Caritas Congress Fosters Solidarity in Latin American

«Our Hope: A United America Without Exclusion»

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MEXICO CITY, MARCH 21, 2003 ( A Caritas congress opened Thursday, aiming to promote human development, and the elimination of the abject poverty and social exclusion predominating in the Americas.

A statement of the Latin American and Caribbean Secretariat of Caritas reveals that, according to a recent study of the Economic Commission for Latin America (CEPAL), the number of excluded people in Latin America jumped up last year to 88 million.

This is Caritas’ 15th Latin American and Caribbean Congress and the 2nd Continental Meeting of Social Pastoral Care, which has gathered 180 Caritas and Social Pastoral Care leaders of 22 countries to focus on the topic «Globalizing Solidarity.»

Among other issues, the participants are analyzing Caritas’ role in local changes, political and social participation, national integration and sovereignty, free trade treaties, and solidarity to globalize peace and reconciliation.

«The Pope asks the Church in America to believe in the force of charity, because social action is a consequence of faith to take the love of God to the ultimate consequences,» the Apostolic Nuncio in Mexico, Archbishop Sergio Bertello, said.

In addition, the archbishop stressed that there are new poverties in modern society which call for a more exacting practice of justice.

Among those present for the opening of the congress’ works were Archbishop Bertello; Bishop Fouad El Hage of Tripoli, president of Caritas Internationalis; Auxiliary Bishop Gregorio Rosa Chavez of El Salvador, president of Caritas of Latin America and the Caribbean; and Geri Sicola, president of Catholic Relief Services (U.S. Caritas).

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