Luque (Agenzia Fides) - "Although the collaboration of the lay faithful is precious and necessary also in pastoral tasks and activities directly linked to the life of the parish ... the fundamental mission of the laity is outside the limits of the parish church, or its group or apostolic movement". This was recalled by Metropolitan Archbishop de la Santisima Asuncion and President of the Episcopal Conference of Paraguay, Adalberto Martinez Flores, speaking to the participants in the meeting organized by the National Coordination of the Laity of Paraguay, which was held in recent days in the city of Luque.
Paraguay, with a Catholic majority, the Archbishop stressed, "is one of the most iniquitous countries in the world, where corruption and impunity are part of our daily landscape. Furthermore, many of those who commit or tolerate acts of corruption and those who promote impunity are baptized Catholics and this situation should put us to the test. We Bishops, clergy, consecrated life and lay people need to examine our conscience on our evangelization".
Monsignor Martinez Flores recalled the particular context of the Year of the Laity that Paraguay is experiencing in 2022, and the Pastoral Letter of the Bishops for this occasion, inviting them to read it and use it as a precious tool to better live the specific mission of the laity "in the Church and as a Church" (see Fides, 19/11/2021). "You lay people, are the great majority of the Church - he exhorted - and it is time to be protagonists, develop a sense of belonging and deepen formation, committed according to our faith, to be leaven in the mass, salt of the earth and light for transformation of society".
The Archbishop urged "not to be afraid" to commit to transforming according to the Gospel the situations of sin that oppress the country: corruption, iniquity, the silent violence of poverty that excludes and discards the weakest, children and the elderly, indigenous and farmers, young people with no opportunity or horizon of life, destroyed families, attacks on the environment, among other evils. In these and other painful situations, the laity participate with their action or their omission, they are affected and responsible, he pointed out. Therefore, he reiterated that the laity are responsible for their commitment in public administration and politics, as well as in all sectors of social, cultural and scientific life. "The great challenge is to face the difficult reality of society, which is increasingly violent, according to the Christian faith of the baptized in the world. The Social Doctrine of the Church is a precious tool for transforming politics, economy, culture and education, to be builders of justice and peace".
Monsignor Martinez Flores finally underlined that "our mission is to reach the geographical and existential peripheries with the Gospel", leaving the geographical limits of the chapel, the parish, the diocese, but also "leaving behind our prejudices and our pettiness" to go to the existential peripheries. "Let us not forget that the Church must evangelize. The objective is not the Church, it is the Kingdom of God and his Justice. And we must be docile instruments so that the Kingdom of God arrives and transforms temporal realities so that our people may have full life and life in abundance in him". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 5/4/2022)