Thursday, August 9, 2018

Daughter of Argentinian Priest Speaks Out: "When Carlos Gamboa and the Church He Represents Talk About 'Yes to Life,'" What Do They Mean by That?

The following is the testimony of Agustina Maria Gamboa Arias, a young woman who was fathered by — but never supported or acknowledged publicly by — an Argentinian priest, Carolos Gamboa, who recently went on Argentinian television to speak out against a bill to legalize abortion, stating, "Every life is worthy," and that all children who are alive deserve support:

Fathers and teenage daughters at loggerheads over a political issue isn't news. Imagine if the father in question is a prominent priest in the archdiocese who holds traditional views on reproductive rights and you, his daughter and guilty secret, are a feminist. Agustina Maria Gamboa Arias, did not reveal her biological father's identity for 18 years, but when she saw Fr. Carlos Gamboa, a member of the Archdiocese of Salta, Argentina, on the TV program La Otra Campana speaking out against the bill to legalize abortion that her nation's government is considering, she knew she could no longer keep silent. On July 29th, Gamboa Arias issued the following statement on her Facebook page, revealing her father's identity, his past actions, and her opposition to his views (what follows are statements of Agustina Gamboa Arias on Facebook):

In the interview in which he appeared, Gamboa talks about "accompanying the woman who is in the dilemma of continuing or interrupting a pregnancy." He also talks about "supporting the kids who are alive." Being his daughter, I went through many abandonment issues because Carlos Gamboa never cared to know me. 
Based on my insistence, we were able to coordinate some meetings that became more and more complicated. We would see one another at service stations far from anyone who might recognize him. In the meetings he would repeat the argument that he loved me but that he couldn't be my father. In those days for a girl of 6 or 7 years, it was a very confusing story since I didn't have the emotional tools to understand what he was saying in such a contradictory way. I was a girl who believed my father loved me; I waited for his calls on important dates like birthdays and holidays or any show of interest that never came. 
There were never any initiatives on his part, despite the fact that my mother and my heart father [stepfather] offered him many options to facilitate our bond like meeting in other provinces or paying his fare to the Federal Capital, the place where I live, so he could come see me. He never agreed and with the passing of time, the silences were longer and longer. 
I understood a lot later, in my adolescence that my father didn't love me so I sought affection in other members of my paternal family. Through the social networks I started to look for everyone with the last name Gamboa who might be a relative. There were many and I was even able to meet a cousin who with her parents and brothers, received me with joy. However, that unleashed a storm that manifested itself in verbal and psychological abuse over the phone by Gamboa towards me and my mom…. 
So when Carlos Gamboa and the Church he represents talk about "yes to life," "yes to all life," and "every life is worthy," I ask myself what does he mean by that? Why does he feel he has the moral authority to say it so lightly? Imposing with this argument a way of thinking on society, knowing that his words have a lot of weight but his actions contradict him. I have to say that all this seems total hypocrisy to me.

Thanks to Rebel Girl of the Iglesia Descalza blog (the first link above points to that blog) for the translation of Agustina Gamboa Arias' Facebook statement, and to Sarasi, who reminded me of this article after I had noted it and then forgotten to read it.

The photo of Agustina Gamboa Arias is from the Iglesia Descalza article linked at the head of this posting.

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