San José de Costarica (Agenzia Fides) - "We reaffirm our commitment to listen to, accompany, guide and defend our peoples in their struggles, aspirations and hopes, especially in these times when the Covid-19 pandemic has deepened the gaps between the few who have a lot and a large majority who have almost nothing", wrote the Bishops of the Episcopal Secretariat of Central America (SEDAC) in the message published at the end of the annual Assembly, which took place in virtual form from November 30 to December 3, deals with the "renewal of a synodal Church", as the title says.
The bishops emphasize that on the occasion of the celebrations for the bicentenary of Central America's independence, despite the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Church does not fail to thank God "because the Church was very present in the independence process" and warn that the economic, political and social crisis "affecting the lives of our peoples highlights that the freedom that our ancestors conquered is a never-ending task, as new slavery is born in every time".
Looking at the social and ecclesial reality of Central American countries, the Bishops note with concern "the effects and consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, poverty, migration, the crisis of democracy, corruption, gender ideology, the environmental crisis, changes in legislation regarding the imposition of global cultural models such as abortion, euthanasia, same-sex 'marriage', ideology of education, etc." These problems require "our primary pastoral attention and profound transformations, which will only be possible with the consent of all", the Bishops said. The historical Ecclesiastical Assembly of Latin America and the Caribbean has identified priority challenges to be met (see Fides, 29/11/2021), according to the Bishops, who stressed the need to strengthen the pastoral care of the priests, "so that it is a permanent and continuous service that contributes to the growth of the priests in fidelity and constant renewal". Finally, the message focuses on "Missionary Synodality" and on the path also undertaken by the American Churches towards the Synod of October 2023. It is emphasized that it is essential for bishops, priests, religious men and women to "abandon any self-centeredness" in order to ensure the participation of the laity and to encourage attentive listening of all the baptized, especially those who have not yet taken an active part in the life of the Church, "by opening their hearts and minds to listen to those who, for various reasons and circumstances, have open wounds". "Let us be ready to go out of our churches and set out to announce the Good News of the Gospel and revive the hope of our peoples", the bishops concluded. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 6/12/2021)