.- The president of the Bishops’ Conference of Colombia, Archbishop Luis Augusto Castro, has denied that the country’s bishops are leading an effort to hold a referendum on a Constitutional Court’s ruling that legalized abortion in Colombia.
Speaking on Radio Caracol, Archbishop Castro said comments by Bishop Libardo Ramirez, president of the Church Tribunal, reflected his own personal opinion and had not been studied by the entire body of bishops. In widely publicized statements, Bishop Libardo told reporters earlier that the Church would promote the referendum aimed at overturning the high court ruling.
“The executive committee met recently and this issue was not discussed, it did not cross our minds,” Archbishop Castro said, adding it would “not therefore cross our minds during the next Conference meeting, and therefore the difference between the position of a single bishop and that of the conference should be noted.”
Retired Bishop Fabian Marulanda of Florencia and former president of the Bishops’ Conference of Colombia explained, “The bishops are tasked with proclaiming the gospel of life so that each person can know what he should or should not do with respect to the issue of abortion,” which is always “a serious sin.” He called on Colombians to refuse to support its legalization.
“Colombia is a country of laws and the decisions of the Court deserve our respect, whether we are for them or against them, but the Church thinks differently.” Regardless of the circumstances, Bishop Marulanda said, abortion is always a sin and “there is no way a legislature can have recourse to other procedures.”
Nevertheless, the rector of Gran Colombia University and prominent pro-life activist, Jose Galat Noumer, said pro-life leaders hoped to gather “at least seven million signatures” for the referendum, “because not only Catholics, but even Protestants and people who do not practice any religion but who respect life, would be willing to sign this referendum and thus stop the abuses of the Constitutional Court.”