The Archdiocese of Guadalajara, Mexico has issued a statement denying claims that Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez asked the U.S. government to rein in the former mayor of Mexico City, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
In the July 21 statement, the archdiocese responded to the information released by WikiLeaks about a meeting the cardinal had with then U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Francis Rooney, in March of 2006.
The cable published by WikiLeaks is dated April 3, 2006, and claims that during a trip to Rome, Cardinal Sandoval called for help in stopping Lopez Obrador and left-wing leaders in Latin America. It alleges that the cardinal asked Ambassador Rooney to convince President Bush to intervene.
The archdiocese called the information “totally false.” It said that Cardinal Sandoval “has no interest in intervening or involving himself in the political affairs of the country.”
“Mr. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador can vouch for this, from the many times in which he met with the cardinal, at his own request. There has always been a relationship of mutual respect between them,” the statement said.
Cardinal Sandoval “values the work of the left, which is a necessary part of the political debate in the nation, even though there are some points on which he does not agree,” it continued.
The archdiocese confirmed that a meeting did indeed take place in 2006 between the cardinal and Ambassador Rooney, but that “the only issue discussed was a request that the U.S. representative support the construction of the Shrine of the Martyrs.”
“We wish to point out that the public leaking of this calumny by whoever the source was is intended to damage the already delicate political and social climate in our country,” the archdiocese said.
“We believe it is it very irresponsible to spread this kind of false information because of the damage it can do to our people’s spirits.”
“We have no doubt about the malicious intent of the person who spread this lie in order to harm Mexico, the Catholic Church and the individuals in question.”
The archdiocese concluded its statement urging “believers and non-believers alike to reflect on the information they receive, taking into account that the country is going through a time of political turmoil” in which rumor and deception threaten to take center stage in public life.