The Church can play a role in fighting violence in Mexico, says priest

Mexico City cathedral Credit Diego Grandi Shutterstock CNA Mexico City cathedral. | Diego Grandi/Shutterstock.

With violence in Mexico on the rise, the Catholic Church has a role to play in achieving lasting peace, said a priest of Mexico City.

In his recent column entitled "Children and Young People without a Future," published in the Mexican ContraRéplica newspaper, Fr. Hugo Valdemar addressed the subject.

"Federal and state governments have been totally overwhelmed by the violence which like a horseman from the Apocalypse has been unleashed in the country," said the priest, who is the canon penitentiary of the archdiocese.

"It won't be possible to combat this evil except by uniting the forces of government, the Church and civil society."

The priest noted that more than half of Mexicans under the age of 18 live in poverty, and 1.1 million young people ages 16-17 don't attend school.

"This data serves as a preamble to create awareness of an extremely serious problem which like a cancer is devastating our homeland: the recruitment of young people into organized crime and the killing of children and adolescents which, according to the Network for the Rights of Children, in the last 13 years has reached the chilling sum of 17,600 minors killed, an average of 1,284 a year and in the last year an average of 8 murders a day."

He added that in the last 12 years, more than 6,400 children have been reported missing.

Poverty and lack of schooling leave children exposed to organized crime, Fr. Valdemar said. However, "it's also true that underlying this, there is a tremendous disintegration of the social fabric, a lack of attention by parents for their children, and a void of moral and Christian formation."

The Mexican priest, who for 15 years was the director of communications for the Archdiocese of Mexico City, said that the Church throughout history has been able to meet challenges similar to those facing current generations.

The Church accomplished this, he said, through solid Christian formation, education, and work.

"Let's think of examples of true fathers to youth such as Saint Joseph Calasanz, Saint Jean Baptiste de la Salle, or Saint John Bosco," he said.

These saints, he reflected, "aware of the grave dangers that the young people of their times were exposed to, were able to find the appropriate responses and dedicated themselves in body and soul to helping children and young people."

This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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