San Salvador (Fides Service) - On the feast of Our Lady of Peace patroness of El Salvador the country’s Catholics Bishops issued a Pastoral Letter “Do not be overcome by evil” in which they reflect on the responsibility of every Salvadorian to help build a society of brotherhood, peace, justice and solidarity. The lengthy Letter dated 21 November focuses on the tragic situation of violence in El Salvador.
The letter has six chapters: “violence is suffocating us”, “We must not be resigned to violence”, “do not be overcome by evil”, “defeat evil with good”, “to live in peace let’s put the person at the centre”, “peace be with you”. First of all the Bishops give an overview of the many types of violence and urge people not to be resigned or passive or give in to evil. Then in the light of the Gospel and Catholic Social Doctrine, they point to the path to exit from this tragic situation.
“Violence is ever more present, first of all in the home - the Bishops write -; wives are subject to violence by husbands and children suffer from physical and psychological and even sexual abuse”. In addition to violence in the home and common crime there are gangs of youths, maras, involved in drug trafficking and other organised crime. “People kill to steal, for revenge, on commission, under the effect of alcohol or drugs nearly always with arms which circulate without control, in cold blood with barbarous acts and in total impunity. According to some, killing is a method of social cleansing” the Bishops say with concern and sadness.
They say “violence is omnipresent. The country which bears the same of Christ the Saviour navigates in a sea of violence. The nation entrusted to the care of Our Lady of Peace has reached a level of homicidal violence which is increasing ”.
According to the United Nations Development Fund Salvador is one of the most violent countries in Latin America: last year 2,700 cases of homicide were registered and in the first six months of this year there have been over 2,000 which means an estimated 12 murders a day. What is most concerning and saddening the Bishops say is that perhaps Salvadorians are growing accustomed to considering violence as something inevitable with which they must learn to live. They express the conviction that this tragic situation can be changed if everyone shares responsibility with courage and above all if the person is put at the centre of everything.
The construction of integral and solid humanism to animate a new social, economic and political order founded on the dignity and liberty of every person, and a new order of peace, justice and solidarity will be possible if every man and women and every group cultivate moral and social virtues and diffuse them in society. Solidarity in the era of globalisation demands at the same time defence of human rights: “fighting violence implicates a generous effort to offer all Salvadorians a life of dignity”. (RZ) (Agenzia Fides 23/11/2005, righe 40, parole 586)