Bishop Carmelo Martinez Lazaro of Cajamarca in northern Peru has suspended the controversial priest, Father Marco Arana, both because of his participation in partisan politics and for voicing his support for abortion on several occasions.
The decision to suspend Fr. Arana, who was notified by letter from the diocese, was made after the bishop asked him on various occasions to distance himself from political activism and to publicly correct his statement that abortion is “an issue of conscience for women,” a position contrary to the teachings of the Church.
Fr. Arana gained notoriety for his involvement in an environmentalist NGO opposed to the mining activities in the Peruvian province of Cajamarca.
His environmental activism slowly turned into political participation, culminating in the creation of a left-wing political movement called “Land and Freedom,” which he was planning to lead as a presidential candidate in Peru.
Bishop Martinez said in his letter that despite the reiterated requests to distance himself from political involvement and to clarify his position on abortion, the priest remained obstinate.
The suspension means Fr. Arana will not be able to wear the Roman collar or celebrate Mass or the sacraments in public, so long as he refuses to amend his conduct.