Mexico City (Agenzia Fides) - "There are several challenges that we faced in 2019 and that, as a Catholic Church, we faced with due urgency and responsibility. We continue to pray for the special situations we are experiencing and we commit ourselves with our best efforts to continue taking care of the people that the Lord has entrusted to us". This is what the Bishops of Mexico write in a message for the new year, published on the 14th January, signed by Mgr. Rogelio Cabrera López, Archbishop of Monterrey and President of the Mexican Episcopal Conference (CEM), and by Mgr. Alfonso G. Miranda Guardiola, Auxiliary Bishop of Monterrey and Secretary General of CEM.
"The migratory emergency - they write in the message sent to Fides - which began with the large caravans of 2018 and continued in 2019 was the occasion to make the charity of our Church in Mexico concrete, in the person of our migrant brothers. Thousands of them have entered our country in recent months and the flow has not stopped".
The $ 500,000 contribution offered by Pope Francis to assist migrants in Mexico was used to carry out 32 projects aimed at responding to emerging food, health and clothing issues. In some cases, areas of reception centers, now packed with migrants, have been renovated, and in others, furniture has been purchased. For the safety of volunteers and migrants, a perimeter fence of some reception centers was completed. "We hope to conclude all the projects by February - they write - and to be able to continue to count on the generosity of the People of God to continue this support for our migrant brothers".
The second issue concerns the protection of minors: the Bishops recall the progress made in the establishment of diocesan commissions, of which 14 already exist. The National Council for the Protection of Minors has integrated the members of the Conference of Major Superiors of the Religious of Mexico (CIRM) to walk together with religious congregations to eradicate sexual abuse of minors in the ecclesial environment. "In total, 426 priests have been investigated in the past 10 years. 173 trials are still underway, 253 have been completed and 217 priests have been dismissed from the clerical state".
"The year 2019 was one of the most violent years we have experienced in our country, events that have deeply damaged the whole society, as well as priests and churches", continues the text, citing the 272 centers where, among many other services, the Church assists victims of violence, works for the recovery from addictions, assistance to women, attention to prisoners, victims, street children and missing families.
"The social work carried out by the Catholic Church in the country is vast - underlines the text of CEM -. To continue collaborating in favor of society, we must update the legal framework that governs one of the fundamental rights for every modern democratic society, which is religious freedom, update the secondary law on religious freedom, uphold the historical principle of separation between Church and state, according to the most advanced international criteria".
The Bishops stress that they do not ask for privileges for any religious association, but they want "churches and their ministers to work properly, that religious freedom is protected by effective legal protection and that the supreme rights and duties of men are respected in order to freely develop religious life in society. We profess the authentic separation between Church and State and the full autonomy of both in their specific fields".
The message ends with the invitation of the Mexican Bishops to look to 2020 with faith and hope, so that it may be "a year in which peace, reconciliation and dialogue reign", turning one’s gaze and heart to Christ the Savior. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 15/1/2020)