As they wrapped up their General Assembly, the Bishops of Colombia issued a message calling attention to the moral and social crisis the country faces and which reveals a divorce between faith and daily life among believers.
The text, which was signed by Cardinal Pedro Rubiano Saenz, Archbishop of Bogota, points out that “there are marks of holiness in our country’s history and a great number of Colombians are faithful to the Lord,” but there also “exists in many a divorce between faith and daily life, between what many say they believe and what they do in practice.”
“There are so many who call themselves Christians but are not interested in following the Lord Jesus! This is reflected in the disorder affecting the country, due to lies, injustice, the lack of solidarity, and violence,” the statement said.
The statement continues, “The reason for our work during these days is this: when we look at the beginnings of the life of the Church we understand that the normal thing would be that after the proclamation of Jesus Christ and the celebration of the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist, there would follow a Christian way of living consistent with the life which the Lord Himself imparts to us.”
The authentic identity of the Christian, the statement explains, “is found in Christ Himself, from whom [the Christian] receives his name. A Christian is someone who has had a personal encounter with the risen Jesus Christ, and like Peter, the apostles and the first Christians, understands that he is a witness of the same Lord and Savior.”
“He has become his disciple and apostle. The Christian has learned from Christ Himself the love of the merciful Father and, therefore, experiences his relationship with God as one of sonship that surpasses all expectations and fulfills all longings. The authentic Christian understands that he is an active member of the Church, the great family of the children of God,” the statement adds.
In this sense, the statement recalls that “evangelization is the invitation to a simple and spontaneious conversion, which is permanent and full of hope, thanks to the power of the Holy Spirit, which animates and guides the action of the Church.”
And “in order that each person be reached through evangelization, the Church, the great family of the children of God, with the strength of the Holy Spirit, journeys together with each human being from the beginnings of his existence so that, starting with the grace of Baptism, he is brought to maturity in his life in Christ through Confirmation and nourished with the Life of the Lord, who gives Himself to each one in the Eucharist.”
The bishops acknowledge that “one of our very important concerns is the formation of evangelizers and catechists” whose efforts lead to a renewal in the life of faith and the formation of small Christian communities.
Therefore, they expressed their commitment to providing “very special attention to the catechetical and pastoral formation of adults, so that they have all of the means to be able to taste the grace that Jesus has given them through His Spirit and achieve a new and total conversion to the Lord and a commitment to reconciliation, forgiveness and peace for the whole country.”