Saturday 4 February 2023

Catholic Bishops President-elect a document on the 7 challenges that society must face

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4 February 2023 - At The Banks - BCCR

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QCOSTARICA (Agenzia Fides) – The Bishops of Costa Rica have sent a letter to the President-elect, Rodrigo Chaves Robles, who won the run-off election on Sunday, April 3 with 52.89% of the votes.

In the letter, the Bishops express their congratulations and best wishes, assuring their prayers for the high office and offering their availability for collaboration.

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“In order to show the main concerns of the Catholic Church, the letter says, we have prepared this document which reflects what, in the light of the Magisterium of the Church and our point of view and pastoral discernment, we consider as the main challenges of Costa Rican society”.

The reflection document, born from the concrete pastoral experience of the Church in the country, presents seven themes, the first of which is politics.

The Church values politics and the democratic system that has characterized the nation: “after 200 years of independent life, we must move towards a healthy politics, in which citizens feel integrated, which is not a purely electoral ‘connection’. On the contrary, when exercising power, citizens feel that they can turn to their authorities because they look after their interests. It is essential to implement a truly participatory democracy”.

Regarding the economy, the Bishops point out that more than a million Costa Ricans in poverty and more than 400,000 are unemployed.

“We need sound finances; much will be achieved by fighting the corruption that erodes the whole of society so that everyone’s resources do not remain in the pockets of a few.” We need economic growth, which translates into housing, road infrastructure, decent jobs for all, health and quality education.

“If the economy is not put at the service of the human person, it will be empty”, they underline.

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In the third point, they note that for several years political attacks have threatened life and family. They therefore call for “a return to the culture of life that has characterized our nation since it abolished the death penalty in the 19th century”.

At the same time, it is time to promote policies that help families, that allow people to start a family… A sustainable future is only possible with strong families, creating a secure future for children; they are the society of tomorrow”.

The health option must be at the heart of any government. “We believe in a State that protects its inhabitants, that invests in a health system that is for everyone, that is united and advanced”.

Some decisions taken in the recent past, such as considering old age as a disease, should be reviewed immediately, the Bishops ask.

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“Costa Rica has always been at the forefront of protecting its population, which is why we believe that the new government must strengthen our health system, the institution that supports it and thus guarantee the best future for all, through more efficient management and rapid health care for all”.

Concerned about the deterioration of the education system, the inequality of students’ knowledge, the high number of students without connection (425,000) and the growing decline in the quality of education, the Bishops call for a high investment in this sector.

“We want to ensure an education based on respect for the human person, without ideologies that affect society itself. We dream of an integral quality education that gives the best tools to our new generations”.

Costa Rica has always been characterized by its rule of law status and strong social peace, but this reality has been tested in recent decades by inequalities that are among the highest on the continent. After the 2018 elections, the country entered a process of stronger tension.

“The only way to unite Costa Rica is to seek the common good and the search for it is, above all, the responsibility of the state authorities…the search for the common good must be an aspiration for our future rulers”.

The promotion of solidarity and fraternity will contribute to strengthening the climate of social peace so necessary for the smooth running of our country”.

The last point addressed by the Bishops is that of the environment: “Caring for our ‘common home’ is an obligation for everyone, but especially for those who guide the destiny of the nation. If we do not take care and protect the place where we live, we will not have a suitable space to live and develop; and the future of the new generations will be serious and worrying”.

Source: Agenzia Fides, Information service of the Pontifical Mission Societies

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