In a pastoral letter the Bishops’ Conference of El Salvador has called on authorities and society at large to assume the responsibilities and measures “courageously and generously” that will allow the country to overcome the state of violence in which it has fallen.
“As men of faith, we are convinced that this dramatic reality (of violence) can be transformed if each and every one of us assumes our responsibilities with clarity and courage,” the bishops stated.
In their statement, the bishops offered an analysis of the violence that has swept the country. “The country which carries the name of Christ, our savior, is navigating through a sea of violence,” they maintained.
Although it may seem impossible to escape this scourge, they continued, the Church, through her social doctrine born of the Gospel, proposes an integral humanism that “opens the horizons of hope and points out some of the paths we must take.”
“Human dignity, respect for live, solidarity, subsidiarity and the search for the common good” are but a few of the notions that are necessary for overcoming evil with good, the bishops noted. Overcoming evil with good for Salvadorans means realizing that violence “has become a true epidemic.”
It means analyzing the problem of juvenile gangs with the hopes of changing laws on the use of arms, the spread of which “is a decisive factor in the high murder rate we are experiencing.”
The bishops stated that all citizens should be involved in the effort to combat the problem of violence, rather than continuing to cast all the blame on the government.”
They also noted the indispensable role played by the family, which should be completely supported by the State and “is the most important school of human, civic and spiritual values.”
Only with “weapons of love” will it be possible to overcome evil with good, the bishops pointed out, because “when love overcomes evil, love reigns and where love reigns, peace reigns.”