AMERICA/PARAGUAY - Bishops’ statement on emigration, municipal elections and the nation’s new Constitution

Monday, 13 November 2006

Asunción (Agenzia Fides) - The Catholic Bishops of Paraguay at the end of their 177th plenary assembly in Asunción, issued a statement in which they analyse some of the country’s principal problems in order "to express our vision and offer guidance in the light of the Gospel and the teaching of the Church". The first problem mentioned by the Bishops was Emigration which has "serious social and moral consequences for the whole country": "two out of three families in Paraguay are affected by the phenomenon in some way or the other". "Many of our compatriots - the Bishops say - who emigrate without papers, without a work contract, tricked by opportunists, find themselves in very precarious situations. They are often abused and exploited”, women in particular suffer abuse or are forced into prostitution and illegal marriages. In this situation “the family suffers, children especially". The Bishops say measures must be taken to remove the causes of forced emigration by meeting the basic needs of people and “enabling all to find a place to live and work here in their homeland".
Secondly the Bishops speak about the up-coming municipal elections, which must be "fair and transparent", they say, free of irresponsible action such as bribery, manipulation or fraud which cause serious damage to the conscience of the country and are clearly immoral. The Bishops recall certain criteria for discernment of a candidate who must have certain qualities: honesty and integrity of life, exercise authority as a service, with dignity and seriousness, be aware of the needs of the people, be a bearer of human and Christian bishops in private and public life. It is necessary to consider the candidate’s programme, ideology, and foundations and examine the real possibility that the programme will obtain better living conditions for the people.
Last of all the Bishops examine the new Constitution which “must be the fruit of ample consensus with the participation of all the people, through social, political economic and religious bodies and their constituent delegates, as established by the Constitution". The Bishops conclude asking for the intercession of Our Lady of Caacupé and Saint Roque González that all “may walk a path of holiness and genuine commitment for others generosity and total detachment". (RG) (Agenzia Fides 13/11/2006; righe 35, parole 487)