The parish priest of Canena, a small village of 2,000 inhabitants in the Andalusian province of Jaén, has gained online notoriety after controversial statements he made during a Mass on Sunday were recorded and uploaded to YouTube by an incensed churchgoer.
With the church filled to capacity thanks to First Communion celebrations, Father Pedro Ruiz shocked many with the lenient views he expressed on the subject of domestic violence.
“Three decades ago, a man might get drunk, go home and beat his wife, but he didn’t kill her the way they do today. Why is that? Because people used to have a sense of morality, they had Christian principles and values that are missing today. Before this, a man who got drunk still knew there was a fifth commandment that said thou shalt not kill,” said the priest.
The video of the priest talking in church (in Spanish).
The owner of a cable company, Antonio García, was among the churchgoers that day, and when he heard these words, he decided that he would later upload the video he was recording to YouTube.
“My heart sank when I heard [what he was saying], and I was so indignant that I decided to upload the video so everyone would know what kind of nonsense is being said in the 21st century,” he said.
The locals feel that the priest’s statements were out of place, especially given that the church was full of children listening to him. Pedro Ruiz also said that these days “there are more crimes, more violence, more drugs, more murders, more domestic violence” than ever before, which is hard to understand considering that “human beings are technically more perfect than they were 30 years ago.”
Angry activists have started a campaign on the website Change.org to get Pedro Ruiz removed from his post. “He lacks the morality that he talks about in his speech, and he is teaching those values to minors,” says the petition.
This newspaper was unable to reach Ruiz for comment.