The Archdiocese of Mexico City is defending the right of Catholic clergy and members of the faith to voice their opinions about public issues, arguing that a true secular state does not persecute individuals who are guided by their religious principles.
“It is very serious when a public servant, no matter who he is, does not know how to interpret the meaning of Church-State separation and believes that citizens do not have the right to express their points of view, even though they may be motivated by their religious convictions,” stated the Archdiocese of Mexico City's news service in a recent editorial.
The news service noted that the separation of church and state established in the Mexican constitution refers to the autonomy of political structures from religious institutions, but only to the respect that the state affords the same consideration to religious groups. The only limitation on freedom of religion, the archdiocese explained, is the prohibition of the clergy to engage in political proselytism, hold public office or oppose the laws of the country.
“In no place does it say that religious ministers or those who hold to a particular belief cannot express their convictions or live according to them,” the news service stated. “No Mexican citizen can be forbidden from speaking with freedom and expressing his points of view on issues that affect us all, as long as he does not commit a crime in doing so.”
The archdiocese then defended the right of members of the Church to speak out in issues such as the defense of life and the family, adding that pluralism must allow all citizens to express themselves and participate in the building of society.
Civil and political authorities are supposed to guarantee these rights and not oppose them, the news service said, noting that officials who believe they are defending the “secular” state by denying religious freedom and threatening, intimidating or repressing those who wish to fully practice it “are completely wrong.”
The archdiocesan news concluded that the secular nature of the Mexican state does not need protection from “pseudo-defenders,” whose demagoguery, they added, ironically weakens the state instead of strengthening it.