The Catholic Greek Bishops Conference has issued a statement blaming the violent riots throughout Greece on a “moral void” resulting from a “detachment from Christian social doctrine and the abandonment of the common values of humanity.”
A policeman’s shooting of a student has sparked five days of rioting and a general strike in Greece. The 15-year-old boy was allegedly among youths who threw stones at police cars on Saturday in an area known for its political radicalism, Agence France Presse reports.
Though initial accounts claimed the student was hit by bullets three times in the chest, a post-mortem examination indicated he was killed by a ricochet.
The nationwide unrest includes clashes at the student’s funeral and street battles with police in which students throw firebombs, pavement slabs, and other missiles and police respond with teargas.
The two officers involved in the shooting were questioned before a magistrate at a courthouse, which rioters attacked with two petrol bombs.
Banks, schools, and hospitals have closed while demonstrators have surrounded the Greek Parliament, police stations, and some Greek embassies in other countries, the AFP reports.
On Tuesday the Greek Bishops Conference called for a “peaceful revolution of values” to escape the “blind alley” which is “testifying to the moral void that exists within the state and social institutions.”
The bishops expressed their sympathies for the dead student’s family and asked the State for “every humane care.”
“We are experiencing a deep crisis of values,” wrote conference president Bishop Francesco Papamanolis. “The detachment from the Christians social doctrine and the abandonment of the common values of humanity and the respect of life, of people, property and difference, as well as unbridled materialism, lead to what is happening in our country in these days.”
The bishops said the Catholic Church invites the government, political parties, trade unions, intellectuals, and citizens of any age, class, or ideology to cooperate for the peaceful revolution of values.”
“Only through a sincere dialogue, based on the common values of humanity, which are also Christian values, and on the respect of the human being will the further fall of values be stopped and will the right way out of this blind alley be found,” the bishops’ statement concluded.