Friday, April 13, 2007

Colombia: Celibacy -- who cares? But don't neglect child support!

El Tiempo newspaper has been running a clerical telenovela out of the Barranquilla archdiocese. This "all in the family" story would have remained out of the media and ecclesial spotlights had the "father" honored his child support payments in the first place.

The whole sorry mess started when Fr. Mario Solano, then pastor of San Rafael church, performed the marriage between Lorena Escorcia and a "friend" of his, then a law student. When the marriage soured and the couple separated, Fr. Solano got involved with Ms. Escorcia in what was later charmingly described by the auxilliary bishop of Atlántico, Msgr. Luis Antonio Nova Rocha, as "un acto de locura transitoria" ("an act of transitory craziness" -- supposedly qualitatively different from a serious and deliberate violation of chastity vows).

Out of this "acto de locura transitoria", a boy was born who is now 7 years old. Fr. Solano baptized the child but refused to recognize him or support him. So the mother went to her ex-husband -- now a lawyer -- who turned to the Church tribunal to force Fr. Solano to pay child support as required by Colombian law.

And, because this is an "all in the family" telenovela, Fr. Solano is now making his monthly payments, the Church authorities have "forgiven" him because he is not "living in sin" with the mother, and mother and son continue to attend Mass at Jesus of Nazareth in Soledad where Fr. Solano is currently the pastor.

Moral: In Colombia, if you play, you better pay...up!

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