Freedom of worship, conscience and religion cannot be absent from Constitution, says Bolivian archbishop


Archbishop Tito Solari of Cochabamba, Bolivia, said this week the country’s new Constitution being drafted by the Constitutional Assembly must guarantee freedom of consciences, religion and worship, which are now “recognized in the universal culture,” as well as the fundamental values of life, the family and education.

In an article published by the archdiocesan newspaper, Archbishop Solari noted that the Church “proclaims respect for life from conception to natural death,” as life is a gift from God.  Likewise, he added, the family, the basic cell of society, “must be cared for and protected by the State above all other institutions.”

“The family, which God has created, is made up of one man and one woman, he said.  “There is no other kind of family.”
In the article, Archbishop Solari also referred to education saying, “the school is a public good,” and that parents should be the ones to decide what kind of education their children should receive.  In addition, he said, “comprehensive education must include a reference to the transcendent, that is, to religion.”

He also said the bishops believe that the Church should be recognized as a collective body with public rights.  “Her entire mission is to serve the community, with preference for the poor, the humble and the marginalized,” he added.

Archbishop Solari said these points were essential to the Christian life and that “one cannot call oneself Christian if one does not assume these points as part of one’s identity.” He said the bishops’ intention was not to impose these points on members of the Assembly but rather “to simply propose them.”

“In no way do we understand our initiative to be a gesture against a party or an action that divides Bolivians.  Rather, we think these could be points of great convergence and the basis for a renewed Bolivia,” the archbishop said.

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