhortation stated.

It continued: «The bishops, priests, deacons, men and women religious, catechists and other servants who have a responsibilities in the Church, must not campaign in favor of a political party or candidate. When parties are corrupted in their mission, they cause divisions in the communities.»

«Personally, we are free to vote for the one we want but, as people responsible for an ecclesial community, we must be signs of unity,» the bishops added.

The pastoral exhortation was signed by Bishops José Luis Chávez Botello of Tuxtla Gutiérrez; Rogelio Cabrera López of Tapachula; and Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel of San Cristobal de las Casas.

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