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-Vatican to Excommunicate Mexican Drug Gangs?

by Dr. D ~ January 15th, 2009

Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone wearing the white ca...

(-Cardinal Bertone via Wikipedia)

-LA Times article–Mexico City: The Vatican has suggested excommunication as a possible punishment for the drug gangs whose war with the government has led to the deaths of over 5,000, plus incredible violence, and thousands of kidnappings just in the last year alone.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, is traveling to Mexico on Monday and talked to journalists about the prevailing problem of the drug syndicates in Mexico:

“Speaking to Latin American journalists at the Vatican before traveling to Mexico on Monday, Bertone said it was a “duty” to fight drug gangs because their actions represent “the most hypocritical and terrible way of murdering the dignity and personality of today’s youth.”

“Certainly, excommunication is a very harsh deterrent that the church has used to deal with the most serious crimes in its history, from the very first centuries,” “But I should observe that excommunication is a punishment that touches only those who have some form of ecclesiastical conscience, an ecclesiastical education.”

President Felipe Calderon started a nationwide offensive against the powerful and well-armed drug gangs using the Mexican Army. The conflict has unfortunately led to greater bloodshed and less confidence in the government of Mexico.

The church hierarchy in Mexico has officially supported the government campaign but priests in some parts of the country have continued to accept contributions from the local drug lords to pay for church programs, expenses, and repairs. According to Bishop Carlos Aguiar Retes, president of the Mexican Bishops Conference, the drug Lords are quite helpful in their contributions:

“They are very generous with the societies of their towns…they put up lights, communications, roads, at their own expense. . . . Often they also build a church or a chapel.”

Those who are outraged by the church leaders accepting drug gang money have remarked about the leaders that:

“They wash their hands like Pontius Pilate.”

Response: The drug cartels are out of control in Mexico and many are concerned that the drug lords actually control large swaths of territory and thousands of towns and villages in Mexico. Some of the priests in those areas seem to be responding to that reality.

Should the church actually excommunicated the known cartel leaders and gang members? Yes they should–but not merely as a means of punishment or desperation. Rather as a moral and theological response to those who claim to be members and Christians yet continue to live by and do the works of Satan.

To excommunicate the drug cartel members would not only be an act of conscience but would also be courageous. Bishops and priests who would deny sacraments to cartel members could very well find themselves in danger. But quoting Jesus:

“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body… Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” -Matt. 10:28            *Top

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