I want to respond to the article by Jo Stuart that appeared this past Friday after a major religious event here in Costa Rica.
First, the timing of publishing this article (the day after the pilgrimage) by A.M. Costa Rica, was seriously flawed! This annual pilgrimage to the Basilica in Cartago is a sacred event for many thousands of people, a landmark event in Costa Rica and is much more than “exercise and comraderie” for the participants! The president of the Republic chose to walk alongside fellow Ticos in this procession, and to pray in the Basilica in Cartago – in what other country would this happen?
By posting your full throttle attack against the Catholic Church, and making light of the pilgrimage faithful walking to Cartago, you have dishonored and offended those who made the pilgrimage! Additionally, you have offended the multitude of faithful, including yours truly, who did not participate, but read your attack in A.M. Costa Rica!
Next, the Catholic Church, despite all of her flaws, has an unmatched history of providing social services (yes, “humans acting in the name of religion”!) to those in need, homeless, hungry and orphaned! The Church is recognized around the world, to this day, for it’s social services, and for weaving “the social fabric” of human kindness and compassion! I know this first hand, from many years of volunteer services, under the auspices of the Catholic Church, helping displaced families in San Diego, serving meals to homeless men in a Catholic shelter in Seattle, and working in a Catholic orphanage in Tecate, Mexico.
Your article has many cutting barbs in it, barbs that are offensive and in poor taste! Shame on you for this! And shame on A.M. Costa Rica for publishing them on the heels of a major national religious event, an event that I felt honored and humbled to witness for the first time. And lest we forget, we are visitors in a country that is constitutionally Catholic! We have an obligation to be respectful of the Costa Rican culture and the faith of the majority of the people!
Santa Cecilia de Heredia