Church will not accept illicit donations, Mexican bishops say


In an official statement, the general secretary of the Bishops’ Conference Mexico, Bishop Carlos Aguiar of Texcoco, rejected claims that the Church accepts donations of illicit money.

In response to confusion surrounding alleged comments by Bishop Ramon Godinez of Aguascalientes regarding the supposed acceptance of contributions by drug traffickers, the statement notes that "the Catholic Church systematically rejects any public conduct that is unethical. This rejection is especially vigorous when it comes to a crime as serious as drug trafficking, which causes serious harm to so many families and to the social and economic fabric of our country and of the whole world."

"Moreover," Bishop Aguiar recalled, "the Catholic Church is one of the institutions that does the most to help drug addicts recover and to create the conditions for social justice so that drugs do not drag young people down. Therefore, any collaboration between the Church and ‘the business of drugs’ not only completely lacks any basis, it also contradicts her enormous work of social assistance."

Regarding financial contributions to the Church, Bishop Aguiar noted that those who make small donations at parishes are not required to identify themselves, but "when it comes to large sums, the Church’s normal practice is to require that the donor identify himself; and when the Church discovers that the money is of illicit origin, she rejects it in order to avoid any complicity in the crime."

The bishop also reiterated that the "those who are publicly known to be drug traffickers are forbidden to be sponsors for Baptism or Marriage and from exercising any position or responsibility in the Church."

"The Church has traditionally recommended following the gospel example of Zacchaeus who, having gotten rich illegitimately, later met Jesus and was convicted of his sin and gave most of his riches to the poor. I hope many of our own delinquents would act the same," he said.

Bishop Ramon Godinez maintained that the press misinterpreted his words. "I have been quoted as saying that money unlawfully obtained can be ‘purified’ in the Church or that the Church accepts money from drug traffickers. These quotes are not accurate nor did I say them," he stated in a press release.

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