Cochabamba (Agenzia Fides) - "We Bishops of Bolivia, gathered for the 111th Assembly, make an appeal to the entire Bolivian people, to the governors and the governed, in the face of everything we are experiencing, in the face of the conflict that threatens us all, with an increasingly complicated outcome, in the face of hatred, resentment or intolerance that grows and takes over our streets. We appeal to wisdom and to a sincere and fraternal dialogue, in which we put aside hidden and irrational interests and that we sit down with a true and sincere desire to resolve problems in a spirit of peace, understanding and serene brotherhood". This is the new appeal launched by Monsignor Aurelio Pesoa Ribera OFM, Apostolic Vicar of El Beni, as President of the Bolivian Episcopal Conference, during the homily of the Mass celebrated on November 13, in the Cathedral of San Sebastián, in Cochabamba.
All the Bishops of the 18 ecclesiastical jurisdictions of Bolivia are gathered from November 10 to 15 in Cochabamba for the General Assembly, which will analyze above all the reality of the country, which is of particular concern to the Bishops, and the most relevant issues related to the pastoral care and evangelization (see Fides, 8/11/2022).
Commenting on the biblical readings of the day, Monsignor Pesoa Ribera underlined that the only thing that will be preserved in the end is the good sown in the world, while all human realities based on selfishness, injustice, arrogance or the desire for power will be destroyed. In addition, he encouraged those present to serve God to achieve the full meaning of life, motivating them to work to achieve good and useful things in this world, with faith and with their eyes set on God. Reflecting on the Gospel of Luke, which describes the end of the world, the bishop recalled that "true Christians, those who follow and are faithful to Christ, will be persecuted, they will be rejected, they will not have such an easy life", and encouraged all to follow Christ to lead a coherent life.
Taking into account the reality that Bolivia is experiencing, the President of the Episcopal Conference recalled, among other things, that "hardness of heart and closure in one's own interests and ideas will never be able to resolve conflicts" and asked that in this situation of violence we can "look at each other as brothers and not as enemies" to achieve a peaceful outcome to the conflict that afflicts the entire country.
The Bolivian Conference of Religious (CBR) has invited all the religious communities in Bolivia and the institutions that depend on them (social, health, educational, parish ...) to pray in the celebrations on Sunday, November 13 "for justice, truth and the freedom of our people", so that God may grant "days of respect and understanding, of progress and equality, of freedom, justice and peace".
Given the events that the people of Santa Cruz are experiencing (see Fides, 4/11/2022) and in union with the Bishops of Bolivia, the CBR has expressed in a statement "its outrage at the suffering of a people who fight for their rights". For this reason, he asks President Luis Alberto Arce to "govern in a more efficient and fair way", that "human dignity and the sacred character of life be respected", pointing out the need to create a culture of peace and dialogue, even if it is a long and difficult process. "We will continue to affirm that freedom of thought and expression is the basis of democracy and the creativity of the citizens of a country", reiterate the religious, and that "the values of non-violence must triumph at all levels of society, as well as in the relations between the State and the Bolivian citizens". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 14/11/2022)