On this day of the historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling recognizing a constitutional right to marriage for LGBT citizens, it's very much worth noting that the U.S.'s neighbor to the South, Mexico, legalized marriage equality on 17 June. And so it's entirely fitting on this day that I share with you this outstanding essay that Brittmarie Janson Perez sent me several days ago, commenting on the Mexican ruling and the response of the Mexican Catholic hierarchy to the ruling.
As Brittie suggests, Exorcisms? Really? And as she states with such forcefulness, "There is a manifest incongruity between the weight given to Mexico's dramatic situation, which entails daily loss of life, and the attention given by the prelates to gay marriage and the adoption of children by gays." Brittie's essay follows (and I'm very grateful for it and honored to publish it here):
Mexican Prelates' Campaign Against Gay Marriage and Adoptions Brittmarie Janson Perez
The exorcism performed by cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez, archbishop emeritus of Guadalajara, was but one more effort by the Mexican Catholic Church in its determined battle against the Mexican judicial system in issues involving sex. It is hard to understand why prelates should be expending energy and prestige in such a quest beause they are going against prevailing currents. For example, a recent poll showed 70% appproval of gay marriage and in the past — the Mexican Revolution and the 1917 Constitution which pushed back hard against the power of the Church — the country's political culture has not been amenable to high-handed incursions of Church power in the legal sphere.
Among Mexico's most acute problems are: desperate poverty, generalized corruption fostered by the vast amounts of money available to the drug trafficking gangs, and the unchecked violence of these gangs in collusion with government authorities that has led to the coining of the term "narcopoliticos." In fact, the technical savvy of these gangs was dramatically revealed a few days ago in Reynosa — a city in the bordering state of Tamaulipas plagued by drug violence — when it was discovered that drug gangs had installed 39 hidden surveillance cameras at traffic lights in key points around the city to warn them in advance of police movements.
The Mexican Church itself has been a target of drug trafficking gangs as in the past two years, 10 brave priests who stood up to the narcos have been murdered and two have been made to disappear. Additionally, the hierarchy has had to contend with the emergence of false or "counterfeit" priests who take advantage of guileless peasants. Though Mexican prelates have protested against this dreadful state of affairs, there is a manifest incongruity between the weight given to Mexico's dramatic situation, which entails daily loss of life, and the attention given by the prelates to gay marriage and the adoption of children by gays.
Proponents of same sex marriage, which had first been approved in the federal district of Mexico City but not in all states, won an initial battle in August 2010 when the Supreme Court — which counts such prestigious figures as José Ramón Cossío Díaz and Arturo Zaldívar — decided that same sex marriage was not contrary to the Constitution and should be recognized as a legal marriage in all Mexican states. Mexico City Cardinal Norberto Rivera called it "aberrant." Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iñiguez of Guadalajara asserted that it was very disappointing to see the Supreme Court become the country's "supreme deception."
Crucial in the battle against legalizing the adoption of children by gay couples was the Church's long-held stand that the main purpose of marriage was procreation. However, the formal decision that the Supreme Court handed down on 17 June 2015, states:
As the purpose of marriage is not procreation, there is no justified reason for the union to be heterosexual, nor for a requirement that it be between one man and one woman. Such requirement is demonstrably discriminatory (...) because it unjustifiedly excludes access to marriage of homosexual couples who are situated in similar conditions to heterosexual couples.
The Mexican Episcopal Conference (CEM) thereupon issued a bulletin opposing the Supreme Court's decision. Among its reasons, CEM charged that "It's not up to the Supreme Court to create new forms of matrimony because then it would not be matrimony, but another type of union."
The exorcism conducted in the cathedral of San Luis Potosí on 20 May 2015 was a secret ceremony, confirmed Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez, archbishop emeritus of Guadalajara. Aside from the cardinal, the officiants were the bishop of San Luis Potosí, Carlos Cabrero, eight Mexican exorcists, and Spanish demonologist Fr. Antonio Fortea. Though its principal objective was against legalized abortion in Mexico City which, according to the cardinal, "opened the door to the Devil" because it legalizes homicides, the cardinal has been vehement in his battle against gay marriage, calling the latest Supreme Court decision an "immense aberration." In San Luis Potosí, where the exorcism was held, in the past year three priests have been accused of pederasty, one of them, Eduardo Córdova, has been charged with raping over a hundred children.
On the 20 May exorcism ceremony: "Sandoval Íñiguez confirma un 'magno exorcismo' hecho por arzobispos contra el aborto," 20 Minutos.
Ditto: "Arzobispos y sacerdotes realizan 'Magno exorcismo' en México," El Diario.
Information on recent poll re: support for gay marriage: Jan Martínez Ahrens, "La Iglesia mexicana carga contra el matrimonio homosexual," El País.
On the Mexican Supreme Court decision: Jan Martínez Ahrens, "El Supremo de México avala el matrimonio homosexual,"El País.
Ditto: "El Tribunal Supremo de México ratifica la constitucionalidad del matrimonio gay," Salvador Camarena, El País.
On bishops' response to Mexican Supreme Court decision: "Los obispos rechazan fallo de la SCJN que abre la puerta al matrimonio gay," CNN.
Ditto: Iván Saldaña, "Iglesia rechaza a SCJN sobre matrimonios gay," Excélsior.
On drug traffickers' electronic surveillance: Juan Diego Quesada, "The all-seeing eye of Mexico's cartels," El País.
On priests' murders: "10 Sacerdotes asesinados en México de 2013 a 2015," Centro Católico Multimedial.
On drug operatives posing as priests: Zoila Bustillo Posas, "Blindan credenciales contra sacerdotes 'piratas,'" Sistema Informativo de la Arquidiócesis de México.
On protest of Mexican prelates against violence: Raquel Seco, "¿Está América Latina preparada para el matrimonio gay?," El País.
The graphic: the U.N.'s "Universal Declaration of Human Rights," article one.