Violence not a means for achieving respect for human rights, says Paraguayan bishop

.- Bishop Candido Cardenas of Benjamin Aceval said last week violence is not a legitimate means for bringing about change or for gaining respect for human rights.

Bishop Cardenas made his comments following violent demonstrations last week in protest to a court’s decision.  The Paraguayan court sentenced the owners of the Ycua Bolaños Supermarket to five years in prison for negligent homicide after a 2004 fire at the store that left 400 shoppers dead after they were trapped inside and unable to open the doors.

“We say to those who use violence to bring about change, that violence is not the just and humane path which will lead to change, to transformation.  If we do not have justice and respect for each person in our minds and in our hearts, it is very difficult to make a lasting change,” the bishop said.

The Church, he continued, has always believed that change comes through peaceful persuasion, because violence begets more violence.  “The Church has never employed violence as a means of establishing human rights and respect for the dignity of the person,” he stressed.

Bishop Cardenas underscored that the Church would always denounce attacks on life and on the dignity of the person, since “nobody has the right to destroy or mutilate life.”  

“The person cannot be destroyed for any reason, be it economic, political, social or religious.  The human person reflects the presence of God,” he said.

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