Santo Domingo (Agenzia Fides) - "What does fraternity mean in the Dominican Republic today?" The Bishops' Conference of the Dominican Republic is addressing this question in its message for Independence Day on February 27 this year.
In the document entitled "And let us show the world that we are brothers" (Juan Pablo Duarte), the Bishops recall Pope Francis' last encyclical "Fratelli tutti" on the current situation in the country. Everyone is called "to build a brotherly spirit in the family, in which he had to live, regardless of how it is made up. Those who did not have the grace to grow up in a stable family could be welcomed by well-established families". Therefore the Bishops encourage the Pastoral Care of the Family, through the Universities and the creation of a symposium, with the aim of "creating the basis for an authentic public family policy for Dominican society".
"Fraternity shows itself in the care of life, no to the legalization of abortion". This position of the Church could be judged as an enemy of science, but in reality "the opposition to the legalization of abortion is a warning to raise awareness, along with others, against a society based mainly on utilitarian values".
In the Message, the Bishops also touch on the theme of migration, which they describe as "a sign of our times". Under the heading of "Universal brotherhood", they invite us to be careful "not to cultivate a harsher sentiment, which leads to the exclusion of the stranger or the other". A socially healthy coexistence, impregnated with fraternity, is manifested in the way in which migrants are treated, recall the Bishops, citing their previous messages.
"Corruption undermines the fraternity of a country" is the title of the fourth chapter, in which the bishops emphasize: "State corruption undermines the general sensibility" which requires equal treatment for all people and which directly undermines the integrity of society as a whole, as it diverts the funds necessary to implement social policies".
In conclusion, the bishops recalled that "today, as yesterday, independence remains a task which, according to the law in force, must be carried out with patience and courage". In his encyclical the Pope defined a new category in the social doctrine of the Church, a new attitude to be cultivated, which he calls "social friendship", which is the basis of universal brotherhood. "Joy, acceptance and hospitality are among the most important characteristics of the Dominican people", said the Bishops, underlining how such attitudes have grown during the pandemic.
In their message, the bishops also warned the spread of fake news in connection with the pandemic: False news "infect us with individualism and aggression at an unusual rate", emphasize the bishops, who warn: the Covid-19 pandemic cannot be won without questioning the responsible use of social networks.
"What affects everyone, can only be solved together. Cooperation between all citizens is therefore necessary. The pandemic affects us all: we have lost loved ones, the economic losses are noticeable, we are bound by health measures ... But faith invites us to cultivate a healthy hope in the face of this painful situation. Even in the midst of suffering, we must be grateful for so much solidarity, commitment, brotherly love, private and public help. This reveals the best face of our people…and we show the world that we are brothers and sisters". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 26/2/2021)