MEXICO CITY, NOV. 16, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The solution to violence and insecurity in Mexico is a conversion of hearts and a nation-wide assuming of personal responsibility, the bishops of that country are proposing.
This was part of the reflection offered by the Mexican episcopal conference in their message from last Thursday on the growing sense of insecurity that is pervading Mexico.
If national security has been at the forefront of social concerns for years in Mexico, it has recently gained even more attention. Last August in various Mexican cities, thousands of demonstrators dressed in white and participated in a march for security.
Just one example of the insecurity that brings these citizens to the streets is the bloodshed that has come with President Felipe Calderón’s war on drugs. Fighting the drug system has been one of his priorities since his 2006 election. But by April of this year, the number of casualties claimed since Calderón took office was more than 10,000. Unofficial sources put the number of victims for this year alone at more than 6,000, counting traffickers, police or other security personnel, and innocent bystanders.
“Given the reality of insecurity and violence that we are living through in our country, we wish to encourage hope in those who live in fear, anguish and indignation,” the bishops wrote. “[…] We are shattered by the bloodshed of aborted children, of murdered women, the victims of abductions, assaults and extortion, those who have fallen in the confrontation between gangs, those who have died in the fight against organized crime, and those who have been executed with cruelty and inhuman coldness.”
Abortion is another new form of insecurity in Mexico; it was only legalized in the capital city in 2007.
The prelates lamented that “anger, hatred, rancor, the desire for vengeance and justice by one’s own hand” is “beginning to sprout in the hearts of many Mexicans.”
They acknowledged many factors play a part in such a situation: “corruption that invades institutions and environments, poverty, inequality, impunity, the lack of opportunities, the desire for profit and easy earnings, the insensitivity of political and social actors, who only watch over their personal or group interests.”
However, the bishops said, “deep down what is more worrying is the contempt for life, for the human being turned into merchandise, a disposable object. We are losing the awareness of the dignity of the human person and the capacity to regard one another as brothers.”
The Mexican episcopate urged their countrymen to resist the urge to point fingers. Instead, “we appeal to each and every Mexican man and woman to assume his or her responsibility, abandoning complicity and passive and complacent attitudes. […] We are faced with a problem that will not be solved solely with the application of justice and law, but fundamentally with conversion. Repression controls and inhibits violence temporarily, but never overcomes it.”
The bishops noted that Christians “know that the solution to the problem of evil is deeper and more complex. The acts of violence that we witness and suffer are but symptoms of a more radical struggle, where, in fact, at stake is the future of our homeland and of humanity. The human being is the battleground of opposing tendencies, one to humanization and the other to de-humanization, and the Christian faith shows that only the human being who has rediscovered his transcendent vocation, is able to come out victorious from this conflict. Only in Christ do we find our true and full human identity.”
“In this situation,” they continued, “we offer in the service of our country what the Church has as her own: a global and transcendent vision of man and of humanity. In Christ, God our Father calls us to form a new humanity, animated by his Spirit. Only if there are new women and men will there also be a new world, a renewed and better world. Because of this, we believe that the first thing that has to be done to overcome the crisis of insecurity and violence is the renewal of hearts.”
The bishops agreed that “we are going through difficult times” but they affirmed that “Christ conquered death and we have placed our confidence in him.”
Moreover, they said: “The historical journey of our Mexican people has not been easy, but has always counted on the nobility of its men and women.
“It cannot be otherwise today, but we must reconcile with one another to rebuild the social fabric and national unity in the richness of the plurality of our cultures and society. […] We exhort citizens to be responsible for one another, looking after and encouraging each other. Unity makes us strong and protects us.”
Finally, the bishops entrusted this cause to the maternal intercession of the national patron, Our Lady of Guadalupe.
“We rest in her arms and implore her blessing,” they wrote, “so that ‘in her house, which is the whole of our homeland, we will be able to recognize ourselves as brothers and live in fraternity.'”