San José (Agenzia Fides) – "Mercy or Violence?" is the title of a message issued by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Costa Rica, at the end of a recent assembly: "With deep sorrow we present information supplied by the national Judicial Research Office – we read in the first lines of the report sent to Fides -: In 2015 our country registered 560 murders, the highest number in recent years according to the United Nations Organisation ". Although lower compared with neighbouring countries, ithe figure is nevertheless a cause of concern also because "a quarter of these crimes are connected with episodes of drug trafficking " say the Bishops.
"Profoundly shocking, the numbers of acts violence on children, which have doubled in less than a decade . In 2014 the National Children’s Hospital assisted 2,400 children victims of violence, in 2015 the number rose to 3,100 ". The bishops denounce widespread domestic violence and gang bullying and aggression.
In this situation the Bishops’ Conference complains of scarce control regarding violence, recalling that the country chose to do without commitment by the army in order release more resources for social policies. They add: "Every form of injustice is an act of violence. In our country ihunger, lack of decent homes and medical care etc….are acts of violence on 317,660 families, over one million men women and children live in poverty, and for another 374,185 poverty is extreme".
Prompted by Pope Francis’ call to give central place to mercy and reconciliation, the Bishops conclude : “We have in our hands the possibility of restoring to Costa Rica a society shining with peace and full respect for human life”.
(CE) (Agenzia Fides, 02/03/2016)