.- In an interview with the Catholic News Agency, Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz of Santiago, president of the Latin American Bishops’ Council (CELAM), underscored that one of the objectives of the 5th General Conference of CELAM is to awaken in Catholics the missionary spirit that is “dormant” in many believers.
In commenting on the importance of the upcoming meeting, the Chilean Cardinal said, “For a long time this was a continent with the good fortune of being evangelized, with the good fortune that many missionaries from Europe, the United States, and Canada came to our lands and we became accustomed to receiving people and receiving help but not to awakening our own missionary spirit and becoming more or less Catholics.”
“The Catholic spirit of going out to others and speaking to them of Jesus Christ was very dormant in many countries: If we are all Catholics why, for what reason am I going to go out and proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ?” the Cardinal told CNA, emphasizing that “what we would like is for there to be a great awakening of the missionary spirit in our Church. We are thinking of concluding the 5th Conference with a Great Continental Mission.”
Cardinal Errazuriz noted the challenges that are facing Latin America, such as the defense of life and of the family, the environment and other issues, and he lamented that there is a lack of Catholics engaged in resolving the great problems of the world and in bring their convictions into politics, the media and other areas.
He said that in preparation for the 5th Conference, the bishops of Latin America are reflecting on how to be better disciples and missionaries, finding inspiration as well in the reflections on the subject of different movements in the Church, “so that the bishops will be in union with the lives of the faithful of our Church.”