Asunción, Paraguay, Sep 14, 2009 / 08:32 am
The outgoing Papal Nuncio to Paraguay, Archbishop Orlando Antonini, said last week that he hopes Paraguayans will acknowledge the suffering the Church endured over the decision by now President Fernando Lugo to abandon his vocation and enter politics.
“I hope Paraguayans acknowledge this suffering of the Church, this sacrifice that the Church made and that this be appreciated,’ the Nuncio told reporters as he said his goodbyes to the Paraguayan leader. He noted that relations between Paraguay and the Holy See have not been affected by the affair.
Archbishop Antonini said the Church would need years to digest what happened. “But this will be overcome. I am hopeful that in this process which has begun in Paraguay, this democratic evolution will continue,” he said.
After noting that Lugo’s fathering of a child is part of the problem, the Nuncio said the Church has long underscored the need for priests and religious to have a proper understanding of their political involvement. “Bishops and priests should bring the spiritual dimension to political and social life,” he explained.
Religious must put Christ first, he added, warning that if social issues are not seen in God’s light, the danger exists that “the poor will be exploited and used as a pretext for partisan or other agendas.”