Mexico City (Agenzia Fides) - “Imagine a Continent for all: Christian justice, solidarity and witness to meet social difficulties in Latin American and the Caribbean" is the motto of the Second Congress on the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church organised by the Justice and Solidarity Commission of CELAM (Council of Latin American Bishops’ Conference) which opened on 11 September in Mexico City as part of preparations for the 5th General CELAM Conference in 2007 (see Fides 5/9/2006).
The congress was opened by CELAM first vice president Bishop Carlos Aguiar Retes who stressed the need to take up the challenge proposed by the 5th General CELAM - "That our countries may have life in Him" - recalling important elements in this sense: becoming aware of the Social Doctrine of the Church and laying the foundation of our actions on the One who is the Way the Truth and the Life, Jesus Christ, the Lord of history, in order to overcome the problems affecting Latin America. Let us hope this Congress may identify "lines of action to satisfy our great desire for our peoples to have life in Him".
For his part the president of the Mexican Bishops’ Social Pastoral Commission, Bishop Luis Artemio Flores, dwelt on certain priorities in Latin America today including the primacy of the human person, respect for the dignity and identity of the weaker members of society, the building of a society of more justice and brotherhood committed to the common good based on natural order. He also underlined the necessity to strengthen the tissue of society, the family and the political community, promote a new model of development which aims not only for economic development but also the integral development of the person. In his address to the meeting Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace said the great challenge for Christians in Latin America is "witness of a life style in keeping with what is preached, in other words, unity of faith and life".
The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI sent a message to the congress participants encouraging them to promote formation of lay people, so that "based on principles and values in keeping with the Magisterium they may better collaborate in the building of a society more worthy of man ". (RG) (Agenzia Fides 13/9/2006; righe 28, parole 376)