Tuparenda (Agenzia Fides) – The 29th assembly of the Council of Latin American Bishops’ Conferences held in Tuparenda Ypacaraí (Paraguay), issued a message addressed to all the local Churches in Latin America and the Caribbean. The document reveals the Bishops’ concern for the difficult and painful situation of the people in the different countries: social problems have become more acute in almost every country, impoverishment of the people has grown, unemployment rates have risen, in many places living conditions in the fields of education, health, housing, social insurance and respect for human rights have further deteriorated.” The bishops say that the complex and difficult situation in which people in the respective countries live is a challenge and an opportunity for their pastoral commitment.
. The document indicates as fundamental causes of this situation, international debt and high rates of corruption and impunity. The Bishops say that therefore “it is urgently necessary to strengthen democracy in our countries…There is urgent need of evangelisation to restore hope to so many brothers who suffer the consequences of these evils. There is need of formation for men and women dedicated to the service of our people, inspired by love for the poor and the excluded.” Another priority to be faced with urgency is the question of the family, so fiercely attacked, but which “struggles to resume its place at the centre of personal life as the generator of social values and the shrine of life and confidence”.
Among the signs of hope which emerged in the analysis of the ecclesial situation, the document underlines: “We know that the Church in Latin America and the Caribbean, faithful to the mission received from the Risen Christ, thanks to the guidance of the Holy Father and echoing his initiatives, is committed to New Evangelisation in a special manner with regard to youth, the family and the building of peace. We note the opening of dialogue bound by the imperative to proclaim and propose the Gospel to all the men and women in our region. In our particular Churches, and at all levels, there is a multiplication of initiatives for evangelisation and solidarity. Nevertheless we believe that we must make an even greater effort to build a more democratic, just and fraternal society."
The resolutions reached by the 22 Bishops’ Conferences members of CELAM, are listed in the Global Plan which intends to lead the Churches of the continent to become authentic “ homes and schools of communion” welcoming all who sincerely wish to make an authentic encounter with Jesus Christ and promoting the globalisation of solidarity.
The assembly elected the new direction for the next four years: President Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa, archbishop Santiago del Chile; Bishop Carlos Aguiar Retes of Texcoco, Mexico (first Vice-President); Archbishop Geraldo Lyrio Rocha, of Vitoria da Conquista, Brazil (second Vice-President); Cardinal Pedro Rubiano Sáenz, Archbishop of Bogota, Colombia (President Economic Committee); Bishop Ramón de La Rosa y Carpio, of Our Lady de Altagracia in Higüey, Dominican Republic (Secretary General).
Moreover in keeping with the new organisation of CELAM, the following Presidents of Departments were elected: Communion and Dialogue: Bishop Emilio Aranguren Echeverría, of Cienfuegos (Cuba); Mission and Spirituality: Bishop Mario Antonio Cargnello, of Salta (Argentina); Vocations and Ministries: Bishop Julio Edgar Cabrera Ovalle, of Jalapa (Guatemala); Life and Culture: Bishop José Luis Lacunza Maestrojuan, O.A.R., of David (Panama); Justice and Solidarity: Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, S.D.B., Bishop of Tegucigalpa (Honduras); Comunications: Bishop Baltazar Enrique Porras Cardozo, of Mérida (Venezuela). (R.Z.) (Agenzia Fides 22/5/2003; lines 43; Parole 595).