Bogota (Agenzia Fides) - "The joys, hopes, sorrows and cries of our peoples resonated in the Congress, challenging us as Church for a committed and effective evangelical prophecy. This will help us overcome the state of neutrality and to commit ourselves more and more to human dignity and the dignity of peoples". This is an excerpt from the conclusions of the Latin American and Caribbean Congress on "The Church at the Service of Peace", organized by Cebitepal, the CELAM Training Center, which was held from 29 to March 31, with the participation of 80 people present and 274 others from remote regions, from Canada to Patagonia.
The document, which brings together the conclusions of the Congress, recalls that the speeches and testimonies presented shed important light "on the spirit which must animate our actions in favor of peace" and on the methods consistent with this spirit. "We have experienced the presence of the Church in the wounds of humanity, in the wounds of its borders...we have seen a Church that smells like sheep, eager to serve people and the common good". Participants saw a maturation of what the Church in the Americas should do and what kind of contribution it should make.
With regard to the ecclesial measures to be taken for an ever more effective and concrete construction of peace, the document underlines the value of "coherence and the link between theory and practice, because this is the only way to embody documents and messages of the Church". Faced with the new challenges and questions that arise, there is an urgent need to find "an internal cohesion capable of overcoming the polarization of the Church itself and the demand for more connected and united practices".
The Congress urges the Church in Latin America and the Caribbean "to work intensively on the structural causes of conflict on the continent, in order to work with force and prophecy on the rights of peoples, a vision that contains and goes beyond the vision of Human Rights". It is urgent to know and document the practices of building peace, which cannot be the prerogative of any particular structure, but must have as protagonists the people and the concrete realities of which they are part, at the service of building the Kingdom. The document reports the words of Pope Francis: "The Church is called to be a natural facilitator of dialogue, forgiveness, restorative justice and reconciliation at all times and all places". He then points out that "in the Latin American integration processes, there are already areas of peace established in the regional constitutions themselves; therefore, there are continental platforms that collaborate with the work of the Church for Peace". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 5/4/2023)