The director of the Social Observatory of the Latin American Bishops’ Council (CELAM), Rodrigo Guerra, said this week Catholics need to actively participate in political life, as Pope Benedict XVI indicated in his inaugural discourse for the 5th General Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean bishops.
Guerra, one of the lay participants in the 5th Conference, told reporters “The laity is called to work in political parties, in the government, and in the trade unions, so that the Gospel might be re-proposed in the political sphere. The Pope does not avoid this commitment but rather he sends us forth into this area.”
“Many of the serious problems of Latin America exist not only because of groups with interests contrary to justice and to the rights of persons, but also because Catholics have left a vacuum and we have not gotten involved as voices for the position of the Church,” Guerra said.
Asked about liberation theology, Guerra said, “The Church is not committed to any political party either on the right or the left. The Church does not endorse any particular type of politics.”
The laity, he emphasized, must put the teachings of the bishops into action, “creating new economic models and a just distribution of riches that is oriented toward ethical and moral values.”