Mexican Bishops Assail Sex Offender Law

MEXICO CITY, FEB. 23, 2007 ( Mexico’s bishops have taken the country’s Senate to task over a legislative measure that gives civil law the authority to suspend priests accused of child molestation.

In a press statement issued Wednesday, the country’s episcopal conference said the reform had “errors and holes,” and that it conflicts with the Law of Religious Associations and Public Worship, which governs the Churches in the country.

The law of religious associations prohibits the intervention of authorities in the internal affairs of the Church, such as appointing or disqualifying ministers of worship, stated the communiqué.

The bishops added that the priest’s “religious character and the exercise of his ministry is an issue that remains in the hands of the religious institution to which he belongs, and it corresponds to this religious institution to resolve the disqualification, retirement or ceasing of the ministry he carries out.”