Mexican Media Taken to Task for Attacks Against Church

Cardinal Rivera Pens a Pastoral Letter

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MEXICO CITY, SEPT. 26, 2002 ( Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera has assailed Mexican media for their recent attacks on Church authorities and teachings.

In a pastoral letter, the archbishop of Mexico City urges the faithful to reject all fear and to live in the light of the Gospel.

The archbishop primate of Mexico and his episcopal council state in their document that some of the media «have been systematically publishing various news items about the Catholic Church expressed in a negative tone and form.» Targets have included «the person and government of the Holy Father, and …. the bishops and priests,» the letter says.

«I am profoundly grateful to all those who in truth and charity criticize the Church, thus aiding its growth and purification; however, what is unacceptable is the systematic defamation and ridicule of which it is object,» the cardinal stresses.

Mexico City’s society is contradictory, the text explains. It shows itself to be very liberal, backing homosexual group that proselytize in the streets, and publishing books for children with a pro-homosexual slant, yet leaving unpunished the forces that profit from child prostitution and pornography.

Yet, the capital’s society «is scandalized and vehemently proclaims the faults of some clerics; perhaps because they are aware of the importance of the priest in the social conscience, and would prefer hypocrisy and libertinage to take his place,» the letter says.

«We are faced with a premeditated effort, directed to discredit the prophetic voice of the pastors of the Church, who seek to educate the conscience of citizens so that they will oppose the powers of this world, condemning all kinds of personal and social sins that destroy civilized coexistence,» Cardinal Rivera emphasizes.

The letter adds that the media take advantage of «individual situations of homosexual practices or the breaking of the promise of priestly celibacy» to induce «suspicion of the same conduct in the majority of the clergy and to condemn the Church for continuing to defend the evangelical value of celibacy, as if the latter was the cause of disordered behavior in the use of sexuality.»

The cardinal responded to other elements in the media that constantly criticize the Catholic Church for not accepting the ordination of women priests.

Cardinal Rivera said that, by definition, such elements manifest their lack of knowledge of the priesthood, an institution that is not a human right, but an express call from Jesus Christ. They also seem to be unaware that the «great in the Church are not the priests but the saints,» the archbishop primate of Mexico explains.

The apparitions of the Virgin of Guadalupe and Juan Diego’s canonization have also been the object of criticism against the Church, going so far as to ridicule the venerated image of the «tilma.»

«The pretension is to erase the believing people’s tradition of lively faith and to be ignorant of the numerous scientific and historical investigations that continue» to this day, the document reads.

«The community of believers in Christ is living in its own flesh Simeon’s prophecy when Jesus was presented in the temple: ‘he will be a sign of contradiction’ (Luke 2:34). Indeed, the Catholic Church preaches a message that is uncomfortable» for individuals and sectors of the Mexican capital’s society, the archbishop continues.

Today, a campaign can be found in all continents to «debilitate the Church, by discrediting its message and messengers, and also by taking advantage of individual weaknesses […] and to disparage the evangelical ideal,» the cardinal warns.

He continued: «While admiring the good name and hard work of so many professionals» in the realm of social communications, «we deplore that there are others who report on ecclesial issues without professional competence to transmit an objective view to society; they lack a proper ecclesiastical culture, broad and impartial, of the life and history of the Catholic Church, its men, and institutions,» Cardinal Rivera continues.

In order to respond to this situation, the cardinal urges personal conversion, «discovering and purifying all that is the consequence of our sins,» and commitment to «a campaign of prayer for those who persecute, defame and calumniate our Church and its institutions.»

The cardinal urges the detractors to cultivate «an objective conscience on the truth of the history and life of the Church.»

Lastly, the archbishop of Mexico City appeals for peace. «If we look back over the 2,000 years of the history of the Catholic Church, we will discover that the presence of Christ and the assistance of the Holy Spirit have never been lacking.»

The full text of the Spanish-language pastoral letter may be consulted at

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