.- In a recent statement the secretary-general of the Bolivian Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Jesus Juarez, responded to claims by President Evo Morales that Catholics are divided. The Church is one, he said, while emphasizing that the hierarchy places itself “at the service of building the Kingdom of God.”
Speaking on behalf of the bishops, Bishop Juarez said, “This vision of faith and of common sense that is rooted in our people is far away from the defeated ideologies that see religion as a threat to their own plans to achieve power.”
After pointing out that the Catholic Church “teaches that prayer facilitates a process of interior liberation” and helps to build up a more just society through non-violent means, the bishop said, “The Catholic Church in Bolivia has been the target of criticism and accusations, both in times of dictatorship and of democracy, for not being properly understood and for trying to remain faithful to the commandment of love she has received from Jesus Christ, which often makes her a sign of contradiction in today’s world, just like her Master.”
History should be read responsibly “with its lights and its shadows,” Bishop Juarez insisted. Bolivians should approach history with an openness to learn from the errors of the past and to look towards the future with confidence, “beyond the anchors of bitterness and resentment,” he added.
Bishop Juarez also reiterated the unity of the Church against attempts to create division between the laity and the bishops. “The Catholic Church affirms her unity, because she constitutes the one People of God, composed of bishops, priests, religious and laity,” he said.
He finished his remarks by expressing the solidarity of the Bolivian bishops with the Bishops of Honduras, while also calling on the faithful to pray for the Honduran people, “who are experiencing difficult times, that they may find the path to dialogue, reconciliation, peace and unity.”