The Apostolic Administrator of Resistencia, Argentina, Bishop Carmelo Giaquinta, said this week he was disgusted by the inappropriate words and actions of President Nestor Kirchner at the Basilica of Our Lady of Lujan.
Recently during the inauguration of the first phase of restoration of the church, Kirchner took the opportunity to ask the Argentine people for help and to say, among other things, that "many genocides and terrible things have been done using the faith and using God. It would be hypocritical for me to deny having spoken out about certain attitudes of my own Church."
Bishop Giaquinta said he read about the President’s comments in the newspapers and that he felt "very disgusted. Not only by what the President said, but by the improper role he was given at the church."
During an interview with the newspaper Norte, the bishop noted that the Church respects the role of political parties in a democracy, but that the Church does not act like one because the term "party" means "part" while the term "Catholic" means "universal."
Likewise, Bishop Giaquinta wondered if by asking for help Kirchner was referring to the help the Church can give as transmitter of the truth of the Gospel, "because if he was asking for a different kind of help, such as the help he might receive from a political party, he would be making a serious mistake."
The Church, he continued, offers her prayers that "the Lord will grant him light and strength to lead the country on the path to reconciliation, justice and progress." He clarified that in his last homily on authority, he was not alluding to anyone in specific, because the homily "is a catechesis for the Christian people." "If that teaching (of the Gospel) applies to any particular current event, so much for the better. The words of Jesus always fit well, whether we’re talking about events that are current or events that are not so current," he stated.
Lastly, he emphasized that while the relations between Church and State throughout history have always been difficult, there is no "divorce or marriage" between the two, because "man is in the middle as a citizen on the one hand, and often a member of the Church on the other." "Autonomy and collaboration," as Vatican II taught, is what is best, he explained.