Guatemala City (Agenzia Fides) - "You have been called to freedom" (Gal 5:13): this is the biblical verse that opens the Message of the Bishops of Guatemala, published with the date of September 8, on the occasion of the anniversary of the Country's political independence.
Divided into 5 points, the Message begins by reflecting on the value of freedom, 199 years after independence, and on the need to continue working to build a better future.
"By serenely observing the social, political and economic situation - write the Bishops - we see a chronic situation of poverty and misery of millions of Guatemalans, the lack of access to basic health services, decent housing, work, fair wages and quality education, the abandonment of land by peasants, the absence of a comprehensive agrarian reform capable of generating development, the weakening and discrediting of institutions representing the state, while violence and corruption are ancient evils, which have never been resolved and which today require solutions with particular urgency".
Then the Bishops dwell on the coronavirus pandemic, which adds to the "sad and distressing" picture of the country, causing a "painful and disconcerting situation", which calls us to look at the essential, "those things without which it would be an aberration to call ourselves free, that is, the promotion of human dignity and the defense of the rights and obligations deriving from it".
The importance of solidarity is therefore highlighted "which does not stop at alms, but requires actions to transform the social order. There is a need to create opportunities for participation and inclusion that are the consequence of general laws based on law and an impartial judicial system that acts promptly and fairly. It is necessary to create health and educational opportunities that are a consequence of public policies oriented towards the common good. This will lay the fundamental foundations for everyone to see their dignity, fundamental rights and freedom recognized in practice".
So the Message invites the custody of creation, following the teaching of Pope Francis. In the last point, the Bishops invite us to keep hope alive, despite the limitations to public celebrations of faith, and to act on this basis, remembering that even in the midst of pain and illness, nothing can separate us from the love of God manifested in Christ Our Lord Jesus (cf. Rom 8: 35-39). In conclusion, they exhort everyone "to celebrate our freedom as a gift and as a task", entrusting themselves to the protection of the Virgin of Sorrows, faithful and unconditional Mother, so that "she may protect us and show us Jesus in these difficult times". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 11/9/2020)