Mexico City, Mexico – Monsignor Raul Vera Lopez, bishop of Saltillo in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila, baptized a 16-month-old who is being raised by her natural mother and her lesbian partner this past week. This was the second such baptism to take place in Latin America recently, after a similar event took place last month in the Archdiocese of Cordoba, Argentina.
Bishop Vera Lopez has stirred controversy about his views on homosexuality in the past. Two years ago he was investigated by Vatican officials because he had affiliated his diocese with a group that openly promoted the homosexual lifestyle. Bishop Vera was their "spiritual guide." Last year he also said, "You need to be sick in the head" to think homosexuality is a perversion, according to local media.
The bishop met two weeks ago with Pope Francis in Rome, and according to the Mexican newspaper Excelsior, the prelate discussed his views of "caring for vulnerable groups, such as the lesbian-gay community" with the pope.
"I have been open and given clarity to homosexual couples or whatever," said the bishop, according to the pro-gay website CristianosGays. "But some groups within the Church say I promote promiscuity, those are conservative groups that harm pastoral care. Who am I to judge? The Pope has the same attitude as Christ did," he said.
The girl's mother and her partner, Lourdes Badillo and Cristal Cobas, were married in Mexico City, where homosexual unions have legal recognition. The girl was conceived through artificial insemination. Badillo is the natural mother.
|Monsignor Raul Vera Lopez|
Earlier this year, the couple made the headlines by becoming the first homosexual couple in Mexico to have their child accepted into the Mexican government’s social health system, after a long legal battle with the institution. "I am very happy," Cobas told the local media. "This is another small step we must take even if laws and society don’t approve of this type of relationship."
The girl was baptized in the Church of Saint Francis alongside two other children. "There were several couples," said Bishop Vera Lopez. "If I find the natural daughter of one of two women, how can I deny her baptism? If the parents seek it, it’s because there is a Christian faith," he explained to the media.
"To receive baptism there is a preparation, and during these talks certain values are made clear. The Pope already said it: Who am I to judge?" Coahuila’s governor Ruben Moreira, from Mexico’s Party of the Institutional Revolution, welcomed Vera Lopez’ actions saying, "I congratulate him, we needed a voice like his, full of wisdom to tell us that we are all children of God."
While the governor said that the bishop was acting according to Church teaching, the Church’s Code of Canon Law states that for an infant to be baptized in the Catholic Church "there must be a founded hope that the infant will be brought up in the Catholic religion."
"If such hope is altogether lacking, the baptism is to be delayed according to the prescripts of particular law after the parents have been advised about the reason," canon 868 §1 adds.
Last month's baptism in Argentina was criticized over fears that the public ceremony was being used as a publicity stunt to undermine the Church's teachings on homosexuality. The couple in that case chose the president of Argentina as the godmother for their child, and made an extensive media tour following the baptism.
Bishop Vera López has also functioned as the head of two Mexican "human rights" organizations that support the legalization of abortion. "Vera is a dissident," Juan Dabdoub, president of the Mexican Family Council, said. "He only seeks to hurt the Church in everything he thinks the Church is wrong; it is a disobedience. I don’t understand how the Hierarchy tolerates it."Original Story