Bishops: Mexico’s Drug War Needs Faithful Catholics

Prelates’ Lenten Letter Urges Adequate Valuing of Material Goods

MEXICO CITY, FEB. 13, 2008 ( Mexican bishops are proposing Lent as a good time to work against phenomena caused by the overvaluing of material goods, especially drug trafficking.

In a pastoral letter, the Mexican episcopal conference, presided over by Bishop Carlos Aguiar Retes of Texcoco, said the key to the fight against giving wealth false importance, is bringing the faith to daily life.

The bishops echoed the appeal Benedict XVI made in his Lenten message.

“In these times, in which globalization and trade economies make profit the supreme value,” Benedict XVI has invited us to “reflect on the practice of almsgiving, which represents a specific way to assist those in need and, at the same time, is an exercise in self-denial to free us from attachment to worldly goods,” the bishops wrote.

“Mexicans have given an example of solidarity in moments of emergency, proof of which was the help given during the recent flooding in the states of Tabasco y Chiapas,” the letter affirmed. “This time of Lent, nevertheless, is an opportunity to turn our gaze again to these needy brothers, primarily in these states where even though the state of emergency has already passed, are now living a period of rebuilding.”

The bishops referred to flooding in early November, which caused more than 800,000 people to lose their homes and livelihood in Mexico’s southern states.

Social sins

The prelates emphasized that “in Mexico, as in the entire world, we suffer the devastation of some phenomena induced by the overvaluation of material goods, which impact, in the cruelest way, those who have least.”

They continued: “Among these phenomena, we find corruption, seeking power for its own sake, monopolies that widen the gap between the rich and the poor, and especially, the scourge of drug trafficking, which has provoked so much death and destruction in our country.

“If these social sins are hurting us in Mexico it is because we Catholics are committing one of the most serious errors of our time: a separation between the faith we profess and our daily life.”

The Mexican bishops applauded what they called a great effort in the fight against drug trafficking made by federal and state governments and various corporations.

The Lenten letter concluded saying that this liturgical time “offers all of us Mexicans the opportunity to continue helping our most needy brothers, and to ratify our commitment to a culture of life, reaffirming our resounding ‘no’ to the scourge of drug trafficking and to the pain and death that always accompany it.”

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