Santiago (Agenzia Fides) - An invitation to the communities, and in a personal way to every consecrated person, to participate "in a responsible way in the exercise of discernment that engages us in the process that our country is experiencing", was addressed by the President of the Conference of religious men and women of Chile (Conferre), Father Mario Salas O. de M., in view of the consultation on September 4, when Chileans will be called to express themselves on the text of the new Constitution (see Fides, 11/3/2022; 14/3/2022; 8/4/2022; 25/7/2022).
"We live in a time marked by different perspectives and reflections, positions and debates, and in this line, as members of the Church, even more assuming our consecrated life in a prophetic perspective, it becomes imperative to take part in this process", writes the President of Confirm in a letter to the religious, sent to Fides. God sends us his Holy Spirit - he continues - "because a healthy discernment according to the heart of a believer, is made not only by the reality that we place in the hands of God, but above all by listening to God's will for our reality".
Two spaces for reflection will be held virtually, via zoom, in the next few days: the first on August 2, from 10 to 12, on the theme "Confessional educational projects for the new Chile?" organized by the Education Commission of the Conference and by the Education Area of the Bishops' Conference. The second appointment, on August 9 from 7 to 8.30 pm, is organized by the Justice and Peace Department, on the theme "New opportunities and constitutional weaknesses, in terms of discernment".
The President of the Conference underlines: "the current times in which we find ourselves as a country oblige us as a religious life to take this process seriously" and recalls the message of the Bishops a few days ago on this issue (see Fides, 25/7/2022). He then notes the importance of reading and deepening the proposal of the new Constitution, expressing concern for the polarization of society: "We are faced with a choice between two options that are strongly connoted one against the other, which makes the decision of each citizen complex. Hence the importance of making a good informed discernment and not being taken by radical positions in both sectors, which make civic dialogue impossible, which is the basis of a democratic society".
Religious life, present since the nation's origins, together with missionary and evangelizing activity has contributed to the life and development of our people in many other areas, writes Father Salas. "These historical certainties lead us once again to place ourselves at the service of our country, contributing to the development of our people", wishing to unite the human family in the search for sustainable and integral development, as our Bishops wish.
The President of the Conference appreciates "the effort to include the proposal of social rights, the environment and the recognition of indigenous peoples in the constitutional text" as they place at the center of the whole human being, its care and promotion in the midst of society. On the other hand, the approach to some values that we consider fundamental, "which go beyond a specific religious vision", such as what the text says on the value of human life, on the "right" to abortion, such as the approach to education, is religious freedom, gender identity, among others is worrying. Father Salas concludes by inviting men and women religious to carry out a good process of discernment, so that "the option that each one will have to take is made in a conscious way, seeking the best for Chile".
According to the latest Statistical Yearbook of the Church, 190 non-priests and 3,353 women religious live in Chile. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 29/7/2022)