The adjunct Secretary General of the Bishops’ Conference of Ecuador, Father Nicolas Dousdebes, has sent a letter to President Rafael Correa asking him to respect the opinions of bishops and priests even though he may not agree with them.
In the letter, Father Dousdebes called on the president to remember that priests are included in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which says that “all people have the right to express their opinion on whatever issue they wish through any means.” “Please don’t exclude us from that,” he wrote.
“Christians should love peace but without renouncing the defense of the values of the Gospel and teachings of the Church,” he said. Acting this way, Dousdebes said, is “just like any other voice in a democratic society and should be respected and listened to.”
Father Dousdebes lamented that bishops and priests have become the targets of “insulting epithets,” “for the sole ‘crime’ of expressing their disagreement with some parts of the new constitution that are ambiguous and could be interpreted as favoring abortion, putting homosexual unions on par with marriage, and stifling parents’ rights to educate their children.”
The bishops’ spokesman reminded President Correa that priests are not “ghosts dressed in black, freaks or perverse liars like your expensive ad campaign states, but rather citizens who, like you, serve the people, sometimes without recognition or reward. We don’t receive any kind of salary from the state, and therefore we have the freedom to say that we do not agree with everything the government says, as if it were the sole voice of truth, especially in matters of morality and life,” he said.