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Paraguay’s President-Elect Laicized

By Dr. Jeff Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Jul 30, 2008

On April 28th I commented on the problem faced by the Vatican with the election of Fernando Lugo Mendez, a bishop, as President of Paraguay. Speculation was rife concerning what Rome might decide to do (see Bishop Fernando Lugo Mendez, President of Paraguay). My own conclusion was expressed in the closing paragraph:

The Vatican has had to deal with tricky political situations before, and sometimes it has no moral choice but to oppose a particular ruler. The Pope could excommunicate Lugo, or even place Paraguay under an interdict, two related measures that might have been very effective at one time, in a more Catholic social order. I can sympathize with all who have itchy trigger fingers. But in this case, the best course for everyone would seem to be to laicize Lugo. Then the Vatican would no longer be dealing politically with a bishop, and Paraguay’s remaining bishops could get on with their jobs.

Today, with the installation of Mendez as President looming on August 15th, the Vatican announced that the President-elect would be laicized to avoid unnecessary conflict with the Paraguayan people. Of course, technically this does not make me right. Only God knows if this was the “best course”. But it is the course Rome has decided to follow. And my point is? Aw shucks, I hope you’ll remember that you heard it first—three months before it happened—on

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and See full bio.

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