Brendan Gilligan

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Peru’s bishops call for ‘honest and independent judicial system’

Peru’s bishops have called for guarantees of “constitutional rule of law and an honourable, honest and independent judicial system” as the country faces a widening corruption scandal.

“It is impossible to continue to tolerate living with corruption,” the bishops wrote in a statement issued last Thursday. They decried “deep-rooted corruption” and the “unacceptable primacy of special interests, to the detriment of the common good.”

Their message came as a scandal that began in Brazil, involving bribes and kickbacks to politicians from the Odebrecht construction company, continued to expand, accompanied by a more local case of drug trafficking and influence peddling that has snared public prosecutors and judges.

Saying that Peruvians “demand a radical change,” the bishops urged people to vote in a “historic and decisive” referendum on anti-corruption and government reform measures, scheduled for 9th December.

The bishops’ letter came just days after former Peruvian President Alan Garcia sought political asylum in the Uruguayan ambassador’s residence in Lima. He claimed he was a victim of political persecution after a government prosecutor ordered his detention in connection with the Odebrecht case.

Four other former presidents are also under investigation or facing charges in that case. One, Alejandro Toledo, is a fugitive in the United States.

The title of the bishops’ statement, “Keeping Hope Alive,” echoed the words of Pope Francis when he spoke against corruption during his visit to Peru last January.

The bishops said the country faces the “urgent task” of rebuilding its political class and ensuring that the branches of government are independent. They called on law schools to stress ethics and to stand up for “a decent and fair life for all.”

The prelates urged Peruvians to listen to the cry of young people who are protesting the corruption.

“What kind of Peru do we want to leave them?” they asked. “What legacy do we want to bequeath them?”

Photo: A man opposed to former Peruvian President Alan Garcia holds a sign reading “Uruguay, don’t protect the corrupt,” during a protest outside the residence of the Uruguayan ambassador in Lima.

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OTHER NEWS

Pandemic is ‘our long Good Friday’

The Bishop of Plymouth has described the period we are living through as “a long Good Friday”. Recognising the loss of normal services, as well as the ordinary pastoral activity of the Church, during the pandemic, Bishop Mark O’Toole encouraged people to recognise the...

Anger as elderly pressured into signing DNR forms

Older people are feeling pressured into signing ‘Do Not Attempt CPR’ forms during the Covid-19 pandemic, a coalition of charities said. Organisations supporting the elderly said they were hearing ‘shocking examples’ of blanket decisions seemingly being made about the...

Google searches for ‘prayer’ skyrocket amid Covid-19 pandemic

Google searches for ‘prayer’ have surged worldwide as cases of Covid-19 have grown. The rising interest in seeking information about ‘prayer’ on Google ‘skyrocketed in March when the virus went global’, wrote Jeanet Sinding Bentzen, an associate professor at the...

Cardinal Pell released from prison after court overturns conviction

Cardinal George Pell has been released from prison after 405 days behind bars after the seven judges of the High Court of Australia unanimously overturned the original December 2018 jury verdict that found him guilty on five counts of molesting two 13-year-old...