In their statement about the conduct of Lugo, who was Bishop of San Pedro, the priests recalled that “being faithful to our word defines our essence as free and firm persons. In the Catholic Church nobody is forced to make a vow of chastity or a promise of celibacy. Both point to the same thing: the consecrated renounce biological parenthood so that our parenthood at the service of the Kingdom of God will be more fruitful.”
The priests went on to say Lugo also failed to understand that we are responsible “not only for our actions but also for their consequences.”
“We are not little animals, enslaved by our instincts. We are human beings, with free will bestowed by God. The immediate consequence of this freedom is the responsibility for what we do and what we do not do, and also for the consequences that result from our actions and our omissions. If we fall into sin, not only do we repent and ask for forgiveness, we also assume the consequences without looking for cheap excuses or childish justifications,” they added.
The priests explained later that Lugo also failed to consider the value of the family, “the rights of children and parenthood.”
“All human beings, and especially the most defenseless, are children of God and have inalienable rights. We do not have the right to deprive a child of the experience of having a father, a mother, a well-constituted family, of feeling expected, loved and valued. No child should have to discover that he was a ‘problem,’ a ‘threat’ that has become a reality, some embarrassing that had to be hidden and denied at all costs. It would be much worse of course to deny a child the right to life, falling into the crime of abortion,” they said.
“Neither do we have the right to ‘dazzle’ an underage person with the importance of our position, our possessions or with promises that we are not going to fulfill—and much less use her as an object of sexual satisfaction. That is the corruption of minors!”
The priests also referred to “another anti-value” in the country manifested by the scandal involving the Paraguayan president, namely, those who portrayed Lugo's acknowledgment of his children as a sign of honesty and courage used the situation to score political points. “Is this not in some way adulation and flattery in search of personal benefit?” they asked.
They urged the faithful to pray for priests and bishops, as “we are exposed to the same temptations as everyone else, we are sinners too, but our falls tend to be more spectacular, they cause much harm and hurt many people.”
“Our best response to these incidents is not one of lament but of firm decision to fight for these values in our own lives and to give bold and joyful witness to the fact that one can live coherently, that our Catholic faith does not lead us to be repressive and deceitful, but rather it is a path of authentic happiness and fullness of life.”
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