.- The Council of Latin American Bishops’ Conference (CELAM) wrapped up its 30th Plenary Assembly by declaring to continent to be in “a state of mission” and calling on Catholics of Latin America and the Caribbean to meet the challenge of evangelizing other continents.
In the final message of the Assembly entitled, “So That Our Peoples May Have Life,” the bishops state, “With our communities we place ourselves in a ‘state of mission’ in hopes that, during this year of the Eucharist, the Lord Jesus Christ might remain with us and make us capable of communicating Him to our brethren.”
“In the Church in Latin America and the Caribbean, home to the majority of Catholics in the world, there must awaken a desire to bring the Gospel to other countries and continents, to those the proclamation of Jesus Christ has not yet reached,” the bishops wrote.
They also explained that at the dawn of the new millennium, “Latin America and the Caribbean are strongly challenged by the religious, ethical and cultural changes that signify the birth pains of a new era.”
The bishops noted the importance of pastoral work aimed at bring people to conversion amidst the confusion of the modern world and the seductive messages conveyed by the media.
“We shall set out into the deep, frequently sailing against the tide, but with sympathy for each person, created and recreated in the image and likeness of God,” they added.
The bishops lamented the continued problem of poverty in Latin America and that certain governments do not work for the common good. They also chided Catholics who are incoherent in their faith and do not help build up society as disciples of the Lord. “The marginalization of Native Indians, who have not been given the place they deserve, causes us sorrow,” the bishops also noted.
In this context the bishops highlighted the importance of the culture of life, which is manifested “in the respect for life, in the joy of transmitting life, in the raising of Christian families that become sanctuaries of life, in the creation of social and legislative conditions that make it possible for everyone, especially the poor and marginalized, to live a live worthy of their human and Christian vocation.”
During the last day of the Assembly, the bishops approved an economic report as well as a budget for the V General Conference of the Latin American Bishops.