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Evo Morales, Francisco and the Bolivian Church: Friendship and Rejection on the Way to the Election

The relationship between Evo Morales and the Bolivian Catholic hierarchy is not one of the best and has been pronounced under various circumstances in favor of respecting the outcome of the 2016 referendum, where a majority of Bolivia voted against the constitutional reform to qualify of the President and Vice-President.

The friction with the Catholic authorities has been constant during Morale's reign 1

4 years. Although the tone of the ecclesiastical hierarchy seems to have been moderate in recent months, the Bolivian Bishopric, through the bishopric, last week issued a statement that recommended transparent elections . "You cannot accept the control or manipulation of the votes as an instrument of power … A true democracy gives the government legitimacy that arises through a transparent election process and the inviolable respect for the Bolivian people," says the latest statement. 19659003] Bishops' public intervention came a week after the Bolivian Cardinal Toribio Ticona expressed on April 29 in a meeting with the Confederations of Peasant Women Bartolina Sisa, who resembled the government, his Support to the President. "Wherever we must go next to President Evo Morales, we should not just talk, but rather we have to work together, the election comes in. There we have to go together, "he destroyed the Quechua mother tongue first cardinal indigenous people of Bolivian history who last year was invested last year by the Pope in the Vatican, with the former Bolivarian head of state

. Ticona manifested himself near Morales, the authorities of the Bolivian Episcopal Conference came out to quickly clarify that their position is personal and not reflect it from the Church. "Cardinal Toribio Ticona has expressed an opinion that we consider his opinion that we respect and is appropriate for a person whom one of us has a position. " His statement does not restrict the perception of the regional conference, less than the Church but apparently we respect it," Monsignor Eugenio Scarpellini, the bishop of El Alto, one of the government party's bastion cities, told Bolivian media.

But Ticon's affinity with Morales has been nuanced by some altered statements. Last December, when the controversy over the Bolivian Head of State's election for the October 2019 election intensified, he clarified that although he is not from the Presidential Party, Evo is his friend. In the same intervention, the cardinal said Bolivia "is better", now than before, but political battles can lead to destruction. "In the end, I do not agree that you are just controlling ," said Cardinal.

Since the beginning of his administration in 2005, the government has collapsed with Catholic leaders. The new constitution, which was issued in 2009, declared the Bolivian state a layman and ceased to consider the Catholic as the official religion of the country where at least 80 percent of the population would confirm this creed. Since then, MAS has released domination of Catholic rituals from official and festive events. It even stimulates other traditional methods that result from religious syncretism. On April 10 this year, the Law of Religious Freedom, Organizations, and Spiritual Beliefs has also been promulgated, somehow neutralizing the hegemony of the traditional Catholic Church.

The President himself declares himself Catholic, but not the Catholic Church. Vice President Alvaro García Linera, who defines himself as a revolutionary Marxist. Both have constantly criticized the Catholic hierarchy. The clashes with the first Bolivian cardinal, the late Julio Terrazas, one of those who criticized Morale's government and Bishop Tito Solari, who once reported in Cochabamba about the use of children for drug trafficking. 19659004] The two leaders have tried to point out that the differences do not exist with the priests of the base but with the Catholic hierarchies . Other issues that have led to conflicts have been taxation of religious works and the perception of changes in education, where Catholics have a historical contribution and influence. In a few moments of his administration, Evo Morales said the Church was "an instrument of domination" and has encouraged a change that would lead to a "pachamamista" vision of religion in Bolivia. [19659004] Other tensions that are very much remembered are those that occurred with the priest Mateo Laura, because of the budget allocated by the government to health. The religious led a movement to get 10 percent, which disturbed the ruling. Now Mateo Laura is no longer in Bolivia

When the bishops questioned the Supreme Electoral Tribunal to authorize Evo Morale's candidate for his greatest verbal confrontation, despite his defeat in the 21-F referendum. In response, the Vice President replied that the Church should stop doing politics and engage in "saving souls".

"Do not destroy" the church

"] To pray that the church does not engage in politics in the broad sense is to ask him to soften his mission in world "he told Infobae Juan Carlos Velásquez Silvestre, responsible for the formation and advocacy of the pastoral Cáritas Boliviana. He explained that the task of this institution is not just to preach or celebrate the sacraments, but to serve people in poverty.

He recalled that the other Vatican Council states that politics is of interest to the Church and that it has the right to promote it without being confused with partisan options.

On the presidential election in October and the latest bishops' announcement, he explained that he emphasizes the quality of the process. "It should be characterized by conscious, free and responsible citizenship voting."

Referring to the cardinal's position, which supports Evo Morales, he explained that the population must distinguish it Ticona is emeritus or pensioner, and he does not stick to any pins or at the Bolivian Bishopric so his words have no official character. "The cardinal appreciates the appreciation and recognition of his brother-in-law and the societal societies in which he has served. The bishop is forbidden in his personal ability to be close or to show human sympathy to any authority or person. The problem is whether the obvious proximity is instrumentalized politically and partisan The cardinal deserves consideration not to be used. "He also said that it is" a malicious artifice "as some authorities qualify as hierarchical or fundamental to the Church, because it is one and is in communion. "It would be desirable for the people or authorities that divide the imaginary to have a minimal catechism, to avoid bold and deceptive grades."

Regarding the respect of the results of the referendum on February 21, he insisted that the Church or any other institution or person with shaped criteria must ask for the vote to be respected, regardless of any international instrument.

They are concerned about the record truth

From Santa Cruz de Sierra also spoke with Infobae about the election spokesman for Santa Cruz Archbishop, Erwin Bazán. " We are concerned about the growing exploitation of the so-called after truth as an electoral strategy, which is merely legitimizing the lie to support political interests. Bishops have also asked to avoid confrontation, attacks, calories and insults against each other, because they destroy the campaign, it is necessary to guarantee a series of criteria to give the population certainty that their voice will not be manipulated, he said.

In a similar opinion, Velásquez said that it is time the authorities understand that The bishops not only have the right, but the obligation to engage in politics, as it is part of their mission. "This is an old totalitarian accusation," he said.

He also stressed that it is fair to admit that it Catholic Church was one of the first institutions to establish a unanimous and mandatory position to defend the will of the referendum on 21 February uari 2016. Friendship with Pope Francis

Since he was unable to calm the Catholic authorities, Evo once took the Vatican to claim the supposed "political act" of the bishops. The relationship began to change at that level, especially with the selection of Argentine Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the pope.

Francisco performed in a historic visit to Bolivia during the Morales government in 2015, as they apparently show remarkable mutual sympathy to such an extent that Evo Morales calls him " brother Pope " and who thinking about his militia with the liberation theology.

Both have met at least five times, some of them in the same Vatican, and the good relationship has manifested itself in various gestures. One of the last relevant signs of the Pope's constant gaze on Bolivia was the appointment in 2018 of the first native cardinal Toribio Ticona, near Evo Morales and highly valued by him for his ethnic origin and humble origin.

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