Monday 29 May 2023

“We must not get used to violence” Bishops in Costa Rica warn

Last January closed with an unprecedented73 homicides, making it the most violent month in our history

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QCOSTARICA (Agenzia Fides)  “Yes to justice, to love, to peace”, said Pope John Paul II during his visit to Costa Rica on March 3, 1983. It is under this motto that the members of the Costa Rican Bishops’ Conference present their final message Plenary Assembly just days before the 40th anniversary of the visit of John Paul II, believing that the Pope’s words “should find an echo in the current context in which we live”.

Crime was among the issues discussed by the bishops at the February 6-9 meeting. In this regard, the bishops recalled that the number of homicides in Costa Rica has increased in recent years, reaching an all-time high in 2022 at a rate of 12.6 per 100,000 inhabitants.

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“Last January closed with an unprecedented alarming and painful number of 73 homicides, an unprecedented figure in this country and making it the most violent month in our history,” they write, urging all the country’s authorities “to put an end to this tragedy”, and to start “a serious and concrete dialogue” that will make it possible to find common solutions to combat this problem.

“In this sense, it is important to continue the fight against social inequalities and to try to do more to arouse solidarity and love for the needy,” they emphasize.

The society and the citizens of the country warn them: “We cannot and must not get used to violence”.

In considering the challenges facing Costa Rican society and the world at large, “we must
insist on turning our gaze to God and working for peace, fraternity, unity and the common good”.

The bishops turn in particular to the politicians with a request for mutual respect and a willingness to engage in dialogue “in order to restore the peace and social justice that have shaped Costa Rica for many decades”.

In communion with Pope Francis, they join his fervent desire for peace, “so that the wars that are taking place in the world may come to an end”.

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The Bishops also recall the ongoing crisis in education, the high cost of living that hits the most vulnerable in particular, and increasing polarization. In this context, they appeal to the responsibility of all citizens to “work for the consolidation of a better society in which the common good is the priority, in which we reject every act of corruption and denounce everything that breaks the law”.

The family, as the basic cell of society, “must resume its leading role in the education of the new generations and in respect for the dignity of the person and of life”.

To commemorate the 40th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s visit, the bishops offer an open invitation to a solemn service, which will take place on Thursday, March 2 at the Cathedral of San José, while a concert is scheduled for Saturday, March 4th at the National Stadium.

(Agenzia Fides, 10/2/2023)

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