Rorate Caeli

"Abortion? Homo marriage?"
"They're legal now, let's move on, OK?"

Río de la Plata: Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, is on the top left, north of the estuary;
Buenos Aires, the "Capital Federal" of Argentina, is on the bottom right, south of the estuary

The small nation of Uruguay, across the Río de la Plata from the native Buenos Aires of Pope Francis, shares with the Porteños next door the same different Spanish accent and the same secularized society.

After the Council, a once militant Church began to accept everything, and there were even bishops embroiled in grave scandals (see this 2009 post, for instance). In the past year the Socialist government approved two laws in a row, legalizing abortion on demand (the first for a South American country) and homosexual marriage.

Uruguay actually had approved abortion on demand once in the 1930s, but the strong reaction of the Church and Catholics led by the hierarchy then forced the Secularist government to back down a few years later, as this "progressive" paper recalls:

In Uruguay the liberalization of abortion lasted for a very short time, because it came into force in October 1934 and in December 1935 a decree of the Ministry of Public Health forbade it in public hospitals. ... Even then, three and a half years later, in January 1938, by way of Law n. 9763, it was definitively forbidden, and considered a crime. It was criminalized again by the action of the lobby of the congressmen of the Unión Cívica, that was the confessional Catholic party at the time, and the support of other Catholic senators and congressmen of the traditional parties. [Source]

No such luck now, as newly named Archbishop Daniel Sturla, of the country's capital Montevideo, appointed by Pope Francis days ago, made clear in an interview earlier this week to local daily El País:

-The government approved last year the legalization of abortion. What is your opinion?

-I think we have to move on [mirar para adelante, lit. "look ahead"] because the law is already approved. And here what is important is a Church that goes out to heal the wounds of society, that keeps defending the life of the unborn, from the first moment of conception until natural death.


-What do you think of the law that approved homosexual marriage?

-The same, it has been approved, we have to move on  [mirar para adelante, lit. "look ahead"]. I am against this law, but I believe that what matters is human dignity more than the sexual condition. I defend the family, formed by man and woman, defend that these families be generous in the transmission of life, and at the same time feel an enormous respect for the persons who form a homosexual couple. It is an error to call it marriage, I believe it is an error for adoption to be allowed to them, but I understand that legal solutions be found.

Once, such words were uttered by Catholic politicians who said they were "personally against, but..." -- that was the infamous case of former New York governor, and founder of the current Gubernatorial Dynasty, Mario Cuomo. Now we have bishops espousing the same arguments!...


"¡Qué buen vasallo sería si tuviese buen señor!"

"What a good vassal, if only he had a good lord!" - one of the most famous sayings of the Castilian language is one that provides great lessons for us. It comes from the Cantar de mio Cid (the Poem of the Cid), precisely from the moment the King of Castile, instead of making good use of El Cid (Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar) for the cause of Christendom, made him roam, rejected, through the streets of Burgos and forced him to find other lords who would indeed put him to good use.

We have often insisted that the Crisis of the Church is a Crisis of Bishops. For reasons only fully known to God Himself, the structure He chose to bestow upon His Church is one in which specific men hold a key position, having themselves both the supreme power of sacramental continuity and the central administration of the local Church. Differently from other kinds of social arrangements, this means that in our Hierarchical Church a good bishop can restore his diocese for generations to come -- yet, it also means that a lousy bishop can ruin the work of generations and transform a flourishing orchard into a wasteland. Millions of Catholics could be ready to work for the Lord in social and political life -- yet so many bishops throw us to the wolves. No wonder many born in Catholic families end up working militantly and often unknowingly for the cause of death.