Benedict XVI tries to exert influence on questions of abortion and gay marriage
Three days before the Brazilian presidential election to choose a successor to President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, in a campaign strongly dominated by debate of a religious nature, Pope Benedict XVI has thrown fuel on the flames with an address at the Vatican in which he asks the bishops to influence the faithful “with a moral judgement in politial questions.” His message could influence the vote on Sunday.
The theme of decriminalization of abortion has been a thorn in the side for both candidates, who were charged by Catholics and evangelicals alike with being in favor of abortion. Out of fear of losing the votes of Christians (60 percent of them Catholics, 30 percent evangelicals), Lula’s candidate, Dilma Rousseff, had to back down and with a letter to Catholics and evangelicals promised solemnly that if she becomes president she will not allow legislation on the questions of abortion and same-sex marriage. Rousseff had begun the campaign arguing for the decrimininaliztion of abortion as a question of public health.
The Pope addressed the bishops in a defnitive manner: “When the fundamental rights of persons and of souls demand it, pastors have the grave duty to issue moral judgements.” And he added, “When political projects take up, openly or covertly, the decriminalization of abortion or euthanasia, bishops should not fear unpopularity, but should reject compromises and ambiguity.”
Benedict XVI told the Brazilian bishops that “God has to have a place in political life” and after reminding them that “the Catholic religion is an integral part of the history of Brazil,” he urged them to struggle for keeping religion a required subject in the schools and for preserving religious symbols.
In Brazil, Catholics are still the great majority but each year lose a million adherents to evangelical churches. Catholicism is becoming limited to the middle class while evangelicals are attracting the poorest and least educated sectors of the country. As a consequence, in the voting booth the Catholic faithful are less influenced by bishops and parish priests than are evangelicals by their pastors, who are more likely to be obeyed.
SOURCE is a translation of El País article
Hmmm, political advices from the Pope? Thanks but no thanks. And I guess "The Pope is Catholic" comments are appropriate.