Asuncion (Fides Service) – The Catholic Bishops of Paraguay have voiced their commitment to accompany the life of the people sharing their hopes and concerns and that as Bishops they “wish to offer a clear word of advice to all”. This was affirmed in a Pastoral Letter issued at the end of their 170th plenary assembly.
In the Letter the Bishops highlight “positive signs in the situation in Paraguay such as commitment for open struggle to eliminate corruption; direct and immediate presence of competent authorities in places where there are problems and where conflict is generated”, nevertheless – the Bishops write in the letter dated 7 November 2003 – we also note doubts and concern for the persistence of phenomenon which were and still are very negative such as widespread corruption, insecurity, lack of transparent justice fair to all. In this difficult context “political social, economic and religious leaders must convince the people of the validity of their mission and the authenticity of their exercise of power to earn the trust and sincere support of the citizens. ”.
The Bishops list other causes which aggravate the situation: the poor are ever poorer and there is a concerning spread of poverty; there is a growing situation of migration from rural areas to the cities and this generates great lack of infrastructures and basic services (education, health, water, housing, work): “a greater part of rural people live without hope or future”. One symptomatic signal of the gravity of the problem of land is “generalised expulsion of peasants and indigenous people from their due to the lack of policies to offer them support, ” the Bishops say.
Additional problems which render ever more difficult the situation in Paraguay, include “intransigent attitudes in certain social sectors which give priority to their own interest over the common good ”; a serious crisis in relations between Powers of the State; uncontrolled destruction of natural resources; insecurity in cities; growing violence, thefts, delinquency ,murders and kidnappings; obstacles to the realisation of the American Free Trade Area (ALCA).
In the face of these problems the Bishops stress the need for “a national plan drawn up with the participation of all ”: “It is necessary to put aside sectarian attitudes and to open spaces for dialogue to favour the attainment of the common good. Particular responsibility lies on the mass media and media workers”.
At the same time it is also necessary “to promote not only policies to support families but also social policies whose main objective is the family, helping it with the assignment of adequate resources and effective means of help for the education of children”. The Bishops affirm that to reach these hoped for changes “it is necessary to promote decisive impulse in favour of public and private morals and a clear choice to testimony of life ”.
With regard to the role of the Church the Bishops of Paraguay underline the need for “greater attention to the formation of consciences, formation of social leaders for public life at every level, promote ethic education, observance of the law and human rights and engage more efforts in the formation of the political class”. (RZ) (Fides Service 14/11/2003 – lines 41; words 542).