Bissau (Fides Service) – To meet more effectively the challenge of new evangelisation, the Catholic Bishops of Portuguese speaking countries have called for more solidarity among the local Churches. This emerged at the 5th Meeting of Presidents of Bishops’ Conferences in Portuguese speaking countries in Bissau, capital of Guinea Bissau, concluded yesterday 21 January. In their final statement, of which a copy was sent to Fides, the Bishops stressed the social problems in their countries: swelling urban populations; growth of youth without health-care or schooling; unemployment and law wages; spreading secularisation and moral relativism. But they highlighted signs of hope including “strong chances for a new start and consolidation of peace in countries hitherto in situations of war or social-political, as well as new opportunities for launching history-making processes of development for our peoples”.
Hence the Bishops’ optimism: “All told, despite limits and obstacles, there remains in all hearts strong hope and ardent spirit of mission able to infuse new energies and change obstacles into opportunities, especially in the field of pastoral care”.
Among the areas of pastoral activity identified by the Bishops which stand to benefit from collaboration among Portuguese speaking Churches: formation of priests; exchanging of clergy and sharing of material resources among dioceses; valorisation of Catholic media, radio in particular, which the Bishops describe as “essential tools for the spreading of the Gospel, for instruction and development of the people and for the promotion of human rights”. (L.M.) (Fides Service 22/1/2004, lines 25 words 279)