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Bolivia’s president accuses bishops of cooperating in jewel heists from churches

Catholic World News - April 30, 2013

President Evo Morales of Bolivia, a socialist who has often clashed with the Church’s hierarchy, has accused the nation’s bishops of cooperating in a rash of thefts of jewels from churches.

Six have been arrested for the thefts, including three priests.

“Every day you read in the papers about this Lady who's been stripped of her jewels, or that saint who's missing his adornments,” said Morales. “But who has the keys to the churches?”

“It's the bishops, and the bishops know who comes and goes, and therefore they know who took the jewels.”

Cardinal Julio Terrazas Sandoval and the episcopal conference denounced Morales’s accusations in separate statements.

“The pastoral service of a bishop is not carry in their pocket the keys to open the temples, but to be close to the people and not to make them sleep, but to make them stay awake so that nobody can take away their freedom,” said Cardinal Terrazas. “It is not by qualifying accomplices or raising the voice against bishops that things are resolved.”

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