Bogotà (Agenzia Fides) - "The scourge of corruption is the most damaging for our peoples of Latin America, public corruption erodes societies, injustice and the lack of unity increase in industrialized countries, the globalization of economy clearly brings the lack of solidarity of our societies. We demand a new civilization, the civilization of fraternity": said Gabriela Alejandra Castellanos, executive director of the National Anti-Corruption Council of Honduras, during one of the reports presented at the Meeting of Catholics with political responsibilities at the service of the Latin American peoples, held from 1 to 3 December, at the headquarters of the Colombian Episcopal Conference, in Bogotá, organized by the Pontifical Commission for Latin America (CAL) and by the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM).
"In this closed-door meeting, 95 guests including Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, priests and lay people who exercise or have held political offices in their countries - according to information sent to Fides by Father Rigoberto Pérez, Executive Secretary of the Celam's Communications Department - had a thorough dialogue to guide the search for the common good of society, exchanging experiences, testimonies and reflections on the political responsibilities at the service of the Latin American populations".
At the opening of the works, in a video message Pope Francis urged the participants to give life to "a form of dialogue in which the communion between people of the same faith is more decisive than the legitimate oppositions of political choices". Underlining that politics "is a high form of charity, ... not at the service of individual ambitions ", the Pope affirmed that "the laity must not be indifferent to public affairs, nor should they wait for ecclesiastical directives to fight for justice and for forms of more human life for all".
Ten years after the document of Aparecida, the Church in Latin America has great awareness of the importance of the presence and contribution of Catholics regarding political and public life, hence the need to face this reality in an unprecedented way. "The idea of the meeting - explained Cardinal Ouellet, President of CAL, to the media - emerged in March 2016, in the plenary session of the CAL, on that occasion the Pope wrote an official letter to stimulate this commitment of Catholics in political and public life, remembering that Pastors must accompany, support and form those who have these direct responsibilities as lay people, but respecting their autonomy, without falling into clericalism and dictating the political options they must follow".
"This meeting - said the Secretary General of CELAM, Mgr. Juan Espinoza after the end of the meeting - allowed politicians and religious to recognize themselves as brothers and define a common goal to build a better world". Among the conclusions of the meeting, according to a statement sent to Fides by the Communication Department of Celam, the need for a political education of young people and the repetition of these meetings at national level was highlighted. In addition, topics such as: culture of life, family, education, social inclusion, migration, development with equity, integral ecology, culture of encounter, reconciliation and peace were discussed. At the same time, the political situation of countries such as Venezuela, Honduras and Colombia regarding the peace process, the dialogues with the FARC and ELN were analyzed. (LG) (Agenzia Fides, 05/12/2017)