By Andrew Parrish
Jesús Zambrano Grijalva, President of the Mexican Chamber of Deputies, publicly attacked the Mexican Catholic Church on the 15th of August, claiming that in speaking out against gay marriage the Church was “trespassing on land where it did not belong.” Further, Grijalva requested that the Mexican Ministry of the Interior punish the Church for its uncompromising public stance. “In actuality there is no unitary concept of the family,” he declared, noting that “the traditional family” was put at risk by “addictions, divorces, and acts of pederasty by priests that have gone unpunished.”
Grijalva’s attack comes in response to an article published on August 14th in Desde la Fe, the official social publication of the Archdiocese of Mexico, entitled “Gay marriage is a false right” (‘Matrimonio gay, falso derecho’). The article describes the recent decision of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg to uphold Article 12 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Article 12 states that “men and women…have the right to marry”; it was upheld against challenges from homosexual and lesbian couples, thus maintaining the legal distinction between a heterosexual marriage and a homosexual civil union. Desde la Fe (DLF) comments that recent public remarks by the President and Supreme Court of Mexico are opposed to the reaffirmed definition of Article 12.
On the 21st of August, DLF published an interview with Fr. Hugo Valdemar, Director of Communications for the Mexican Archdiocese, responding to Grijalva’s attack. In the interview Fr. Valdemar notes that Grijalva is a member of the radical left Party of the Democratic Revolution (PDR), claiming that Grijalva spoke not as the President of the Chamber of Deputies but as a representative of the PDR. Valdemar describes Grijalva and the PDR’s questionable legacy of repressive or violent actions in office, their history of anti-Catholicism, and the irony of Grijalva et al. “accusing the Church of an anarchy which they themselves incited.” With this militant political history, Grijalva’s threat to have the Ministry of the Interior intervene is “very serious”.
The Mexican Ministry of the Interior (Secretariá de Gobernación) has the power under the constitution to regulate the bodies which participate in public life and also the relationship between the Federal Government and other institutions, meaning that it could impose real limitations on the Church’s ability to speak out in public. Fr. Valdemar commented that the Catholic Church consists of millions of baptized Mexicans, and not only the “hierarchy” of the institutional Church, and declared that “if any legislation affects our families, their faithful, their children, the future of the country, bishops and priests cannot remain silent.”