Bishops Laud Panama Leadership on Life

Motion at Organization of American States Marks Precedent

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PANAMA CITY, JULY 20, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The bishops of Panama say their country’s delegation at the June general assembly of the Organization of American States set a precedent in the defense of the family.

The bishops made this observation in a communiqué following their plenary assembly, which ended Monday. The prelates offered a commentary on a variety of issues, asserting that one of the main rights that needs defending today is that regarding the family.

«Whoever promotes the family, promotes man; whoever attacks the family, attacks man,» they observed, thus calling for national and international protection of the family unit.

The bishops noted the Panamanian defense of life and the family at the OAS assembly. The motion was not objected to by any member state of the OAS and marks a precedent on this subject, they reported.

Gift of priests

The bishops of Panama expressed gratitude to God for the gift of several new priestly ordinations. They also noted advances in catechesis, parish organization and the formation of seminarians.

Regarding the continental mission called for in 2007 at Aparecida, Brazil, the prelates spoke of successes, but also a need for more pastoral ministers to take up the project.

They called for nourishing vocations of laity in politics and economics. And they noted looking ahead to 2013 and the celebrations of the 500th anniversary of the establishment of the first church in Panama.

Politics

In regard to the national situation, the bishops identified themselves with the feelings of the people «who witness with perplexity the direction being taken by partisan politics that is more concerned with furthering the electoral agenda than with resolving the country’s problems.»

«A real divorce seems to exist between the interests of the political class and the real needs of the Panamanian people,» they observed.

«It is necessary and indispensable to humanize politics and to give back to it an ethical sense, giving primacy to human dignity, the common good and respect for the will of the electorate» and «to show coherence between one’s conduct and moral principles in carrying out one’s mission,» the prelates stated.

Although Panama is experiencing increased wealth, this is not reflected in the distribution among Panamanians, the pastors observed.

«Despite the efforts made, the conditions of poverty and of extreme poverty, in which a great number of Panamanians live, have still not improved sufficiently.» They lament that «the decline in open unemployment has been accompanied by an increase in informal employment, increasing the legion of workers who do not have social services to ensure their medical care and a fitting retirement.»

Education

The bishops of Panama also addressed the issue of education, stating that the country «is not carrying out adequately its role in preparing the new generations for the challenges of a globalized and highly competitive world.»

They proposed a humanizing education, that will make students aware of human dignity and responsibility.

The bishops also lamented that education «is subjected again and again to political or labor union ups and downs.»

«Our children and young people have the right to expect better days, and that will only be possible if we place in their hands the intellectual, spiritual and moral tools that make the human being the protagonist of his history,» the pastors declared. «The irreparable loss of hours of class does not foster the quality of education, to say nothing of the many other inconveniences it brings with it.»

Corruption

As well, the prelates called for a «true independence of the various state organizations.»

For this, they emphasized a need for «liberty of expression and free access to information, especially in regard to the public domain, in a climate of mutual respect and fidelity to truth.»

They reiterated that «corruption is the evil that most affects our society. There has been, is and will be corruption while there are accomplices, and we are all accomplices if we see corruption as something natural. All this corrodes and harms the people.»

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