Itaci (Agenzia Fides) - The Brazilian Bishops gathered in Itacia for their 46th General Assembly have once again reaffirmed their position in defense of human life from conception until natural death with a “Note in Defense of Human Life,” in which they recall that “every human being has the duty to receive and foster the inestimable gift of human life.” The Bishops reject all intents to legalize abortion in their country, saying that abortion is “not morally permissible because it causes many victims”- not only the children whose lives are terminated - but the mothers who are left “psychologically unwell.”
In regards to the scientific investigation, the Bishops say that it “should be coherent with respect for human life, natural law, and the commandment ‘You shall not kill’ that must always be respected.” Ethic principles should always be the guiding norm for scientific studies , “enabling human life to be respected in all its integrity.” They also mention that the embryo should be respected from the moment of fertilization and thus, “the use of human embryos and their destruction during scientific research or their conservation, violate the most fundamental of rights, the right to life and the dignity of the human being implied.” The Bishops conclude their statement encouraging all the dioceses and parishes to take concrete steps in defense of life, for example in forming a support group for expectant mothers, organ donation, promotion of adoption, forming Bioethical Commissions in the dioceses, and the participation in the National Life Week in October.
The Bishops also issued a statement of elections this year, once again denouncing the “personal and institutional corruption that currently exists within the Brazilian political system and that goes hand-in-hand with the economic structures that accentuate and legitimize these injustices.” They also offer some criteria in voting, such as: respect for cultural and religious diversity, ethical behavior among the candidates, defense of life, the family, education, and health. They also consider the necessary qualities in a candidate, namely honesty, competence, authenticity, and the will to serve the common good.
The Bishops’ Conference also approved a new document, “Guidelines for evangelization” for the Church in Brazil, presented yesterday. “The approval of the guidelines marks a historical moment for the Conference and offers a concrete translation of the results of the Aparecida Conference,” says the President the Redaction Committee of the new document, Monsignor Celso Antonio de Queiros. “This new document is compiled in light of the Church’s current concern in being a missionary Church.”
The National Catechetical Year has also been announced, for 2009, concluding in the Third Brazilian Week for Catechesis to take place October 7-11, 2009 in Itaci with the theme, “Catechesis, the path for discipleship,” and the motto, “Our hearts are inflamed when He speaks, explains the scriptures, and breaks the bread.”
Lastly, the Bishops published a note on their support for those Bishops who are currently suffering persecution or threats for the Gospel, as well as for their defense of the indigenous peoples, women, children and adolescents who are victims of human trafficking, “that are sold in sexual exploitation and destroyed by drugs” (among them are Bishop Erwin Krautler of Xingu, Bishop José Luiz Azcona Hermoso of Marajó, and Bishop Flávio Giovenale of Abaetetuba). The Bishops encourage all people of goodwill to maintain their awareness as to these evils and ask that the authorities may perform serious investigations in these areas and provide protection to those at risk. (RG) (Agenzia Fides 11/4/2008; righe 47, parole 572)