I must start off with three disclaimers: First, I am not anti-Mexican. On the contrary, I have a great deal of sympathy for what has happened to the Church in Mexico and is still happening there. My father was born in Oaxaca. My great-uncle was Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Oaxaca during the great persecution of the Church and for many years was the only priest who remained in the Archdiocese during those years of terror.
The second disclaimer is that I love and respect my brother bishops in the United States who were born and reared in Mexico. They are good men.
The third disclaimer is that I am not opposed to the appointment of priests born and reared in Mexico to be auxiliary bishops of the larger metropolitan dioceses.
So, why am I opposed to the appointment of any more bishops born and reared in Mexico to be ordinaries of dioceses in the United States?
The answer lies both in the history of Mexico and the present social and political situation in the United States.
From the beginning of the Mexican Revolution up until the visit of Blessed Pope John Paul to Mexico the Mexican Constitution contained provisions which prohibited the clergy from participating in the political life of Mexico. Even after the Pope’s visit it was a rare bishop in Mexico who dared to speak up and teach the people regarding some burning political issue that had serious religious and moral aspects.
Now, the clergy in Mexico, having just begun to find the courage to participate in national debates on such subjects as abortion find themselves threatened by the criminal violence of the drug cartels when they dare to speak out on any subject the drug lords view a posing a threat to their domination in the country.
Priests born and reared in Mexico have acquired a natural instinct to avoid confrontation in the public square. I do not believe that we will ever see a bishop ordinary of an American diocese, who was born and reared in Mexico, take a public stance on an of the burning issues of the United States such as abortion, same-sex marriage, “don’t ask – don’t tell” policy in the military, compensation for domestic partners in civil service, enforcement of Canon 915, etc.
Yet, the deteriorating social and political and well as economic, situation in the United States cries out for leadership from bishops.
This history of the Church since the time of Christ is replete with the witness of brave clergy, bishops and priests alike, who have given witness to the Gospel in the face persecution because they opposed the evil proposed by governments in their time.
Unless and until a bishop born and reared in Mexico can demonstrate the courage and boldness to publicly oppose our elected public officials who ware destroying the moral fibre of our Nation and to apply faithfully and fairly the penal provisions of he Code of Canon Law, I say: please, Holy Father, do not appoint priests and bishops born and reared in Mexico to be ordinaries of dioceses in the United States.