Bogotá, Colombia, Sep 7, 2017 / 13:55 pm
The Catholic Church must avoid a sense of superiority and clericalism and instead teach forgiveness, reconciliation, and justice, Pope Francis said in forceful comments Thursday to a gathering of Latin American bishops.
“The Church is not present in Latin America with her suitcases in hand, ready, like so many others over time, to abandon it after having plundered it,” he said Sept. 7.
“Such people look with a sense of superiority and scorn on its mestizo face; they want to colonize its soul with the same failed and recycled visions of man and life; they repeat the same old recipes that kill the patient while lining the pockets of the doctors. They ignore the deepest concerns present in the heart of its people, the visions and the myths that give strength in spite of frequent disappointments and failures.”
He warned against those who “manipulate politics and betray hopes, leaving behind scorched land and a terrain ready for more of the same, albeit under a new guise.”
“Powerful figures and utopian dreams have promised magic solutions, instant answers, immediate effects,” he said.
The Pope spoke to the executive committee of the Latin American Episcopal Conference, known also by its Spanish acronym CELAM. He spoke at the apostolic nunciature in Bogota during his visit to Colombia.
“The Church, without human pretensions, respects the varied face of the continent, which she sees not as an impediment but rather a perennial source of wealth. She must continue working quietly to serve the true good of the men and women of Latin America,” Pope Francis said. “She must work tirelessly to build bridges, to tear down walls, to integrate diversity, to promote the culture of encounter and dialogue, to teach forgiveness and reconciliation, the sense of justice, the rejection of violence. No lasting construction in Latin America can do without this invisible, yet essential, foundation.”
“The Church appreciates like few others the deep-rooted shared wisdom that is the basis of every reality in Latin America,” the Pope continued. “She lives daily with that reserve of moral values on which the life of the continent rests.”