Panama city (Agenzia Fides) - "Society, and in particular the State and international Organizations, must protect, defend and promote the dignity and integrity of the family, with political, economic, social and legal measures that guarantee the development, growth and maturity of each member. In this mission we are all committed to seeking to strengthen the unity and stability of the family, so that it can fulfill its mission". This is the appeal launched by the bishops of Panama, at the end of their second Ordinary Annual Assembly of the Panamanian Episcopal Conference. At the end of the Month of the Family, the Year of the Family and the World Meeting of Families in Rome, the Bishops wish to "send a message of hope to all the families who live in the national territory". In their message, in which they express their satisfaction with the approval of the law that establishes the month of June as "Month of the Family", the Bishops set out the fundamental aspects of the family institution: "It is in the family, the sacrament of God Trinitarian that is communion, where we find the deepest mysteries of human life, such as love, total self-giving for others, the joy of amazement generated by the gift of life of each member, and the strength that love arouses for one's own family in times of crisis or adversity". They therefore reiterate that "the family is the first and fundamental cell of the social nature of man", it is the first society that precedes all other society; "citizens are born in the family", who find in it the first school of social virtues, which "are the soul of the life and of the development of society itself"; therefore "the family constitutes, more than a legal, social and economic unit, a community of love and solidarity, irreplaceable for the teaching and transmission of cultural, ethical, social, spiritual and religious values, essential for the development, defense and well-being of its own members and of society".
The message emphasizes the need to promote the family, respecting their rights and ensuring their well-being: Many families have been forced, for decades, to live in poverty, they have been deprived of their rights to a decent life, to an education of quality, safe housing conditions, much more humane health care... One of the great threats that threatens the stability of the Panamanian family is the growing climate of violence that is registered throughout the country, and has its roots , on many occasions, in precarious situations of poverty. Cases of abuse and aggressiveness in family members, especially against the most fragile such as children and women have reached worrying levels. For all these reasons, the bishops launch an appeal to all sectors of society to "work together in the construction of a country that provides economic, social and emotional stability to the Panamanian family". "An authentic conversion and transformation is necessary that leads to a fair and dignified distribution of wealth," and at the same time, "it is urgent to promote the family".
The family plays an important role in education, where parents have the right to educate their children according to their moral, religious and cultural convictions, since "it is the sanctuary where life is born and takes shape". "From the family begins the construction of the civilization of love, from there springs the new humanity we desire, the professionals, servants and leaders of our beloved Panama are born". In the last part of the message, the bishops approach the current situation with some concern. Respecting the right to social protest, they observe that "we must all work in search of a better country, even more so now that we are coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic" which has left tears and pain, as well as economic and educational consequences for young people. To conclude, they appeal to the government, to social organizations and to all men and women of good will, "to seek together solutions to the historical moment in which we live as a people". Together with Pope Francis, they exhort to build bridges and tear down walls to "build a country model guided by human, fair, equitable and sustainable development for all its citizens." "As Pastors of this Church - they conclude - we will continue to walk together and in the midst of our communities sharing their difficulties and hopes, moved by the gospel of love and justice". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 11/7/2022)