Church and State Bill Debated in Congress

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    San Jose (Agenzia Fides) –

    “A democracy without values…easily becomes a dictatorship and ends up betraying its own people.”

    This is what is read in the Message signed by Cardinal Hugo Barrantes Urena, Archbishop of San Jose (Costa Rica) and President of the Costa Rican Bishops’ Conference, in addressing the bill no. 17511 being proposed by the “Movement of a secular state in Costa Rica.”

    According to its promoters, the bill is aimed at safeguarding the religious freedom of citizens, through the modifications of Articles 74 and 194 of the Political Constitution. For the Bishops, however, this is a “false intention,” because “the present formulation of Article 75 and the juridical interpretation of the Constitutional Court” already cover the religious freedom of the people, “in full harmony with the international code and the Social Doctrine of the Church.”
    The members of the Movement for a Secular State are obviously “opposed to the Gospel and Christian ethics taught by the Church” and have an “evidently personal interest” that “presents an obstacle in the search for the true common good,” and discredits them as “supposed defenders of religious freedom,” the signers said.
    According to members of the Costa Rican Bishops’ Conference, the proposal, not only “does not reflect the will of the majority of voters,” but is an attempt to modify the Constitution, which as a fruit of our national identity, has permitted a healthy, respectful and balanced collaboration between the State and Church, in what concerns the integral development of our country.” At the same time, “the suppression of God’s name by the constitutional sentence shows a lamentable secularism, completely opposed to the concept of just autonomy of the political community and the Church,” and as the Holy Father Benedict XVI affirms, without God public life “loses motivations and politics takes on an oppressive and aggressive nature.” Therefore, “our opposition to the bill in question is based on the defense of principles and values that favor an authentic democracy, and not the search for supposed privileges, because “A democracy without values…easily becomes a dictatorship and ends up betraying its own people,” the Bishops’ Message concludes. (GT)

    (Agenzia Fides)

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