.- With an apostolic blessing from Pope Benedict XVI, the International Congress “Charity, Reconciliation and Human Dignity” began in Lima, gathering capital leading experts from the Americas and Europe in the Peruvian capital to reflect on the theme in the light of the encyclical “Caritas in Veritate.”
In the blessing sent to the congress, the Pope encouraged the participants "to deepen in the Social Doctrine of the Church to find in it the principles that, inspired in the Gospel, contribute to the creation of a society more worthy of man."
On the opening day of the event, organized by the Archdiocese of Lima and the Life and Spirituality Association (Vida y Espiritualidad), Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani recalled the urgency of spreading the Social Doctrine of the Church in the public arena. During this time of crisis, he said, the lay faithful should not accept attempts being made to confine the Church to the private sphere, thus leading to a secularized society.
"More than ever, the presence of the teaching and the practice of the Social Doctrine of the Church in the public field becomes necessary. Given this dramatic crisis, it is unacceptable that the Church is confined to the private sphere in the name of pluralism and freedom. An awakening is needed, "said Cardinal Cipriani.
In addition, the Founder and Superior General of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, Luis Fernando Figari, offered the keynote speech, titled, “The Lord Jesus, the Reconciler of Human Beings.”
Figari said that in recent years the word "reconciliation" has become depleted, and that Catholics need to regain its meaning by looking to the initiative of God, who comes to meet men in order to overcome the deep ruptures of sin.
"The Lord Jesus, in his person and in his mysteries, has come to reconcile humans with God, with the depths of one's self, with other human beings and with creation, then as now he presents himself to human beings in the proclamation and in the ever present consummation of his love. ‘He is the same yesterday, today and shall be forever,’ as we read in Scripture and as we have repeated so much in recent years on the Continent of Hope," he said.
Finally, Bishop Carlos Garcia Camader of Lurin, Peru spoke about "Mary, Mother of Reconciliation," emphasizing the crucial role played by the Virgin in the reconciliation of humanity. He said, "She is, in all truth and authenticity, Mother of Reconciliation and of the reconciled."
The congress began on the evening of September 3 and will conclude on September 5. Cardinal James Stafford, the head of the Apostolic Penitentiary and former Archbishop of Denver, is scheduled to deliver an address on Saturday.