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America

2003-11-05

AMERICA/ARGENTINA - “IN A PLURALIST SOCIETY MINORITY GROUPS MUST EXPRESS THEMSELVES WITH RESPECT FOR THE RELIGIOUS SENTIMENT OF THE MAJORITY”: SOLIDARITY WITH THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AFTER INSULTS AND OFFENSIVE PAINTINGS ON THE CATHEDRAL WALLS ON NOVEMBER 1

Buenos Aires (Fides Service) – Several statements have reached Fides Service, expressing unanimous condemnation of offence against the Catholic community in Argentina on 1 November. During a civil rights march organised by representatives of the Argelina homosexual community and the Argentinean Association of Transsexual Persons and Transvestite, a group of demonstrators painted the outside walls of the Buenos Aires cathedral with offensive details on the columns and facade and launched insults against the Catholic Church deeply wounding the religious sentiments of the Argentinean people.
In a press statement the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires affirmed “in a pluralist society, when minority groups express themselves, it would be logical for them to show respect for the religious sentiments of the majority”. Since the majority is Catholic these paintings offend the religious sentiments of the Argentinean people. The statement also speaks of a lack of respect for Buenos Aires cathedral “which besides being a place of prayer for Catholics, is a privileged witness of the history of Argentina a national monument in which the earthly remains of the fathers of the nation are preserved”. Lastly the statement recalls that the Church’s attitude towards the sexual behaviour of individuals persons has always been an attitude of understanding and respect. “It is to be hoped that in a free nation it is possible to dissent with the ideas without offending persons and the institutions they represent ”.
Several institutions voiced harsh condemnation of the offensive acts manifesting solidarity with the Catholic Church and Catholic community in Argentina. The Islamic Centre of the Republic of Argentina issued in a statement on 3 November 2003 signed by the President Adel Mohamed Made, expressing profound concern for the incident: “The episode offends not only the Catholic community it wounds the large majority of Argentina’s social tissue. In a country which guarantees religious freedom unfortunately we still see some sectors which demonstrate harsh intolerance”. The Jewish community in Argentina expressed harsh condemnation through its president José Hercman and general secretary Julio Toker.
Through its Secretary General Héctor Raùl Neri, the Trade Union of Private Teachers voiced condemnation as follows: “as institutions committed to education we are aware that this type of action is no contribution to the social peace to which all citizens aspire or to the due respect owed to our institutions, including the Catholic Church. The Co-ordination of Private Institutes of Education through its executive secretary Carlos José Galli said it was, “united with rightful rejection of this dishonourable action”. (RG) (Fides Service 5/11/2003; lines 30; Parole 399)

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