Mexican Christian Leaders on Religious Freedom

«Not a Benevolent Concession of the State But a Fundamental Human Right»

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MEXICO CITY, MAY 6, 2011 ( Here is a joint statement from Christian churches of Mexico regarding the right to religious liberty.

The statement, signed by representatives of 17 Christian churches and the secretary-general of the Mexican bishops’ conference, responded to a situation in which a small group of protestors interrupted Easter Sunday Mass in the cathedral of Mexico City. Six or seven people shouted anti-life and anti-Church slogans during the Mass, and destroyed an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  

The protestors were detained by police but subsequently released.

Here is the full communiqué:

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«Those of us who sign the present document are members of different Christian churches that exist in Mexico, with which we share — from our plurality — fundamental principles and elements inspired in the Gospel. That is why, united in faith, hope and charity, and encouraged by the continuous and respectful dialogue in which we are engaged, the churches that have Christ at the center of our doctrine wish to express, with one voice, the following:

1. We believe firmly that spiritual life is a complement of material life. Because of this, if the state seeks the integral well-being of those it governs, it must make an effort not only to attend to their physical needs, but to give the necessary guarantees for their spiritual development, especially the conditions of security and respect so that all persons can profess their beliefs without external threats or coercive laws.

2. Under this principle, we believe that it is not enough for the state to endorse its citizens’ freedom of worship, but that it must foster and guarantee true religious liberty, which, unfortunately, we still do not see reflected in our laws; a religious liberty that for no reason whatsoever must remain outside of our Magna Carta, given that it is not a benevolent concession of the state but a fundamental human right. On this depends, to a great extent, the peace and tranquility that millions of us Mexicans deserve.

3. We, the undersigned, energetically condemn the violent events that took place in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico City, where different groups of individuals, without the least notion of what respect for religious liberty is, have profaned this sacred place on more than 20 occasions since the year 2006, without being sanctioned. This is so because Mexico lacks a legal framework that will allow the exercise of punitive action against those who commit this type of outrage, leaving places of worship in a state of total defenselessness.

4. We manifest firm and total communion and solidarity with the Archdiocese of Mexico and its Archbishop Primate, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, who was presiding over the Lord’s Easter Eucharist at the time.

5. We believe that, in view of true religious liberty in the country, the state must clearly establish the extent of liberty of expression, so that those actions behind which there is a perverse and premeditated intention to offend or harm the religious beliefs and feelings of persons will not remain unpunished.

6. All of us Christian churches commit ourselves, in a framework of respect and tolerance, to remain united to defend the basic principles of healthy coexistence, as well as the religious and moral values that prevail in our doctrines so that any offense or interference in a place of worship, will be considered an aggression to all the churches as a whole.

7. Finally, we wish to say that we are respectful of the laws that govern our country, but we appeal to the consciences of the authorities so that these same ordinances consider the human being in all his integrity — body and spirit — especially in this country in which the vast majority of us are Christians who seek the perfection of our life according to the laws of God.

We pray that the Father of Heaven will enlighten us and give light to our authorities so that we will make of our Mexico a country of justice, love and peace, where the life of every human being is respected.

[Translation by ZENIT]
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