CHIHUAHUA, Mexico, MARCH 5, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Mexican bishops of the Chihuahua region are responding to victims of violence triggered by the drug trade in the area, urging reconciliation of all to God and others.
The bishops of the Chihuahua ecclesiastical province in northern Mexico issued a pastoral letter Tuesday titled “Let God Reconcile You,” to address the problem of violence that scourges this region on the border of the United States.
Chihuahua’s cities have been plagued with violence as a result of drug trafficking, especially Ciudad Juarez, where Wednesday morning the Mexican army increased its presence to 3,500 soldiers to patrol the streets of the city and combat organized crime.
The communiqué stated: “The bishops of the ecclesiastical province of Chihuahua, conscious of the sadness and anguish our people are suffering because of the violent incidents that have occurred in recent times, exhort men and women of all social classes and creeds, to be reconciled in their heart, with brothers and with God.”
They continued: “As we well know, an accumulation of suffering and death has invaded us. The numbers speak for themselves.
“All this, in Christian language, is called ‘sin’ because it is opposed to God’s plan, and destroys the most sacred — human life — upsets society and is manifested in violence with its thousand faces.”
The message affirmed: “In face of all this, God himself is profoundly moved and affected in his heart as Father. Faced with the state of fear and anguish, he wishes to save us and invites us to build a new earth of freedom and peace.”
The bishops called for conversion, for a radical and total change of attitudes on the part of all those involved in the drug trade.
They asserted: “We can no longer negotiate with Evil, which we have allowed to enter, and we need to change from within. It is not the government, the military or prisons that can solve what is happening.
“Only new hearts will create a new society. And only God can, if we let him, change our hearts.”
Addressing the perpetrators of violence, the bishops said: “Consider that life cannot be taken away from anyone.
“Repent and change your life. God is ready to forgive you, but this forgiveness entails a willingness to change your direction.”