Peruvian Bishops Address Nation´s Corruption

Will Publish Ethical Guidelines for Next Elections

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LIMA, Peru, FEB. 2, 2001 ( Amid Peru´s ongoing political crisis, the nation´s bishops will soon publish a document on ethical guidelines for this year´s general elections.

In recent days, Peruvian citizens have heard about a network of corruption created by Vladimiro Montesinos, former head of the National Intelligence Service (NIS), who was also responsible for the spectacular fall of former President Alberto Fujimoro.

Among those involved is José Francisco Crousillat, one of the owners of the America Television station. Last Sunday the TV station broadcast a program in which a former NIS agent accused the current president, Valentin Paniagua, of receiving money from Montesinos. The agent gave no evidence, and President Paniagua strongly denied all accusations.

Given this grave situation, the bishops asked the conference´s president to visit Paniagua, to express the conference´s support.

At the Wednesday close of their six-day general assembly, the bishops published a statement recognizing «the morally unbearable situation our people are living, which leads us as pastors, in the present uncertain circumstances, to reaffirm our confidence in God and the will of the Peruvian people to surmount the difficulties, recover moral values, and consolidate democratic institutions.»

«We feel the urgency to demand … respect for the dignity of persons and institutions in the necessary quest for truth and justice,» the press statement explained. «The Peruvian people hope that there will be an end to corruption, which corrodes the foundations of society.»

The bishops reminded the media that «they must undertake their mission to inform with truth, responsibility and objectivity, free from manipulation or subjection to particular interests.»

At the end of their assembly, the Peruvian bishops also announced that they have already approved the «New Pastoral Lines,» that will inspire the Church´s action in the period 2001-2004.

The bishops, meanwhile, hailed the news of the designation as cardinal of Archbishop Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne of Lima. He is the first cardinal to come from the Opus Dei personal prelature. «We express our gratitude to Pope John Paul II for the recognition he gives the Church in Peru with the appointment of a new cardinal, our brother in the episcopate,» a statement from the bishops said.

The assembly also approved a feasibility study for the establishment of radio and television stations with national scope to communicate moral values and the work of the Church in Peru.

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