Jose Galat, Founder, President and Director of Teleamiga, one of the largest Catholic broadcasters, has been declared "excommunicated" because of his criticism of the pope and declaration of latae sententiae excommunication.
(Bogota) In the coming September, a visit to Pope Francis is planned in Colombia, which is casting its shadows. A few days ago there was a serious conflict between the Colombian Bishops' Conference and one of the largest Catholic television channels. At the center of the conflict is a well-known researcher and media entrepreneur who has hitherto been regarded as a faithful Catholic - with a "defect": he dares criticize the office of Pope Francis and even accuses him of not being the "legitimate" successor of Peter, "because he is denying truths of the Faith." The bishop's conference declared him a few days ago to be a "schismatic" and de facto excommunicated.
José Galat: Presidential Consultant, Consul General, University Rector
José Galat Noumer is a well-known man not only in Colombia, but throughout the Spanish-speaking world. He was born in 1928 in Sagomaso (then Diocese of Tunja), a region that is nowadays known for its cyclists. He studied Law in Colombia, Political Science and Sociology in Paris and Philosophy in Barcelona. In Colombia, he was initially active within the framework of the International Association of Christian Entrepreneurs (UNIAPAC). In his working life, he devoted himself not only the social sciences, but also to the establishment of educational institutions and the cooperative system. From 1966-1974 he was a consultant to Colombian President Carlos Lleras Restrepo and Misael Pastrana Borrero, a member of the Colombian People's Bank, and in the 1970s, he was also a Colombian Consul General in Paris.
In 1951 he was given the first assistant position, followed by lectures and professorships at various universities in Colombia. From 1981 to July 17, 2017 he was rector of the University of La Gran Columbia. In this function, too, a special emphasis was laid on the promotion of the cooperative system, which, on the basis of the Catholic social doctrine, he regarded as a particularly suitable instrument for the promotion of the economy, independence and human dignity. More than 250,000 people are now employed in the cooperatives established and supported by the company.
Galat has published 22 books dealing primarily with Colombia, economic questions, cooperative society, but also theological and philosophical issues.
Teleamiga - Catholic television station with millions of viewers
At an early stage, he has dealt with mass communications. In the 1970s, he developed the idea of a weekly broadcasting of the country's president. In 1999, he and his friend Diego Arango Osorio founded Teleamiga , which is now available in HD quality in Colombian cities via cable, otherwise via satellite in all Latin America, the USA, Europe and North Africa. The aim of the two founders was to create, besides the state and private radio broadcasting, a broadcaster devoted to the value and not to commerce. The station belongs to a non-profit foundation of the University of La Gran Columbia, whose president is Galat.
In 2010, he applied to be nominated as a Presidential candidate for the Conservative Party of Colombia. As such, he wanted to succeed Alvaro Uribe, the "vanquisher of the FARC", who was not allowed to stand for two term periods. The party, however, opted for another candidate.
Galat, now 88 years old, still makes the weekly program "Un Cafe de Galat," which, according to the ratings, is one of the most watched TV shows on Teleamiga .
Papal Criticism and Colombian Bishops
Criticism of the Pope is a delicate matter in the Church. The historian Roberto de Mattei, in his recent book, "Defense of Tradition", points out that papal infallibility defined in 1870 by the First Vatican Council, is not only misunderstood by opponents of the Church, but is misunderstood by Catholics themselves.
There are specific factors that come into play in Colombia. In the autumn, the country's bishops' conference and Pope Francis delivered a variety of recommendations in the referendum on the peace plan of President Santos. While the pope was for the peace plan with the Marxist guerrilla organization FARC, this was rejected by the bishops. The majority of the Colombian voters followed the bishops.The FARC had bled the country dry for half a century. Many Colombians do not see why, as they are defeated, that they should be politically revalued and recognized as negotiating partners.
Pope Francis coupled his visit to Colombia to the outcome of popular vote. It took more patient talks to resolve the disagreements in connection, so that the Pope's visit can nevertheless be held with some delay.
"Constant criticism of Pope Francis"
The bishops are therefore not interested in any "disturbances" of ecclesial peace. This is one of the reasons for the sharp reaction that has taken place over the past few days for a Catholic personality so celebrated in the past as Professor Jose Galat.
Galat is an energetic man, as his CV proves. But he is also a man of clear language. The contradictions in the pontificate of Pope Francis, he does not conceal. Criticism was exercised by Galat mainly in connection with the family synod and the controversial post-synodal letter Amoris laetitia. At the same time, the second episcopal synod coinciding with revelations about Cardinal Danneels had decisively altered Galat's attitude. His critics speak of an "increasing radicalization."
Galat's television station reaches up to 50 million viewers, according to InfoVaticana. This is a media power which is not ignored, either by the bishops or by Rome.
In February 2016, the Colombian Bishops' Conference spoke for the first time in a statement about the "trouble" concerning the "constant criticism" by José Galat "upon the person of Pope Francis." The bishops had been alarmed by the news of Teleamiga that "a group of bishops were against Pope Francis." This assertion was "decidedly rejected" and the "unanimous communion with the Holy Father" was emphasized.
In the same month there was an exchange of views between representatives of the Episcopal Conference and the Directorate of Teleamiga, including Galat.