Church neutral on re-election of Colombian president

.- The secretary of the Bishops’ Conference of Colombia, Bishop Juan Vicente Cordoba, explained this week that the country’s bishops are taking a neutral stance on the possible re-election of country's Catholic President Alvaro Uribe.

In explaining the appropriate separation between Church and State, the bishop said, “The president as a person can be of another faith and as an individual can praise his God...but as head of state he can't, since he is head of a secular state, and not a state with an official religion.”

“If he said that the bishops are the ones who decide whether or not I will continue, that would be a mistake, meaning the state is not secular,” the bishop told Caracol Radio.

He went on to stress that the Church hierarchy in Colombia has no role in the question of Uribe’s re-election.  “We do not want to say either yes nor no, because a shepherd does not divide his flock,” he said.

He explained, that if the bishops say “yes,” those in disagreement will “leave the Church.”  However, if the bishops say “no,” those for the president “will feel their shepherds are not supporting them.”

“A pastor does not divide, he unites, and for this reason we won’t say either “yes” or “no,” he concluded.

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