.- The Archbishop of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Cardinal Julio Terrazas, exhorted Bolivians not to be fooled by certain congressional candidates who are misleading people by claiming that the Church is asking that Catholicism be the official religion of Bolivia.
During his Sunday homily, the cardinal noted that with congressional elections just days away, some candidates are claming that if they are elected, “they are going to request that the Church not be the official religion.” Cardinal Terrazas countered by saying the bishops are not seeking or fighting to achieve such a goal, and that as recently as one month ago, they said they were open to proposals to review the Bolivian constitution’s article establishing religious freedom and granting recognition to the role of the Church.
“They keep saying we are fighting for that article. Not so! Let it be reviewed, but let it be done intelligently and fully. Let’s not deny that this country has truly received the seeds of the Kingdom of justice and of truth that the Lord has brought, and that that has been part of her history, and that is why in so many parts of Bolivia we are proud to be Catholics,” the cardinal noted. He pointed out that the Bolivian constitution has not established any one religion as “official” since 1967.
The Church is simply asking for “respect” and “recognition of the work she has done.” “We are not afraid of Bolivia becoming a secular state,” Cardinal Terrazas continued. However, he denounced that those who constantly use that phrase “are hiding their other intentions.” Secularism, the cardinal warned, seeks to remove the faith and “order a country in such a way that God is not present.” Such an agenda constitutes a threat to the fundamental human right to freely express one’s love of God, he said.
Article 3 of the Bolivian constitution states: “The State recognizes and sustains the Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Religion. It guarantees the public exercise of all other faiths. Relations with the Catholic Church shall be governed by concordats and agreements between the Bolivian State and the Holy See.”