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Church influence lingers over election despite laws

On April 14, in a meeting that lasted just over an hour, the three candidates for the Mexican presidency met with Catholic Church bishops, at which each gave a brief outline of their plans should they win the election, before listening to comments from the ecclesiastical leaders.

pg7aA month earlier, on March 11, the three candidates - Xóchitl Gálvez of the PAN, PRI y PRD alliance, Claudia Sheinbaum of Morena y Jorge Máynez of the Movimiento Ciudadano—had also joined up to sign the National Commitment to Peace, an initiative proposed by the Catholic Church to address growing violence in the nation.  This initiative was a result of the National Dialogue for Peace, which took place in September 2023, organized by the Mexican Bishops’ Conference, the Society of Jesus, and the Conference of Major Superiors of Religious of Mexico.

Despite the strict laws separating church and government in Mexico, politicians are acutely aware of the influence of religion in a country in which almost 90 percent of the population adheres to the Catholic faith.

The Catholic church was an integral part of Spain’s colonial government of Mexico for nearly 300 years. The post-independence, 19th-century liberal “reformation” period, followed by the Mexican Revolution and the brief “anticlerical” Cristero civil war, significantly curtailed its economic power and privileges.

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