The president of the Bishops’ Conference of Argentina, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, said this week the bishops do not intervene in public life based on the human sciences but rather inspired by the light of the Gospels.
During the presentation of a compilation of the documents of the Argentine bishops from the last several decades, Cardinal Bergoglio underscored that the Church’s comments on issues related to human dignity or social realities “do not center upon polls or socio-economic data or other instruments undoubtedly useful for sociologists, economists or politics,” but rather upon “the prophetic word about reality proclaimed from the Gospel, a word that does not pretend to provide technical solutions but rather to awaken consciences in view of achieving the common good.”
Among the documents included in the compilation, Cardinal Bergoglio made special mention of a 1981 statement by the bishops of Argentina which encouraged efforts at bring about a return to democracy after a long period of dictatorial regimes. “It was a prophetic word proclaimed from the Gospel, which accompanied the Church and all men of good will in their march toward the immense and complex task of restoring democracy in our country,” he said.
He warned, however, against taking certain statements by the bishops over the years out of context and thus “altering their meaning and making the documents say things they don’t, or worse yet, contradict what they do say.”
The cardinal said he hoped there would be a greater desire to understand the Church’s contribution to peace and harmony in the country. He reiterated the Church’s commitment to helping those in need by making these reflections, “which have be borne of our faith,” available to all people of good will.