Panama - "It is urgent that those who exercise authority listen to citizens and do not make decisions based on personal and political interests".
This is how the Bishops of Panama expressed themselves at the end of their first Annual Ordinary Assembly, held from 5 to 8 February, in which they reflected on the ecclesial and social reality of the country.
After having officially welcomed the new Apostolic Nuncio to Panama, Mgr. Miroslaw Adamczyk, and urged the people of God to join the Day of prayer and fasting for peace, convened by Pope Francis for 23 February, in the face of tragic situations of prolonged conflict in different parts of the world, the Bishops focused on the Synod of Bishops dedicated to young people, which will be held in Rome from 3 to 28 October 2018, in which the Panamanian Church will be represented by His Exc. Mgr. Manuel OchogavÝa B., Bishop of Colˇn-Kuna Yala, and responsible for World Youth Day to be held in January 2019. "As the host country of WYD - the Bishops wrote in the statement sent to Fides - our challenge is to go to the suburbs to meet the young Panamanians, without distinction of creed, ethnicity, social class or political affiliation.
We want to reach above all those who are in the existential and geographical suburbs. This is the mission of the Youth Pastoral, which we must all support and strengthen".
Then the Bishops faced the social reality of the country, reaffirming their efforts in the "promotion and defense of the family institution" as a permanent mission and concern of the Episcopate, stating: "we will not renounce the right to express our position, on issues that influence us and we will do it as always in the absolute respect of every person and according to the law".
Furthermore, highlighting that all Latin America suffers a great "decline in political issues" and is severely affected by corruption, they reiterated the urgency that "those who exercise authority must listen to citizens and do not make decisions based on personal interests and political divisions". "It is important to recover trust and credibility in the institutions of justice in the country".
Therefore, noting that the economy market in Panama continues to produce huge profits for the few, while the number of poor people whose lives are becoming increasingly difficult increases, the Bishops emphasized that to reverse this unjust reality, "a deep discernment of the kind of country we want is necessary, analyzing the causes that produce social diseases, with critical capacity". "The Church - the Bishops say in the conclusion of the statement - can and must contribute to the construction of a better country, to recover the social fabric in which the human person and the common good are the fundamental concern. It is urgent that ecclesial groups assume commitment to be a 'Church that goes forth', to present alternatives based on our principles and values". >>