Mexican president in marriage annulment scandal

Priest accused

Less than a week before the arrival of Pope Francis in Mexico, local journalists have claimed that Mexican president’s wedding to a soap opera star was possible only because leading Church figures lied to help annul her previous marriage, reports Crux.

The charge comes from journalist Carmen Aristegui and the weekly magazine Proceso, and is based on documents linking the wedding to the destruction of the career of a popular Mexican priest once known as the “Father of the Stars.”

In 2004, soap opera star Angélica Rivera married the father of her three children and longtime partner, soap opera producer José Alberto Castro Alva, in the Church de Nuestra Señora de Fátima in Mexico City.

Nine days later, Rivera and Castro held another ceremony to celebrate their union on a beach in the resort city of Acapulco.

Four years later, the couple divorced. Soon after, the actress began dating the current President Peña Nieto, then the governor of the State of Mexico. (Peña Nieto’s first wife died in 2007 after an epileptic seizure.)

In 2008, Peña Nieto’s bid to become president was gathering steam, with help from Mexico’s main TV network Televisa. Rivera was one of the network’s most popular stars and was hired to do some spots for his campaign, which is how the two met.

Talk about a wedding soon followed, but it couldn’t happen in the Church unless the actress’ first marriage was annulled.

In 2009, the couple travelled to the Vatican, and the politician gave Rivera her engagement ring in St Peter’s Basilica.

The magazine claims that Rivera managed to get her annulment in record time, in a process full of irregularities. It points to high-level figures in the Church with close ties to the political elite, particularly the Archbishop of Mexico City, Cardinal Norberto Rivera, as having greased the wheels.

According to an excerpt from the annulment resolution of May 2009, the tribunal of the Archdiocese of Mexico declared Rivera’s marriage to Castro “null and invalid” because of “defects of canonical form.”

The magazine’s investigation claims that the tribunal ruled the marriage was invalid because it held that the priest involved, Fr José Luis Salinas, had tricked Rivera into marrying at a church without her knowledge, with another priest officiating, and then pretended the ceremony at the beach was the real thing, when it wasn’t.

Photo: Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Angélica Rivera at their wedding in 2010 (AP)

FULL STORY With the pope on the way, Mexico’s president is embroiled in scandal

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