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Chilean Bishops Warn New Constitution Threatens Life and Religious Freedom

by | Jul 29, 2022

By Parliamentary Network for Critical Issue 

A new constitution is set to be approved or rejected in a national vote on September 4. The Catholic bishops conference in Chile has studied the text and is warning that “An informed discernment and a conscientious vote is necessary”. The bishops most strenuously object to the proposition that abortion is a so-called right as the “most morally serious provision contained in the constitutional project”. 

The bishops write that the proposed constitution “introduces abortion, and it does so at the highest normative level, the constitutional one.” The bishops explain that it establishes that the State guarantees “the exercise of this right, free from interference by third parties, whether individuals or institutions” which excludes the father but also affects the exercise of personal and institutional conscientious objection which will “directly affect the ethical, religious and moral conceptions of many people.”

The bishops state that even in “sometimes complex situations in which a new life is born, we must not forget that the embryo is a human being whose inalienable rights of the person must be recognized”. They oppose the idea that problems can be solved by eliminating a human life expressing the belief that “the creature conceived in the womb is another human being, with a different and individual genetic code.”

Religious freedom is threatened, the bishops warn, as it must be exercised “in accordance with the law, respecting the rights, duties and principles established by this Constitution” (art. 67.4), The bishops list ways the Constitution conflicts with religious beliefs. They write that the “problem is that the project, among other aspects, supports the right to abortion, assumes a questionable orientation of sexual education where parents participate in a very insufficient way, and promotes a radical theory of gender; all aspects incompatible with the Christian faith. By being subject to what is established in the proposed Constitution, religious freedom is put at risk, which is aggravated if we consider that the proposal does not give conscientious objection constitutional status.”

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