Santa Cruz (Agenzia Fides) - In a message addressed to the People of God in Bolivia Cardinal Julio Terrazas, Archbishop of Santa Cruz and president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Bolivia, made a powerful call for respect for basic human rights, to put an end to violence, and start sincere dialogue to promote the common good. In the message the Cardinal said “As a Bishop called by the Lord to serve others I feel challenged by the tension in our country and here in the eastern region in particular. There is growing fear and insecurity, danger of conflict and division, suffering and death”. The Cardinal says the Constituent Assembly must not be at risk “it must be once again a place of articulation of an authentic Social Pact". Political organisations must put Bolivia above all other interests, act on the basis of reasonable judgement of what is good and possible, overcoming extreme positions, identifying points of encounter and unity, rather than differences which divide, respecting opinions of others.
The Cardinal says he hopes "wisdom and reason will prevail over irrationality and intransigence", and he concludes: “In the name of God I appeal to all citizens, particularly those with responsibility of government, or in social and civil realities, to guarantee exercise of public freedoms and fundamental rights, to put aside reciprocal mistrust and exclude recourse to any type of violence and to return to wise, sincere and constructive dialogue, promoting the common good”.
A call for peace and calm was launched also by the Bishops of Cochabamba, in communion with all those Bishops who have expressed concern. "In the name of the God of Life we call on people to change attitudes which exasperate distances and differences, and to strive for unity based on the country’s Christian and cultural identity". They call on those in authority and all citizens to shoulder responsibility for the future of the nation, “assuming attitudes which build peace and foster encounter."
The Bishops of La Paz urge all social sectors, institutions and citizens to adopt an attitude for respect, openness and sincere listening, to overcome selfishness and intransigence, intolerance “which increase hatred, resentment and rivalry among brothers and sisters".
In this serious situation the Bishops urge Catholics to pray for national unity on two set days, 13 and 17 December all over the country in every church and chapel. (RG) (Agenzia Fides 11/12/2006; righe 34, parole 491)