The bishops’ response
The bishops of Bolivia also released a statement reiterating their “zero tolerance” policy, and this past Sunday several bishops, including the archbishop of Santa Cruz, René Leigue Cesarí, addressed the scandal in their homilies.
The prelate called for the case to “be investigated as it should be, that justice be done... that it not be politicized and that the Church not be stigmatized.”
“Every error, every crime must be investigated and justice must be done,” Leigue Cesarí added.
The president of the Bolivian Bishops’ Conference and apostolic vicar of Beni, Bishop Aurelio Pesoa, expressed “great pain” on behalf of the Church for “the crimes of one of her children” and regretted the comments and opinions “of all kinds” that arose as a result of the case and that aroused feelings of hatred against the Church.
Alluding to the Gospel, which recalls that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, Pesoa asked the faithful to embark on a path of purification in the Church “with the courage to be able to travel that path to find the truth and the life.”
In addition, he asked the Holy Spirit to “strengthen faith and life so that no one is discouraged in the face of these events” and that God “would help us to commit ourselves to defend what is good.”
The archbishop of Cochabamba, Oscar Aparicio, also urged the faithful to pray: “In this critical time that the Church and the Jesuit congregation are experiencing, we must remain in prayer, not let ourselves be carried away, [and] on the contrary, pray.”
Archbishop Percy Galván of La Paz, the capital, said that the Church in Bolivia “bleeds with pain” over the case of Father Pedrajas.
“We are not made of stone; it hurts,” he said, but he stressed the importance of correcting and making things right wherever needed.
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.
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