San José, Costa Rica, May 10, 2010 / 09:53 am
Costa Rica’s Electoral Supreme Court has ordered Bishop Jose Francisco Ulloa to pay damages for encouraging the faithful to cast their votes in manner consistent with Catholic teachings.
The bishop made his comments during a Mass on September 6, 2009, amidst the presidential campaign season and the debate over abortion and homosexual rights.
Yeudy Blanco Vega of the Movement for a Secular State argued the bishop violated article 28 of the Costa Rican constitution which forbids members of the clergy from engaging in political propaganda.
The court interpreted the bishop's comments as political propaganda rather than pastoral guidance, and therefore ordered him to “abstain from urging people not to vote for candidates who in his judgment do not share the values of the Catholic faith.” The court also ordered him to pay damages and legal fees.