MEXICO CITY -- Catholicism, the majority religion in Mexico, and its most visible rites survive here during the Christmas season as a cult, with ever fewer of the faithful committed to true Christian values, a Jesuit priest says.
The Rev. Enrique Maza has just published "Rostros del Hombre" (Faces of Man), in which he says that the Bible continues to be a valid work "in its description of what a human being should be."
In a telephone interview with Efe, Maza said that today's Catholic Church "has become an institution of power and has made the Gospels into an institution of power," very far from the teachings of the New Testament.
In the specific case of Mexico, he said that the existence of a profoundly unequal society, with serious problems of poverty, ignorance and malnutrition, shows that we haven't come far enough to live close to what the Scriptures preach.
"The basic commandments of the Bible are love and justice. There's none of that in these situations. That's where we have to start," the priest said.
The crisis of Catholicism in Mexico, where close to 90 percent of the population claims to profess that religion, is easily observed during the Christmas season, a time that "for many people is just a vacation," Maza said.
Mexico "is a deeply Catholic country but not deeply Christian. Christianity is loving one other," he said.
For Maza, the worst of it is that "the cult is supplanting the human attitude" through a Catholicism that has become "more way of praying" than a way of life based on love and justice.
Maza believes that a free union of two people, regardless of their sexual orientation, should be considered marriage, something now being considered by the Mexico City municipal assembly.
In that respect, he said that one of the most serious problems of the Catholic Church is its tendency to impose its own criteria, as happens with its rejection of homosexual marriage.
"If the Catholic Church doesn't change, and I don't believe it will, that is because it has a terrible blindness...People are going to leave it," said Maza, who has aired his critical perceptions in a number of essays on such topics of social justice as immigration.