Mexico City (Agenzia Fides) - "Imagining a Continent for everyone: justice, solidarity and Christian witness to meet new social challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean” is the theme of the 2nd Congress on the Social Teaching of the Church in Mexico City 11-15 September organised by the Department for Justice and Solidarity of the Council of Latin American Bishops’ Conferences, CELAM, as part of preparations for the 5th General CELAM Conference in 2007. The Congress is mainly for bishop delegates and executive directors of social pastoral and Caritas, Catholic Universities and civil society Organisations.
Since the first such Congress in 1991 held in Santiago de Chile, there have been many changes the organisers say. Processes of modernisation and globalisation bring social, political, economic, cultural and religious changes with lights and shadows, dangers and opportunities. This situation is a challenge to the Church and her mission to evangelise and it calls for discernment and openness to dialogue with all men and women of good will. As part of preparations for CELAM 5 the Congress aims to call all the members of the Church on this Continent to strive to act with "creative charity".
The Congress will consider the signs of the times to help Catholic communities dialogue with the world in view of building together paths to solve serious social problems. Specific objectives include: identify criteria for judgement and action-lines for the formation and commitment of all evangelisers, lay people in particular, to influence national social and cultural life; offer witness of church communion identifying ways and means to support “creative charity” relying on the participation of the Church all over the continent, including Canada and the USA; help preparation for CELAM 5 with a theological and pastoral reading of the social, economic, political and social challenges facing the mission of the Church in Latin America; foster greater commitment by the Bishops’ Conferences to foster the study, teaching and implementation of the Social Teaching of the Church as a path for New Evangelisation; call on the People of God to assume its mission in the world with greater responsibility; in the light of the Gospel and the Church’s Social Doctrine offer reasons to sustain the hope of the men and women of the Continent, especially the poor and the suffering.
Other themes of the Congress include: preference for the poor and new aspects of social exclusion; dynamics of the new international order; search for new categories of comprehension, interpretation and transformation of situations. (RG) (Agenzia Fides 5/9/2006; righe 38, parole 474)