Page 1, 9th February 1979

9th February 1979
Page 1
Page 1, 9th February 1979 — Radicals thwart plan to rig Puebla meeting

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Locations: Puebla, Rome


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Radicals thwart plan to rig Puebla meeting

Puebla special -page 3.

The politics that sullied; What is liberation theology; Julian Filochowski in Mexico; Trujillo's letter.

VATICAN attempts to rig the Puebla conference of Latin American Bishops have failed. Despite schemes to exclude progressive bishops and laity from the meeting presently in progress in Mexico, they are having their say and the meeting has moved from the right of the Church to centre and control has been wrested from the conservative Bishop Alfonzo Trujillo, the Secretary General of CELAM.

The bombshell of this week was the revelation of a letter that Bishop Trujillo had written to a conservative Brazilian bishop in which he spoke of trying to influence the candidates put forward for the conference.

In one extract he asked the Brazilian bishop to "prepare your bomber planes and some of your sweet venom" for Puebla.

Discussing the danger of the conference being too progressive he went on to say that the Pontifical Commission for Latin America promised him that "things would be kept on an even keel by the nomination of another very safe bishop. I indicated the danger that lay in opening the way to the next reserve on that list."

Many bishops were affronted by Bishop Trujillo's letter and it could explain why Cardinal Pironio, a moderate Argentinian member of the Vatican Curia left hurriedly for Rome last Sunday. Bishop Trujillo's supporters say that the leaking of the letter is part of an orchestrated campaign by his enemies to influence the conference by personal attack, theft and violation of personal correspondence. Bishop Trujillo offered to resign as CELAM Secretary but was "persuaded to withdraw" the offer.

Happily Pope John Paul, who has returned to Rome has not been involved in these revelations. He should receive the final document from the conference, which ends on Tuesday, before it is released to the world, although it is expected to be leaked from Puebla.

The draft document criticises both Marxist and rightwing military governments and condemns torture and violation of human rights. It describes the worsening social and political situation in Latin America.

It says reform groups have been frustrated by their inability to produce change. Marxist parties have been unable to "formulate viable structural reforms".

The document says while military governments have tried to prevent political parties and trade unions from speaking out.

Meanwhile a wind of change blew through the conference as many liberation theologians, who had previously been excluded, were invited to help draft documents for the 21 commissions which have been established.

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