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The radicalism of the Gospel to overcome violence

· Document of the Episcopal Secretariat of Central America ·

“Among people who love truth and honesty and who have always fought for equality and freedom,” negative situations paradoxically still exist, such as social exclusion and corruption. Unfortunately, even within the State, there exists, “disrespect for laws and democratic institutions, violations of human rights and violence with a thousand faces.” All of these evils, “disrupt social harmony, contribute to the growth of poverty in a large part of our population and cause painful, forced emigration of many citizens,” according to the bishops of Central America, in a message released at the end of their annual meeting in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras. The conference of the Episcopal Secretariat of Central America (Sedac), in light of the document of Aparecida, analyzed pastoral options for the region and the serious problems in Central America which is afflicted by violence, drug trafficking and organized crime. The bishops of Sedac in their message, draw attention to the “undergrowth of alarming violence of various forms,” which exist within a widespread and damaging economic and financial crisis at the expense of the weakest in society. Thus the bishops urgent message, addressed to institutions and in particular to the Christian community which is called to help eradicate, “those scourges which are continually increasing.”

The bishops express appreciation , “for the value of the family which still exists and is firmly rooted in our society,” despite the fact that today the institution of the family is threatened by ideologies, laws and conditions of economic insecurity that do not favor support and development. “In the knowledge that the good grain of the Kingdom of God continues to grow amongst the weeds,” the document says, “we cannot allow our Christian commitment to announcing and living Gospel values to be weakened or even obscured.” The bishops recall the profound spirituality of the Central-American people, who, “cling to the love of God and do not lose hope even in difficult, dramatic and painful situations.” A promising sign is found in the “enthusiastic faith of many young people, friends and disciples of Christ,” who are the, “future renewal and ferment of our society in light of the Gospel.” The Church, the message says, “is close to young people, encouraging their most noble ideals, accompanying them in their spiritual life and collaborating in the formation of their social and political conscience in light of the values of the Kingdom of God.”

The conclusion of the message expresses the bishops’ “deep gratitude to Adveniat, the agency of the German Bishops’ Conference, which celebrates 50 years of activity, and to all the Catholics of Germany for their precious and constant service of support and evangelical solidarity to the Church in Latin America.” The inaugural ceremony of the bishops’ meeting was presided over by the Archbishop of Managua, Nicaragua, Mons. Leopoldo José Brenes, President of Sedac, together with the Cardinal Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, President of the Episcopal Conference of Honduras and the Apostolic Nuncio of Tegucigalpa, Archbishop Luigi Bianco.

In his address, Cardinal Maradiaga said that Sedac is, “providential work,” which has borne much fruit. He encouraged Central-American pastors to evangelize the region in a new way, taking into consideration, “the new challenges brought by technological progress and modern means of communication.”

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