Mexicans Debate Social Issues and Moral Values
By Allan Wall
Disagreement over gay marriage? Arguing over sex education? Fighting over abortion in the court and Congress?
Are we talking about the United States? We could be, but nowadays we could also be talking about Mexico.
The past year has seen debates over moral values, over issues that formerly were not political issues.
The Mexican values debates have attracted the attention of journalists in the United States who seem amazed by them. They often preface their articles by saying something like “conservative Mexico” or “Catholic Mexico.”
Actually, these changes have been underfoot for quite some time, it’s just that many people’s ideas about Mexico are 50 years out of date.
It surprises people to know that Mexico, like other Western countries, has been undergoing vast social changes and modifications of social attitudes. The percentage of single parent families is growing, premarital sex is more accepted, homosexuality is out in the open, and abortion is more common than ever.
Not that everybody is in agreement on these issues, by no means whatsoever. But the old social compact has been broken. In the old days, these things existed but they weren’t out in the open. Now they are.
At the same time, the once universal influence of the Catholic Church has rapidly declined. Although the Catholic percentage of the population is pegged at somewhere between 80 to 90 percent, estimates indicate that only about 25 percent of Mexicans are serious Catholics. Many Mexicans don’t really have a personal religious faith, and though christened as infants and married in the church, they will seldom darken the church door. The Mexican Catholic Church also faces a severe priest shortage, and it has to import priests.
Nevertheless, there is a still a dedicated Catholic remnant, and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church is determined to continue engaging society, to speak up for the Catholic...