Writing in Hoy today, Friday 18 March 2016, journalist Millizen Uribe shares her opinion on the local Roman Catholic Church's latest position on sexuality. The Catholic Church has taken a strong stance against US ambassador James Brewster, a gay rights activist.
In the past, the church has also campaigned to influence government positions against abortion, forcing Congress to eliminate the option from the Constitution and legislation. Only the late Jesuit priest father Jose Luis Aleman was a dissident, calling abortion a public health issue in which the Church should not intervene.
Writing in Hoy, Uribe points out that the Church has also used its influence positively, as it did when it withdrew its support from the Trujillo regime, despite the privileges granted to the Roman Catholic Church by the dictator.
She continues by describing, however, how damaging the influence of the church can be, especially when it used its influence to destabilize the democratically elected government of Professor Juan Bosch.
Bringing matters to the present she comments that there is great inequality in income distribution and in guaranteeing rights in the DR. She says that life here is affected by poverty, corruption, violence, unemployment, health crises, judicial crises, etc. "But few of those topics call the attention of the Church as much as the sexuality of the population, in which case the Church uses its power overwhelmingly," she writes.
She reminds readers: "When the decriminalization of abortion in the Constitution was discussed, the Church called on its faithful to not vote for legislators who would vote in favor."
"And now it has come forth against the homosexuality of the ambassador of the United States James Wally Brewster," she comments, and then asks:
"How many times have they protested when corrupt politicians have visited schools?"
"How many signatures did the protectors of traditional Dominican values collect for the country to submit to justice or expel the violator of rights of minors, nuncio Jozef Wesolowski?"
"Why did the Church not use its influence, with equal interest and insistence, to instruct the faithful to punish corrupt government officials, businesspeople and politicians in the polls, instead of its hierarchy socializing with them and legitimizing them in baptisms and weddings?"
"Why does the homosexuality of the ambassador bother them but not the US interventionist policies in economic and political matters?"
She concludes: "An individual's sexuality is personal and intimate. The Church does not have to intervene and the state only needs to guarantee rights."