Paraguay Bishop-Turned-President: Celibacy Flawed

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) - Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo, who last month admitted fathering a son conceived while he was still a bishop, says celibacy vows taken by Roman Catholic clerics are "imperfect."

Lugo stunned Paraguay in April when he recognized as his son a 2-year-old boy born to a former parishioner. Two other woman have claimed he is the father of their sons, and Lugo has agreed to take a DNA test in one of the cases.

Celibacy "is a personal option of faith required by the Catholic church," but everything humans do is flawed, the president said in an interview published Sunday by Argentine newspaper Clarin.

"I believe that only God is perfect, and everything a human being does is imperfect," he added. "Therefore celibacy is also an imperfect question for a man or a woman."

Lugo added that he is slowly adapting to fatherhood.

"It is a responsibility, a learning experience, a new kind of relationship with this person, and also it takes time to dedicate yourself to it," he said.

Lugo also dismissed the idea that the paternity claims have damaged his image, especially among poor Paraguayans who are his power base.

"That the president would recognize his son despite all the power and legal means available to him to avoid doing so, many consider that an act of bravery and courage," Lugo said.

Lugo resigned in 2004 as bishop of San Pedro in the landlocked nation's poorest province, and in December 2006 announced he was
renouncing his bishop status to run for president.

Pope Benedict XVI did not give him permission to resign, relieving him of his chastity vows, until July 2008.


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