The Conferencia del Episcopado Mexicano (Mexican Bishops’ Conference) has issued a clarification further condemning the devotional tradition surrounding La Santa Muerte. In a statement that tightens the official position on the cult, the Conference details a number of points that draw no uncertain terms on the orthodox rejection of Santa Muerte as a legitimate, or even benign, faith tradition.
It is interesting to note that in clarifying their position, the Bishops focus on the “Traditional Catholic Church, Missionaries of the Sacred Heart and St. Philip of Jesus,” the organization created by “Archbishop” David Romo a year after Dona Queta opened her shrine to the public in 2001. Romo is notorious for issuing a “holy war” against the Catholic Church in 2009, and in 2011 was jailed on charges that included kidnapping and money laundering. In attempting to coordinate a more unified tradition for Santa Muerte’s devotions, Romo, and his interpretation of the tradition, have become central to both the Catholic Church, and Mexican government’s, negative reactions to the faith.
The following is an English translation of the first part of the clarification:
Statements of the Bishops of Mexico
1. The bishop who supposedly follows this sect is NOT ordained as a priest.2. It is a sect3. The so called “Traditional Catholic Church, Missionaries of the Sacred Heart and St. Philip of Jesus” are NOT Catholics, nor traditionalists. They are not a church.4. Those who fall into this type of cult are people who are desperate, not because of an economic crisis, but rather from a crisis of faith.5. Catholics who fall into this cult must know that it is a grave sin: idolatry (“popular piety” without any doctrinal basis or theological justification)And they warn the followers of Santa Muerte that “this is not a game, nor is death a divine deity, behind this cult there is something demonic and people should be very careful. Behind this is the kingdom of evil and people can become victims of demonic possession. “The Catholic Church warns of the danger of worshiping “Saint Death”, the consequences can mean the loss of a family member or household misfortunes.This is not a Catholic devotionThe Santa Muerte cult has become so widespread in Mexico that those who profess it have decided to no longer hide their fervor and public altars have been erected on the street for anyone who wants to invoke her help.Its promoters present it as a “spiritual entity” that has existed ever since the beginning of time until today, which channels an energy called the “energy of death” and can materialize in a figure which concentrates both the creative and destructive forces of the universe. According to them, believers in Saint Death can learn to control this force that emanates from consecrated images, because the Most Holy One (another one of her names) is one of the strongest protections that exist.It should be pointed out that Catholics who worship Santa Muerte and its images, are committing a very grave sin, because they are attributing to it powers that do not exist and never will. Moreover, instead of putting their trust in God, they put it in a supposed spiritual entity (or being) that, simply, does not exist. In reality, Santa Muerte is not a person.–