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Costa Rica archbishop: A secular State is not a threat, but a challenge

2014-07-05

Msgr. Jose Rafael Quiros was one of 24 archbishops that received a pallium during the Mass on the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. He had the chance to greet Pope Francis.

MSGR. JOSE RAFAEL QUIROS
Archbishop of San Jose (Costa Rica)
"The first surprise, so to speak, that I take away is knowing that the Holy Father would come out and greet us just minutes later. He greeted us very courteously. And of course, we didn't have a lot of time to talk, but I did express my great joy to be with him.”

The second surprise came when he saw how close he was sitting to Pope Francis during Mass. No one had warned him in advance that he'd have such a privileged position.

MSGR. JOSE RAFAEL QUIROS
Archbishop of San Jose (Costa Rica)
"First off, to concelebrate with the Holy Father is an immense joy. But to be able to be at a papal altar, next to him and to live out that experience, this will mark me for the rest of my life.”

"Cheer up, go on, and always walk forward,” Pope Francis told them during their brief greeting. Msgr. Quiros sees these words as having a direct appeal to Latin America, and especially to the current situation in Costa Rica.

The new Costa Rican government is analyzing the possibility of changing its status from a confessional to a secular State. Msgr. Quiros doesn't view it as a threat, bur rather a challenge.

MSGR. JOSE RAFAEL QUIROS
Archbishop of San Jose (Costa Rica)
"It's clear for us at the Church, and we know perfectly well what the Second Vatican Council says. From there, all doctrine has developed around the concept of a secular State. To recognize that temporal power has its own responsibilities and obligations, and so does the Church. We have our own responsibilities, but that doesn't change the fact that there is a mutual collaboration, especially in topics that deal with the common good.”

Jose Rafael Quiros visited the Vatican with his fellow Costa Rican Floribeth Mora during the canonizations of John Paul II and John XXIII. That was the first time he spoke to Pope Francis. On both occasions, he invited him to visit Costa Rica.


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