Church in row over "purified" drug money
Wed Sep 21, 2005 11:49 AM ET
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A Mexican bishop sparked a row with the
government on Tuesday after he admitted the Catholic Church accepted
alms from drug traffickers and that they were "purified" when they
reached its coffers.
Ramon Godinez, the bishop of Aguascalientes in central Mexico, said
donations from drug gangs occurred "everywhere" in the country,
adding that it was "not up to us to investigate where the money comes
from," daily Reforma newspaper reported.
"You don't have to burn the money just because it's bad. It's better
to transform it ... I've known of cases (where) it's been purified," he added.
The remarks caused controversy in Mexico, where more than 1,000
people have been gunned down this year in a spiraling war between
rival drug gangs, many in cities along the U.S. border.
Government spokesman Ruben Aguilar slammed Godinez's remarks at a
news conference on Tuesday, telling reporters that "no one can allow
organized crime to act with impunity."
"Nobody can be allowed to receive illegal funds under any
circumstances (and) no one can promote money laundering in this way," he added.
In a bid to crack down on drug gangs, President Vicente Fox has sent
hundreds of troops and federal police to frontier states this year.
Godinez's remarks may have been out of step with the Catholic Church.
Bishops in northern Mexico said earlier this year that the
multibillion-dollar cross-border trade in cocaine, marijuana and
amphetamines went against church teaching.
I was just in Aguascalientes last week. Doesn't surprize me one bit.
Sounds like the Church is going to be in Aguascalientes over this one.
That's what you get when you