Wednesday, 21 May 2003

Tuparenda (Fides Service) – A global Plan 2003-2007, approved on 15 May by the 29th assembly of the Council of Latin American Bishops’ Conferences (CELAM), has as its title: “Towards a Church, house and school of communion and solidarity in a globalised world – humanising globalisation and globalising solidarity”. Emphasis is given to the promotion of communion and solidarity: in fact the Plan intends to be the Latin America Church’s answer to the serious and complex consequences of globalisation. The Plan consists of 35 programmes and 88 projects aimed at “leading the faithful to search for Christ inside the Church” and “foster an encounter with him”. Exasperated individualism and frantic search for profit in today society can be countered with solidarity towards the problems of those in need. Other priorities considered by the plan: promotion of honesty, civic education and greater cultural and social participation of the laity.
An analysis of the present day situation in Latin America revealed that corruption and poverty are evils common to a number of countries. In this regard Bishop Antonio Arregui Yarza of Ibarra (Ecuador) denounced “the crumbling of the institutions” affirming that this situation is a challenge to the Church because it is clear that no one may steal or use power to get rich, manipulate justice or pass laws to support particular economic interests. The Bishop warned : “we must unite under the banner of dignity and fight corruption, otherwise we will enter the law of the jungle”.
Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga, Archbishop Tegucigalpa (Honduras) said “the elimination of morals from life produces greed, thirst for money for money’s sake to the highest levels of corruption”. Another major challenge facing the Church is to help people rediscover a sense of morals in daily life.
Lastly, with regard to relations between the Church and local governments the Latin American Bishops say the Church must be independent from governments and Bishop Jaime Chemello, of Pelotas (Brazil) affirmed in this regard “a distinction must be made between the role of the Church and the function of the government”. In this sense “the hierarchy must take its distance from the government in order to have a critical position with regard to things which are not positive for the people. We are not against anyone. We are for the Gospel and the people!”. (R.Z.) (Fides Service 21/5/2003; lines 29; words 391).