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Costa Rica archbishop uses annual Catholic pilgrimage to promote church’s anti-gay, anti-IVF agenda

In a reminder that Costa Rica’s Catholic Church is still woefully stuck in the past, one of its highest leaders on Sunday used the annual pilgrimage to Cartago, which draws an estimated 2 million people each year, to speak out against legalizing gay civil unions and in vitro fertilization.

During a Sunday sermon to commemorate the annual romería, or pilgrimage, to the colonial city of Cartago and its Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Los Ángeles, San José Archbishop José Rafael Quirós made several references to the need for families to be integrated by a husband and wife, calling marriage between a man and a woman a “patrimony of humanity.”

To prove this point, Quirós cited the biblical figures of Joseph and Mary, urging “all nations” to “consider this reality.”

In the audience were Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís and First Lady Mercedes Peñas.

Quirós also mentioned proposed legislation to legalize IVF, which Solís’ administration this week sent to the Legislative Assembly for consideration. Costa Rica is the only country in the Western Hemisphere to ban IVF, and Solís’ promotion of the bill responds to a requirement to do so by the San José-based Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

Three years have passed since the court condemned Costa Rica for prohibiting IVF. Costa Rica has continued to ignore that ruling, primarily because of conservative Christians in the Assembly and a powerful Catholic Church that still influences politics in this small Central American country of just under 5 million.

“There is no lack of international pressure tied to aid” to obligate the adoption of “certain reproductive policies,” Quirós claimed.

Fulfilling a campaign promise, Solís this week also promoted the legalization of gay civil unions via another piece of proposed legislation sent to lawmakers.

To read more of the archbishop’s thinking, follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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