Latin American Bishops Fear for Democracies

CARACAS, Venezuela, MAY 20, 2001 ( Latin American bishops pledged a new commitment to build the “culture of life” as they warned about the region´s fragile economies and democracies.

In a statement issued at the end of their May 15-18 assembly here, the Latin American bishops´ council (CELAM) warned: “The effects of unbridled economic globalization, and growing internal and external debt, generate burdens that have increased poverty enormously.”

In this connection, the bishops renewed their “commitment to a ´mobilization for life´ that will lead to a ´culture of life.´”

“We want to reach the new forms of poverty, which often affect environments and groups not lacking in economic resources but exposed to the despair of absence of meaning, the snare of drugs, abandonment in old age and sickness, marginalization, and social discrimination,” the bishops´ statement added.

Quoting John Paul II, the bishops called “for a new way of thinking of charity, which will promote not so much or only the efficacy of the aid given, but the ability to be close to, and in solidarity with, those who suffer.”