The EFE news agency reported this week that the Vatican will take its time in reflecting on the best solution from a canonical point of view to define the status of Fernando Lugo, the suspended bishop who has been elected president of Paraguay.
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi acknowledged that voters “have the right to freely choose their leaders” and he recalled that Lugo, due to his “a divinis” suspension, was no longer exercising the episcopal ministry and therefore his electoral victory does not demand that new measures regarding his status with the Church be “urgently” adopted.
“If new measures need to be adopted in this new stage, the competent authorities (the Congregation for Bishops) will carry out a calm analysis. There is no seriously urgent problem. The fact that he was no longer exercising his episcopal ministry means an analysis about his status can be calmly carried out,” Father Lombardi said.
Likewise, Father Lombardi clarified that the Vatican does not question his election as president of Paraguay and he denied that the Church is acting as a “sort of private opposition.”
“The issue is how to correctly define his status, since he was a bishop. It is a canonical issue about his role, his status in the Church. It is not a problem of diplomatic relations,” he insisted.
At the beginning of 2007, the Holy See suspended Lugo “a divinis” after he announced his decision to run for president. The Congregation for Bishops issued a decree pointing out that the now president-elect remained “in the clerical state.”