Latin American Bishops Reaffirm Confidence in Pope

Thank Pontiff for Letter Explaining Lefebvrite Situation

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BOGOTA, Colombia, MARCH 21, 2009 ( Thirty bishops sent Benedict XVI a letter of solidarity, expressing support in response to the criticisms against him in recent weeks, and thanking him for his letter to worldwide prelates.

The bishops, general secretaries of bishops’ conferences of Latin America and the Caribbean, sent the letter while meeting in Bogota.

They expressed gratitude for the Pope’s March 12 letter sent to bishops worldwide, in which he explained the reasons and facts regarding the lifting of the excommunication of four bishops illegitimately ordained by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.

The message of support to the Pontiff was signed by Archbishop Raymundo Damasceno Assis of Aparecida, Brazil, president of the Latin American episcopal council, and by Archbishop Victor Sánchez Espinosa of Puebla, Mexico, the council’s secretary-general.

The letter stated: «What His Holiness wrote has moved us and reinforced our profound ecclesial communion.

«We have also regarded it as an example of a merciful and transparent spirit, motivated by the unforeseen echo of the events, but also trusting that what has occurred is moreover a positive design of the Lord for his Church at this moment of history.»

It continued: «Your letter traces a path for us of truth, love and unity necessary for each one of us, called to the apostolic succession for the ministerial service.

«Your Holiness describes very well something that is not far from our own pastoral experience: in fact persons and groups that claim tolerance for themselves, can arbitrarily deny it to those who seek an approach in truth.

«Most Holy Father, as a representative group of our Church in Latin America and the Caribbean, with these lines we wish to add ourselves to the renewed expressions of affection, confidence and communion with Your Holiness in our prayers and service to the Churches entrusted to us, and in responsibility for the great universal Church that the Lord has commended to you.»

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