AMERICA/PERU – Bishops on the division of the country: “We need reconciliation”

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Lima – In their joint message of August 25th, the Peruvian bishops affirmed that they “share the suffering and great uncertainty that our beloved country is experiencing”. In this situation, they invite us “to think, like on a boat in a storm, that Jesus is always near us and tells us that we are not alone, that we always have reasons for hope”.
The message is divided into 12 points in which the Peruvian bishops analyze the situation in the country and, above all, express their deep concern about the uncertainty created by the “extreme political polarization”. This affects all social areas and especially the lives of the poorest and marginalized and increasingly affects the values of human coexistence. The bishops denounce “the painful and historical neglect of the situation of thousands of compatriots from the outskirts of the country”, which leads to an escalation of social inequalities, creates pain and resentment and increases distrust between the authorities and the population.
“Many compatriots suffer from the lack of work, the high cost of living and the fear of many to invest in our country”, they continue. The danger of a third Covid-19 wave is also perceived as threatening. In this context, they note that many parents are concerned that digital education has not achieved its intended learning goals, as many students, especially poorer ones, did not had access to digital classes. In addition, there are clear signs of mental and emotional problems in boys and girls due to the lack of direct contact with classmates and teachers. “We urge the government to make the necessary vaccines available to all, and at the same time invite all Peruvians to be vaccinated, taking responsibility for themselves and for others”.
Faith can “contribute to reconciliation and to overcome polarization and create a culture of encounter and dialogue”, because “intolerance, indifference and discrimination must no longer prevail in our coexistence”, the text reaffirms. The Peruvian bishops therefore call for this “at this crucial moment in our history”, to walk together “in search of reconciliation and the well-being of all, to have common goals, to overcome disappointment, to go beyond ourselves and our interests” and to say “yes to closeness and no to isolation, yes to the culture of encounter and no to the culture of confrontation”.
In the pursuit of the common good and democracy, “the political mechanisms of anger, aggravation and polarization” are certainly not helpful. Instead, the mechanisms provided for by the Constitution and the current legal system should be used. That is why the message says: “Let us orient democracy towards freedom and avoid all authoritarianism. Towards equality and in the fight against all forms of discrimination and poverty. Towards brotherhood and to promote social friendship and the care of our great cultural diversity and biodiversity”.
In conclusion, the bishops reaffirm their “willingness to enter into dialogue with government agencies” and appeal “to work together at negotiating tables for the common good”: “The Church extends her hands and reaffirms her willingness to build bridges and work together in brotherhood and social friendship for the common good, integral human development and to strengthen our fragile democracy”.