.- The spokesman for the Archdiocese of Mexico, Fr. Hugo Valdemar, explained last week that although the country's priests do not seek direct political involvement, their constitutional right to take part in politics has been taken away from them.
Mexicoâs Senator Pablo Gomez of the Democratic Revolution Party has called for an amendment to an article which currently prevents clergy from participating in any public political activity. Commenting on this action, Fr. Valdemar said, "It is not the mission of the Church to intervene in political affairs or to seek party membership. However, as Mexican citizens, priests should enjoy a genuine participation in the constitutional rights common to all citizens."
The spokesman added that the Church welcomes the initiative of Senator Gomez and the Democratic Revolution Party, but "not because we want to participate in partisan politics. Rather, it opens debate about the rights of priests and religious as citizens."
He clarified that there is "a contradiction in the Constitution. On one hand, all citizens are equal before the law; but on the other, the Constitution restricts the right to freedom for ministers of worship. It is in accordance with the constitution that religious ministers have equal freedom to participate in civil society."
"What we ask is to be recognized as full citizens with full rights,â declared the priest.
He further noted that the figure of the secular state in Mexico is welcomed by the Church, as long as it does not prohibit clerics and religious from "sharing their views on social issues.â
âFreedom of expression should be safeguarded for all citizens in the country."