Bishops of Americas Seek to Integrate Those Excluded from Globalization

Conclusions of Continental Meeting Held in Brazil

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SAO SALVADOR DA BAHIA, Brazil, FEB. 22, 2002 ( Bishops of the Americas ended their continental meeting at which they focused on how to help the poor benefit from globalization.

Also among the topics discussed were the Argentine crisis, the difficult situation of Hugo Chávez´s Venezuela, the evangelization of Afro-Brazilians, and the impact of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Twenty-nine bishops from North and South America participated in the meeting, whose theme was «The Response of the Church in America to the New Global Reality.»

In particular, the bishops analyzed the causes that lead to the exclusion of millions of people from the economic prosperity of globalization.

In a statement issued by the Canadian episcopal conference, the bishops «committed themselves to continued cooperation and dialogue on many broad topics that the globalization theme presents, especially in the context of the plans for a Free Trade Area of the Americas intended to go into effect by 2005.»

«New means of pastoral cooperation and greater efforts to promote economic development in the South are essential elements of a globalization designed to serve the common good,» the statement adds.

The bishops´ working sessions were inspired by the 1999 apostolic exhortation «Ecclesia in America.» In No. 20 of that document, John Paul II states that a «feature of the contemporary world is the tendency toward globalization, a phenomenon which, although not exclusively American, is more obvious and has greater repercussions in America. The ethical implications can be positive or negative.»

«While acknowledging the positive values that come with globalization, the Church considers with concern the negative aspects that follow in its wake,» the Pope adds.

The meeting took place less than a month after a conference sponsored by the U.S., Canadian and Latin American episcopal bodies, held in Washington, D.C., on the theme of «Humanizing the Global Economy.»

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