AMERICA/COLOMBIA - Bishops meet presidential candidates: continue to work for the common good, integral development and work

Monday, 9 May 2022 elections   bishops   social situation   politics  

Bogotà (Agenzia Fides) - Monsignor Héctor Fabio Henao Gaviria, delegate of the Episcopal Conference of Colombia (CEC) for relations between Church and State, presented the results of the meetings that took place between representatives of the Colombian Episcopate and the eight candidates for the Presidency of the Republic. At a crucial moment in the nation's history, characterized by serious social problems, the Colombian Bishops called for the "strengthening of the democratic system and a common commitment to the integral development of the entire population". After the legislative elections of March 13, the first round of presidential elections is set for May 29 (see Fides, 19/2/2022; 22/3/2022).
Addressing media professionals, Bishop Henao highlighted four relevant aspects arising from these dialogues. The first of these, according to the CEC note, is that "citizens are invited to exercise the right to vote in a conscious, free and informed manner, supporting proposals that seek the common good, respect for human rights and aim for unity". Then, it was noted that during the electoral competition, it is necessary to "strengthen a democratic environment, guided by respect for political proposals and the rejection of incitement to hatred, revenge and intolerance".
The importance of social dialogue as a a means of managing conflicts was stressed. "The word is the fundamental tool of politics, as a resource for establishing what suits citizens, and as a vector of dialogue and plurality for the development of territories". Finally, public officials are called upon to refrain from participating in politics, "because this practice weakens confidence in the guarantees of campaigns and progress towards fair elections, the results of which must correspond to the will of the citizens without any interference".
"What the Church asks in dialogue with the candidates is to ensure that the transition from this government to the next is peaceful and democratic. We want to emphasize that the legitimacy of the institutions and of the State is at stake." Archbishop Henao Gaviria added: "The common good, integral development and work for the most needy, must be the engine that pushes us to continue to work for a Colombia in peace and reconciliation, where unity prevails over conflict, understanding that as a society we are in the same boat". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 9/5/2022)