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Vatican warns Paraguayan bishop against run for president

Vatican warns Paraguayan bishop against run for president

The Vatican on Tuesday called upon a retired Roman Catholic bishop to give up his plans to run for president or face canonical sanctions.
But retired Bishop Fernando Lugo said he already resigned from the priesthood to lead a planned opposition alliance and challenge conservative President Nicanor Duarte of the Colorado Party in elections scheduled for May 2008.
The communique from the Vatican, released by the apostolic nunciature and signed by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, threatened to suspend Lugo's authority as a priest as a "first sanction." It was not clear whether the text was written before the resignation.
"In the name of Jesus Christ, I ask him to seriously reflect about his behavior," the Vatican warning read.
Lugo, 55, was appointed Bishop of the impoverished northern San Pedro diocese by Pope John Paul II in 1994, but 10 years later he was ordered to retire. No reasons were announced.
"I am at the disposal of the people, entering the political arena," Lugo said on Monday.
The communique from the Vatican flatly rejected the former bishop's political plans.
"The Holy See has learned with surprise that some political parties have the intention of presenting him as candidate in the coming presidential election in Paraguay," the statement added. "The acceptance of that offer would be clearly against the serious responsibility of a bishop. ... Canonic Law prohibits priests from participating in political parties or labor unions."
Lugo did not immediately comment on the Vatican warning. On Monday, he said Pope Benedict XVI "can either accept my decision or punish me. But I am in politics already."
Duarte's Colorado Party has ruled Paraguay for more than five decades.


Updated : 2021-05-17 03:38 GMT+08:00