.- The Executive Committee of the Chilean Bishops Conference has issued a statement rejecting the legalization of divorce and reaffirming the bishops’ determination “to strengthen the foundations of Chilean married couples” so that they might be “a true sanctuary of life, of trust and peace.”
The statement, presented by Bishop Gonzalo Duarte of Valparaiso, explains that Article 20 the country’s Constitution will acknowledge that the conjugal covenant between spouses is founded upon the sacrament of Marriage. “Between themselves and before God they take on the unique commitment of loving each other as Christ loved us,” says the statement.
The bishops added that the covenant young people enter into through an indissoluble marriage can have the strength which they desire “and the law does not wish nor cannot it take that away.”
Bishop Duarte said the State and the Church should look to the future and as such the protection of the family is the responsibility of all. “We are not interested in the prestige of the Catholic Church, we are interested in the good of the family in Chile,” he said.
Referring to the position of certain “Catholic” lawmakers, Bishop Duarte said it was not the first time on the history of Chile that public officials who declare themselves to be Catholic do not follow the teaching of the Magisterium, adding that the position of the Church is not to condemn but to continue dialoguing about important subjects for the good of the country.
Bishop Duarte also commented on the relations between the Church and the government in the aftermath of the approval of the divorce law, saying, “We are in profound disagreement over this issue.” Nevertheless, he continued, the Church and the government continue to dialogue in search of a consensus in favor of the common good of Chilean society.
Lastly, asked about attempts to legalize abortion, Bishop Duarte recalled that the position of the Church is very clear: “Abortion is a crime.”