Local October 25, 2013 | 7:40 am

Ruling hurts Haitians’ offspring splits Dominican Republic Catholic Church

Santo Domingo.- Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez yesterday said not even the Catholic Church is above the Constitutional Court ruling he affirms sets a precedent to regulate immigrants in the Dominican Republic “where many people opine without having even read it.”

The prelate’s statement responds to a group of 43 Catholic priests who’ve rebuked the ruling that affects thousands of offspring of Haitian immigrants. "No one is above the Dominican Constitutional Court. Even here (the Church). They (the priests) can also say what they want. No one is above the Constitutional Court. No one, the Catholic Church neither."

On Tuesday Catholic priests and parishioners complained that the high Court ruling means "suffering and injustice" for the children of illegal immigrants born in the country. They said that this provision "strips" four generations of their nationality. "We’re outraged that it seeks to deprive thousands of people of their rights. We ask the Government that respects the law; a verdict cannot be above the Constitution."

The priest Abraham Apolinar, who read the group’s document, said the decision weakens the rule of law and violates the principle of non-retroactivity of the law, as Constitution articles 74.4 and 110 stipulate. "The right to nationality is a acquired right, the Church will be there to accompany those whose rights are being violated."

Lopez Rodriguez added that the Court ruling shouldn’t be challenged. "That’s what should be the interpretation of the Constitution of the Republic."