The president of the Legislative Assembly, Carolina Hidalgo, expressed her displeasure over the Catholic Church’s Ash Wednesday mass taking place in the Salón de Expresidentes (Ex-president’s hall), on Wednesday, during working hours, without the proper permission.

The Lenten Mass (misa de cuaresma in Spanish) for Catholic officials of the Legislative Assembly was held in the Hall of Ex-President. It was officiated by Catholic priest Sergio Valverde. Photo: Aaron Sequeira.

For his part, Catholic priest Sergio Valverde denounced the obstacles to hold the mass held at 1:00 pm, and lasting almost one hour.

Hidalgo pointed out that the Legislative Directorate only authorizes religious activities outside working hours and that they be held in the Rotonda de la Patria, a kind of internal hall of the legislative building.

Hidalgo said she does not know why the decision of the Legislative Directorate was disobeyed.

In fact, at the very beginning of the mass, the priest made a comment, where he alleged that it had cost him to hold the mass, that they he had to obtain a certain number of signatures for the permission, finishing his comment saying: “What is good for the goose, is good for the gander”.

Hidalgo, talking to La Nacion, said she didn’t know the reasons why the priest made the comments, noting that it is traditional to obtain permission from the Directorate to hold masses in the building.

“I respect the beliefs and customs of each of the different religions, but I think they should not be done during working hours. Religious practice must occur outside of working hours, that us, after 6 pm or during a work break, which could be lunchtime,” said Hidalgo.

The legislator emphasized that one thing is the political and civil role of the institution that is the Legislative Branch of government, and another thing is the personal religious life of the officials.

“Out of respect for all religions, what corresponds is to be respectful, but our beliefs are a separate issue of our work,” said the legislative president.

She added that the rules are for everyone.