"Let's Build Together a Better Bolivia," Country's Bishops Say

Declare Sunday, May 25 a National Day of Prayer for Peace

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COCHABAMBA, MAY 18, 2003 (ZENIT.orgFides).- In a message entitled «Let’s Build Together a Better Bolivia,» the country’s bishops entreat the people to realize the role of every citizen in overcoming the present crisis.

In their 76th plenary assembly held in Cochabamba from May 2-7, the bishops lament the profound crisis into which the country has fallen, underlining that the events occurring in recent months «were not isolated events, they were another link in the chain of manifestations which are the expression of the profound crisis which has struck the nation.»

«We cannot remain indifferent» in face of the danger of a repetition or an increase in such events, the message said. Besides sadness and incredulity, «there is a sensation of disorder, insecurity, anarchy, a vacuum of power. One senses the threat of dissolution and disintegration of society, the imposition of violence and authoritarianism which threaten democracy obtained with so many sacrifices.»

Among the causes of the crises, the bishops point out «growing poverty, widespread corruption, impunity, passivity and a feeling of impotence which prevent people from looking towards the future with hope.»

In face of this situation «the first urgent task is to save the democratic institutions because democracy is the best instrument to allow us to obtain development which is human, just, and worthy,» the message continues.

The construction of a political and social system suited to the national reality on the one hand demands «firm rejection of every form of individual and collective violence, authoritarianism or messianic individualism and, on the other, calls for the co-responsibility of the government, the institutions, the opposition, of the different social sectors and the media.»

In this sense the bishops make a list of requests:

– To the government: that it may act with more readiness and clarity in taking decisions and that it may consider that the problems of the nation are consequences of the needs of a poor country.

– To the sectors of opposition: a belligerent attitude is not constructive, and although our democracy is weak and imperfect, we must rely on the norms of democratic institutions to improve it.

– To leaders: that the interests of the nation and the common good always be put before personal or group interests, demonstrating constructive and consultative openness.

– To the people: aware that they are suffering the consequences of suffocating poverty, the bishops encourage them not to despair, indeed, to assume an active role in the arduous and lengthy process of overcoming the causes of the problems which scourge the country.

Welcoming a suggestion made by Archbishop Ivo Scapolo, apostolic nuncio to Bolivia, «to promote extraordinary initiatives of prayer, sensitization and formation,» the Bolivian bishops have announced a National Campaign of Prayer for Peace to take place on Sunday, May 25, in all the communities and parishes.

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