Bishops say new constitution should acknowledge Catholic identity of Dominican Republic

.- The Bishops’ Conference of the Dominican Republic has asked the government commission charged with reforming the country’s Constitution to “clearly define” the identity of the nation, which was forged out of a Catholic faith that “inspired national sovereignty,” and to establish respect for the right to life conception to natural death.

“Dominican identity,” the bishops wrote in a letter to the commission, “should be clearly defined.”  

“It should contain a religious element - a reference to the Christian faith that inspired national sovereignty and that has historically shaped the behavior of Dominicans,” they stated, adding that the constitution should “clearly and firmly guarantee the religious freedom, of exercise and worship for all Christian confessions as well as for any other confession.”

Likewise the bishops recalled the duty of the State to “safeguard and defend the fundamental rights” of man, based “on innate and inviolable human dignity and not on mere consensus.”  It should be clear, they said, that “the right to life is from the moment of conception until natural death.”

The bishops underscored that the State has the duty to provide basic services to the populace, including free primary and secondary education, healthcare, housing, and decent employment.  Citizens have the duty to contribute to the common good, they noted, which could be achieved by establishing “an obligatory social service program for young people between 18 and 21.”

They also said the family should be recognized “as the primary cell of society” and that policies should be put in place that strengthen and help the family to carry out its mission.

On the other hand, the bishops recommended greater limits on the different government branches and they demanded that corruption, poverty, and poor health care be combated.

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