A Peruvian author has falsely accused Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani of Lima of not opposing the forced sterilization program carried out by the government in the 1990s, stated Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Miranda of Ayacucho, Peru.
“I lament and reject these unfounded criticisms by (Mario Vargas Llosa), which reveal a biased subjectivism with regard to the truth and the teachings of the Church, the bishops, and especially of the personal and pastoral work of the Archbishop of Lima, who has always defended human life,” the bishop said.
In an article published July 26 in the daily Expreso, Bishop Gabino noted that Cardinal Cipriani condemned “the sterilizations of the 1990s throughout courageous action recently highlighted for the public by the bishops and priests of the Archdiocese of Lima.”
He said the people of Ayacucho are very grateful for the work of then-Archbishop Cipriani, who was “a great promoter of peace.”
“During that time we were all suffering from terrorist attacks in every sense, and he helped us, accompanied us and pastorally and emotionally guided us. He gave us hope amid the terror and desperation we were experiencing,” Bishop Gabino said.
“As historian Hector Lopez Martinez has pointed out, ‘Cardinal Cipriani, armed only with this profound faith and his sense of duty, never shrank from condemning … civilians, police officers or military officials for inappropriate behavior,” the bishop continued.
The pastoral work of Cardinal Cipriani “was the fruit of hours and hours of conversation with Christ in the tabernacle, of which I was also a witness, and we have recordings of most of his homilies at the Cathedral of Huamanga,” he said.
While Bishop Gabino said the passionate political debate during the presidential campaign was understandable, Vargas Llosa’s attitude towards Cardinal Cipriani has been unfortunate.
“Decades ago, Mario Vargas Llosa gave this wise response during an interview with the press: ‘Religion was the only barrier to keep man from becoming a beast.’ This thought came from a man who was an admirer of religion, even though he wasn’t a believer. His words were quoted many times in church and secular circles. But ever since he became politically partisan he began distancing himself from his original thinking about religion and the Church, especially regarding Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani,” Bishop Gabino said.
“It seems Vargas Llosa does not understand that the 44 particular churches in Peru are entrusted by the Universal Church to a bishop, supported by priests. The ignorance of this doctrine is summarized in the statements of the writer,” he said.