Holy See reminds its opposition to an “indigenous church” and to married priesthood in Latin America.

Holy See reminds its opposition to an “indigenous church” and to married priesthood in Latin America.


Through a letter sent to the Bishop of San Cristóbal de las Casas (México), Bishop. Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel, the Holy See decided to put an end to the so-called “Indigenous Church,” influent especially  in southern parts of Mexico and throughout Latin America.

The letter is signed by Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Cult and the Discipline of Sacraments. He deplores the influence of the ideology of the "autoctonous church,” inherited by Bishop Arizmendi from his predecesor Bishop Samuel Ruiz Garcia and remarks that the new policy should supress the overreliance on the ordination of permanent deacons in this diocese.

Bishop Ruiz prevented many different movements and religious orders to be active in the diocese, and seriously discouraged religious vocations to celibate priesthood and above all, he promoted the massive ordination of permanent deacons, valuing that in little time the Church would end up accepting the practice of married priests, which according to him was better adapted to the vision of an "indigenous" or “autochthonous church.”

The eloquent letter written by Cardinal Arinze  in the latest issue of the “Notitiae” the bulletin of the dicastery is addressed to Bishop Arizmendi, but its conclusions are extended to other regions such as Guatemala, Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru, where the similar “Indian theology” has been spread.

The case and constant petitions coming from San Cristóbal de las Casas, has forced the creation of a interdicasterial committee in September 1993, and which finally came to a conclusion in October during the pontificate of Benedict XVI. The Committee rejects the creation of an “autochthonous church,” inspired by the “theology of liberation.”

The letters states as follows:

“We can’t ignore that, even after five years after the retirement of H.E Samuel Ruiz of San Cristóbal de las Casas, the ideology that promotes the implementation of the project of Autochthonous Church is still latent. In that sense, the Interdicasterial meeting has pronounced himself for a suspension of eventual ordinations of permanent deacons.”

“Therefore, we ask that a proper pastoral of vocations, in the perspective of celibate priesthood might be strengthened as in other parts of Mexico, and other countries in Latin America.”

In order to reorganize the ecclesial life, we asked from the beginning that the diocese may open itself to the proper realities of the universality of the Catholic Church, to help it overcome  its ideological isolation.”


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