Mexican diocese responds to calls to replace bishop

The Diocese of Saltillo, Mexico has responded to protests by an unidentified group who recently urged the diocese to replace current Bishop Raul Vera Lopez.

The July 15 statement was signed by Father Gerardo Escareno and titled, “The activity of the Bishop is not outside the bounds of the Gospel.”

Last week protest messages were hung on the railing that surrounds the Cathedral of Saltillo. They were taken down the same day, but not by diocesan or church employees, reported the Mexican daily Vanguardia. Bishop Vera has come under fire in recent months for his connection to a homosexual ministry that does not follow Church teaching.

Fr. Escaareno's statement published on the website of the Mexican bishops’ conference says: “The pastoral work of the diocesan bishop, which encompasses a wide variety of areas of the life of the Church and of society, is clearly spelled out in the teachings and pastoral norms of the Church.”

He later states that Bishop Vera’s actions “are not outside the bounds of the Gospel or the norms and guidelines of the Church, or the challenges of the society in which we live.”

The statement does not mention the relationship Bishop Vera has with the San Elredo Community, an organization which supports same-sex unions and adoption by homosexual couples.

The response from the Diocese of Saltillo also indicates that “because of his fidelity to the pastoral ministry he carries out, (Bishop Vera) will not cease his dynamism or his voice, which seek to contribute to the building of more dynamic and committed communities of faith and a more humane society."

In June of this year, Noe Ruiz, the coordinator of San Elredo, said the group planned to propose that same-sex couples be allowed to adopt and receive social security benefits, and that civil unions between them be called “marriage.”

Bishop Vera’s actions have been questioned by various Catholic groups in Saltillo, including the Familias Mundi Association, whose president, Natalia Nino, said the activity of the San Elredo Community is harmful to society and to its own members.

“We do not agree with the forming of families made up of same-sex couples because the family comes from a marriage, and a marriage is a vocation given to two people of the opposite sex, because this is what makes it complementary,” she said.

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