The spokesman for the Archdiocese of Mexico City recently stated that an electoral court is not respecting his freedom of speech.
The court demanded that Father Hugo Valdemar be punished for telling Catholics not to vote for the Democratic Revolution Party in 2010.
In August of last year, the political party sued Fr. Valdemar and Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez of Guadalajara for criticizing the legalization of abortion and same-sex unions in Mexico City. The lawsuit was dismissed by the Federal Electoral Institute, but the Electoral Tribune of the Federal Judiciary Branch reinstated it and ordered it be tried.
The institute absolved Cardinal Sandoval of any wrongdoing but upheld charges that Fr. Valdemar violated the law. The priest appealed the ruling, but on July 1 court upheld the decision and said he should be penalized for not respecting “democratic values.”
Fr. Valdemar rejected the decision in a statement on July 3 published by the Archdiocese of Mexico City’s news service. He called it sad that “the opinion of one citizen critical of a political party for its immoral and criminal actions that are destructive of the family and its values” be considered “an attack on the democratic life of our country.”
“I have never issued any statement against the (Democratic Revolution Party),” Fr. Valdemar stated. Only once, last August, “did I grant a telephone interview to the daily El Universal in which I in fact stated that no Catholic in conscience could vote for the (political party), in the wake of the immoral and criminal laws it has passed in the Federal District. But I said that only at that time, and that statement cannot be called proselytism,” the priest said.
“I would respectfully recommend that the justices read the definition of ‘proselytism,’ and they will see that it consists of a deliberate, repeated and intentional action for or against something, and therefore one sole mention in one sole interview cannot be interpreted as a violation of election laws,” he explained.
Fr. Valdemar also responded to comments by the leader of the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), Jesus Zambrano, who called on the priest and the cardinal to accept the ruling and not take it “personally.”
“I would ask Mr. Zambrano this: What am I? Am I not a human person? Was not the lawsuit and conviction filed against me? Of course this is a personal issue against someone who has publicly exposed them and it is also an institutional problem: the PRD’s hatred of the Catholic Church, which it wishes to frighten, silence and subjugate. This is the democratic spirit that inspires the national PRD and they have never been ashamed to show it,” he said.