AMERICA/BRAZIL - Bishops concerned about pension reform: penalizes the poor, women, peasants, the disabled

Friday, 29 March 2019 the elderly   social situation   bishops  

Brasilia (Agenzia Fides) - "Among our current concerns, we highlight the pension reform presented by the government to the National Congress for debate and approval", reads the statement of the Permanent Council of the Brazilian Bishops' Conference (CNBB), which met in Brasilia from 26 to 28 March. In the text, sent to Agenzia Fides, the Bishops recall what was already stated by the CNBB in the note of March 2017: "the social security system has an intrinsic ethical matrix. It is created for the social protection of people who, for various reasons, are exposed to social vulnerability (age, diseases, accidents, maternity ...), especially the poorest. No solution to balance a possible deficit can do without ethical-social values and solidarity".
Recognizing that the social security system "must be evaluated and, if necessary, adapted to social security", the Bishops warn about the proposed changes, as they "sacrifice the poorest, penalize women and rural workers, punish people with disabilities and create discouragement for social security, especially among the unemployed and younger generations". With regards to cutting of privileges that the reform would bring, we must clarify "what are the privileges, who owns them and what is the share of the sacrifice of the privileged, as well as how to fight expulsion and make the debtors of the Social Security pay". The Bishops therefore underline that "the account of the transition from the current regime to the capitalization regime, proposed by the reform, cannot be paid by the poor".
In the message the Bishops call on the National Congress to "promote a public debate on this proposal of reform of the Social Security, which affects the lives of all Brazilians", and ask the ecclesial communities and civil society organizations "to participate actively in this debate so that, in dialogue, they defend the constitutional rights that guarantee citizenship for all".
"Expressing himself on these and other issues concerning the political and social reality of Brazil - the statement reaffirms - the Church does it in defense of the poor and the excluded. It is a call to Christian spirituality, to social ethics and to the commitment of the whole society for the construction of the common good and to the defense of the democratic rule of law". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 29/3/2019)