By Filipe d'Avillez, in Tablet uk, 07 October 2016
The Portuguese bishops’ conference reacted quickly and positively to his nomination
(Note: Guterres who became Prime Minister of Portugal is a strong opponent of Abortion and therefore a well-beloved of Portugese Catholic Bishops’ Conference. But opposition to and against abortion has strong support from conservative and liberal sections of Catholics, since a lot of grey areas about abortion still remains to be clarified. Global public opinion seems to be more for legalizing abortion. We leave that to medical experts and moral theologians. As an upright Catholic person he needs the support of all.
The more important question is whether he will succeed to strengthen the UN to enforce its Diktats on world powers like US, Russia, China and UK who veto ever so many humanitarian resolutions passed in the UN with majority approval. His goal should be to liberate the UN from countries noted for their economic and military might. May he succeed to do that, we pray. james kottoor, editor)
Guterres was a stellar student at university, during which he was active in the student’s branch of Catholic Action. In 1972 he married his first wife, who died in 1998. He has since remarried. He joined the Socialist Party upon its creation in 1973, when it was still clandestine.
Guterres was part of what at the time was an influential Catholic wing of the Socialist Party. After leading the opposition for a few years he became Prime Minister in 1995, winning a second term in 1999 but stepping down before the end of his mandate, following a crushing defeat in local elections in 2001.
In 1996, when the youth wing of his own party presented a law to legalise abortion by demand up to 12 weeks of pregnancy, Guterres made his opposition known, which encouraged other Catholic socialists to stand against the bill in Parliament, where it was defeated by one vote. In 1998 a new law was proposed and passed, but on the condition that it be subject to referendum. Being Prime Minister, Guterres did not participate actively in the campaign, but maintained his public position against legalisation.
When abortion was eventually legalised in Portugal, in 2007 following a second referendum, Guterres was no longer involved in Portuguese politics, having taken up his role as high commissioner for refugees in 2005.
The Portuguese bishops’ conference reacted quickly to his nomination, commending him for his “deep sense of humanity and faith”.
C-Fam, an independent organisation that lobbies the UN on issues such as family, abortion and gay rights received his nomination warmly, saying: “We look forward to Guterres' tenure as Secretary General. By all accounts he is a measured public servant and has a pro-life record as a politician. We hope this reflects how he would exercise the important office he is being entrusted.”
“A judicious exercise of the office of Secretary General is essential to help keep peace in the world and preserve the good will attached to the UN. Sadly, the UN system's promotion of abortion and LGBT rights under Ban Ki-moon's tenure has eroded much good will. We hope Guterres is able to restore that which was lost and defend the inherent dignity of worth of every human life from conception as well as the place of the family as natural and fundamental group unit of society.