Church Urges Dialogue in Honduras

Pope and Costa Rican Bishops Mark Path to Peace

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 13, 2009 ( Costa Rican bishops are backing Benedict XVI’s call for dialogue and a search for the common good so as to defend democracy in Honduras.

The Pope spoke Sunday about the political unrest under way in the Central American nation, where a June 28 military coup ousted President Manuel Zelaya, accused by Hondurans of breaking constitutional law with an attempt to extend his term.

After a failed effort to return and retake control of the nation, Zelaya met July 7 with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and agreed to mediation by the president of Costa Rica, Óscar Arias Sánchez. Arias is a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for previous mediation in Latin America.

In a communiqué signed by the president of the Costa Rican episcopal conference, Archbishop Hugo Barrantes Ureña, the prelates expressed their «solidarity with the Honduran people, and especially with the Church of this nation led by our brother bishops in these moments of tension and uncertainty.»

The prelates reiterated confidence in «international law and dialogue, as means to achieve the common good of populations, and in this difficult moment, the good of the Honduran people.»

The bishops voiced their prayer «so that the efforts to mediate this crisis would be well received by the parties concerned» and they asked the Holy Spirit to «enlighten those who offer their services as mediators» so that «a viable and peaceful solution in favor of all Hondurans is achieved.»

Tenacious pursuit

On Sunday during his address to crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square to pray the midday Angelus, the Pope also assured his prayers for the «dear Honduran people.»

«I am following the events in Honduras in these days with profound concern,» he affirmed. And he invited prayer «for this dear nation so that, through the maternal intercession of Our Lady of Suyapa, the leaders of the nation and all its inhabitants patiently tread the path of dialogue, mutual understanding and reconciliation.»

«This is possible if, rising above individual interests, everyone makes the effort to seek the truth and tenaciously pursues the common good,» the Holy Father declared. «This is the condition to ensure peaceful coexistence and authentic democracy!»

Honduran Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga also urged dialogue in his televised address to the nation aired the day before Zelaya’s failed attempt to return. The cardinal further requested the international community to take into account Zelaya’s actions leading up to the coup, and not just the military response.

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On ZENIT’s Web site:

Commentary on Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga’s address:

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