Various pro-life, pro-family, and lay leaders of the Catholic Church in Mexico have reacted with concern to the election of Claudia Sheinbaum as president of the country.

Rodrigo Iván Cortés, president of the National Front for the Family, described Sheinbaum’s victory as “very bad news for life, family, and freedoms.”

For the pro-family leader, Sheinbaum represents continuity with the same progressive agenda of the outgoing administration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Citing the growing legalization of abortion and use of gender ideology throughout the country, Cortés explained that “the López Obrador regime culminated in a culture of death, of ideology, not only of gender confusion but also of socialist populist indoctrination.”

However, in an interview with “EWTN Noticias,” EWTN’s Spanish-language news program, Cortés emphasized that just as people didn’t vote for López Obrador because of his position on abortion, gender ideology, or for freedoms to be canceled, people didn’t vote for Sheinbaum for those same reasons. What happens, he indicated, is that “when they come to power, they implement [that agenda].”

For Juan Dabdoub, president of the Mexican Family Council (ConFamilia), there are “two important factors” that would explain Sheinbaum’s victory in the presidential elections.

The first, he told ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, is that in Mexico there is “a poor political culture, which makes a large majority of the people manipulable.”

A second factor, Dabdoub noted, is that “Mexican Catholicism has failed in something extremely important that Pope St. John Paul II already pointed out: ‘A faith that does not create culture is a useless faith.’”

In a Jan. 16, 1982, speech, John Paul II said: “A faith that does not become culture is a faith that is not fully accepted, not entirely thought out, not faithfully lived.”

For the president of ConFamilia, “Mexico has stopped being a country of practicing Catholics and has become one of simply baptized people; and when a Catholic doesn’t live his faith in the outside world, that is, outside his home and his parish, those who dominate the world take control.”

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Dabdoub considered Sheinbaum’s victory to be “a brutal threat” to the defense of life, family, and freedoms, since she has “a radical progressive agenda.”

‘Formation and serious work are needed’

For Father Hugo Valdemar, who for 15 years headed the communications office of the Primatial Archdiocese of Mexico when Cardinal Norberto Rivera led the archdiocese, “Catholics must learn that social media are not enough to really influence; serious formation and work are needed, otherwise everything remains up in the air.”

“The big problem is that we haven’t been seriously forming the laity, and nothing is being done to do so,” he told ACI Prensa. However, he noted that with a Sheinbaum administration, “the Church is not in danger. I don’t see an adverse climate, much less persecutory, and Christian values ​​have been violated for a long time.”

What’s next in the battle for life and family?

Pilar Rebollo, director of the Steps for Life platform, pointed out that Sheinbaum’s election “means much more work” for pro-lifers: “It requires us to be united, it requires us to be coordinated,” anticipating possible “frontal attacks on what we know as our values ​​that are foundational.”

Rebollo also emphasized the importance of serving underserved and vulnerable populations, which, she considered, were key to Sheinbaum’s victory. This, she said, must be done “not out of a desire for numbers but zeal for souls, a desire to [heal] wounds, zeal for humanity, to see Christ in others.”

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It should be noted that all three candidates for president — Sheinbaum, Xóchitl Gálvez, and Jorge Álvarez Máynez — backed the legalization of abortion and the LGBTQ policy agenda, so Mexican voters had no real alternative to vote for a pro-life and pro-family candidate.

Sheinbaum is the first person of Jewish ancestry to be elected to Mexico’s presidency. In February of this year, she visited Pope Francis at the Vatican, where she asked him to bless a rose wrought in silver by a Mexican artisan. She later presented it to the rector of the Basilica Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.

Sheinbaum has said that despite her heritage she is “not Catholic, not religious.” According to Jewish News Syndicate, Sheinbaum is not a product of the Jewish community in Mexico and has not had any adult involvement or affiliation.

Jason Poblete of the Global Liberty Alliance anticipates that Claudia Sheinbaum will govern under the shadow of the current president and his leftist party. Credit: EWTN News Nightly/Screenshot
Jason Poblete of the Global Liberty Alliance anticipates that Claudia Sheinbaum will govern under the shadow of the current president and his leftist party. Credit: EWTN News Nightly/Screenshot

During her campaign, Sheinbaum was seen wearing a skirt bearing the image of the revered Virgin of Guadalupe. According to Jason Poblete of the Global Liberty Alliance, Sheinbaum also wore a rosary around her neck at a public event. He and others suggested that this was an act of demagoguery intended to appeal to Catholics, who comprise approximately 78% of the country’s population.

Sheinbaum, 61, holds a doctorate in physics specializing in energy and taught at Mexico’s National Autonomous University. Her political militancy began during her student years, joining a group that became the founding youth movement of the socialist Party of Democratic Revolution. She later joined the ruling Morena party. She has been described as a climate activist, having been part of a Nobel Prize-winning commission advising the United Nations on climate change.

Sheinbaum’s tenure as Mexico City mayor was marked by progressive initiatives. For example, the World Economic Forum, led by Klaus Schwab, noted that as mayor she ended public school policy requiring gender-appropriate uniforms for children. Sheinbaum said: “The era when girls had to wear a skirt and boys had to wear trousers has been left behind; I think that’s passed into history,” and added: “Boys can wear skirts if they want and girls can wear pants if they want.”

While she did not raise the issue during her campaign, Sheinbaum’s Morena party is a firm supporter of abortion. The newly-elected congress will be seated in September, one month before Sheinbaum’s inauguration, thus allowing incumbent president López Obrador an opportunity to push through his legislative initiatives. 

Poblete told “EWTN News Nightly” that the 2024 election may have led to a Morena majority in Mexico’s Congress, which has vowed to amend the constitution in order for Mexican Supreme Court justices to be elected by popular ballot, thereby confirming partisan control of the heretofore independent judiciary, which would rule on issues such as abortion and matters of gender ideology. He fears that Sheinbaum will govern under the shadow of the current president and his leftist party.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.