Sunday, February 18, 2018

Statement of the Honduras Conference of Religious



The Prophetic Voice of the Consecrated Life

“Console, say Yahweh, your God, console my people.” (Isaiah 40: 1)

As a result of the political crisis which the Honduran population is living, we,  the Conference of Religious Women and Men, declare our solidarity with the people of Honduras, calling upon the governmental authorities to hear the cries and the protests of the people.

1.     Respect for Democracy: enough of so much violence against the people, now that their will is not respected, their voice is repressed, using fore which is brutal and total disproportionate of a military invasion which, with its behavior, intimidates and attacks the citizenry, becoming deaf to their cries and protests, causing them to act aggressively and violently.

2.     We demand a professional police force, which takes care of the integrity of Hondurans and which is at the service of the citizenry, ceasing the abuse of military and police force against the people. Likewise, there is a demand for a follow-up with a full and responsible investigation which in an immediate and expeditious manner finds those responsible for all the killings, the disappearances and other violations of human rights. No more impunity.

3.     We denounce the wave of repression against the social, political, and church leaders who live with anxiety and in an environment of terror with death threats, violation of their legitimate right to protest or the exercise of their profession. If there is still democracy in the country, we therefore ask for liberty and respect for life, the free expression of thought, the right of participation, and the possibility to come to agree or disagree without discrimination or violence.

4.     We denounce the ruses of a Congress of deputies totally biased in favor of particular interests, lacking conscience, who, usurping the honorable exercise of representing, are approving laws that put at risk the food security of the people, health, free quality public education, etc., as well as the security of the citizenry and national sovereignty. We demand that these laws, before being approved in Congress, be made known and debated by all the people and receive the support of civil organizations, taking into account the participation of the sectors to which they respond according to their area.

5.     With sadness and concern we see how our youth, children, elderly, indigenous, are being assassinated or are dying a slow death having lost their vital force: food, health education, culture, worthy work. We are preoccupied seeing the large number of Honduran men and women of all ages leaving the country, legally or illegally, a forced movement of migration in dimensions every day more alarming, obliged by state violence or common violence, for the lack of local opportunities.

6.     Being an impoverished state, we demand that the little money there is of the people not be invested in unnecessary expenses and that the controlling bodies demand transparency in public administration… No more corruption.

7.     We denounce the contradictory policies of the government, to protect the environment and on the other hand promote mining, hydroelectric concessions which despoil the rural population of their water resources, forests, flora and fauna, with the alleged development of the country and of renewable resources, when they make attacks on the patrimony of the communities, violate human rights and plunder their resources, cannot be the option for the development of our country nor to combat climate change.

8.     We encourage the social organizations, popular forces, churches and all men and women of good will to be now more than ever vigilant in safeguarding, protecting and defending the nation in all its dimensions, since life is now being threatened.

9.     We invite all men and women of Honduras to not lose this opportunity since a crisis gives us the possibility to advance and construct, to improve and fulfill the aspirations of a people.

10.  As religious women and men we commit ourselves to pray and to continue accompanying those who most suffer, and weak or excluded, at the same time we encourage those who struggle for peace and justice to persevere with boldness, enthusiasm, and hope.

Tegucigalpa, February 12, 2018
Conferencia de Religiosas y Religiosos.

The original Spanish can be found at the JPIC Honduras website: here

Friday, February 16, 2018

Bishops' Lenten message 2018

The Honduran Bishops Conference issued a Lenten message for 2018. The original can be found at the end of the document which is my translation.

Catholic Bishops Conference of Honduras

Lent: Path of conversion

As we conclude the ordinary meeting of the [Honduran] Bishops Conference, we, the bishops of Honduras, wish to share with the People of God the fruit of our reflection and, at the same time, call them to live the path of Lent with renewed faithfulness to the Lord.

Following Jesus in his path toward Easter, Lent offers us the opportunity to renew our mind and our attitudes, guided by the values which moved Jesus to fulfill his Mission of offering salvation to all humanity.

The Lord Jesus invites us to be converted to the Truth; he himself came to the world to be the witness to the Truth, as he affirmed before Pilate, adding: “Everyone who belongs to the truth hears my voice” (John 18:37). Conversion to Truth means accepting that only in the Lord is the full truth; to accept that none of us possess it completely; and that in others there is part of the Truth. That conversion moves us to accept that by means of dialogue we can gain access to new horizons of mutual understanding.

Lent is a path of conversion to social justice, by which we go forward constructing the Reign of God and which demands that society and the state struggle against corruption and impunity and reject every violation of Human Rights, especially the right to life. We unite ourselves to the complaint/protest [reclamo] of the people of Honduras for the more than 30 victims killed in the protest demonstrations caused by the present political crisis, which is justly added to so many complaints/protests [reclamos] for the negligence and lack of will of the state's justice system to fulfill its obligations.

Lent is, above all, a way of conversion to the love that is Charity, which makes us see the neighbor as brother [or sister], to love enemies and pray for those who persecute us, as Jesus says in Matthew 6:44. Conversion to Charity puts us in solidarity [nos hace solidarios] with the necessities of the poor and the pain of the families of all the victims of violence. Charity which also converts us into builders of a new society, for “It is love which builds up” (1 Corinthians 8:2). And it is about building a future where Charity gets in the way of/blocks [impida] the increase of evil. Or, as Jesus says and which Pope Francis recognizes in his Lenten message for this year, “As evil grows, love gets cold in most all the people” (Matthew 24: 12).

This is a warning which we ought to take seriously and that should move us to respond to the questions which Pope Francis gives us: “How is charity growing cold in us? What are the signs that show us that love runs the risk of being turned off in us?” Among the many serious effects which we can recognize when love grows cold, Pope Francis considers the ecological crisis. Therefore he affirms in Laudato si’, number 217: “The ecological crisis is a call to a profound interior conversion.”  That is to say, we also need an ecological conversion to save the planet. Therefore, the care of our common home will be a priority theme for reflection in the pastoral life of our Church this year.

We ask our Lord that the Lenten path may be full of blessings and enriching experiences and that the traditional Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving will serve us not only to prevent [impedir] our love growing cold but also to inflame it [our love] with the passion [ardor] which lets us produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit which is “charity, joy, peace, understanding of others, generosity, kindliness, faithfulness, meekness, and self-control” (Galatians 5: 22-23a).

May Mary, Our Lady of Suyapa, who every year continues to inflame the hearts full of love [for her] of all those who gather to venerate her, accompany us also in the Lenten journey so that we may be, with her, at the foot of the Cross, when it is needed.

Tegucigalpa, 9 February 2018
[Catholic] Bishops Conference of Honduras
[Conferencia Episcopal de Honduras]

Monday, January 15, 2018

Honduran Bishops' open letter, January 15, 2018

Honduras Bishops Conference


Respected citizens:

It is our commitment, as pastors (shepherds) of the Catholic Church, to promote dialogue and peace on behalf of the common good. We believe in the value of dialogue and, as Church, we want to accept the recent call at the national level. For this to be valid (worthwhile), it ought to include two important characteristics: (1) that it be “sincere, effective, creative, without conditions, and involve all sectors of society,” as we affirmed in our communiqué od December 20, 2017; and (2) that it have palpable objectives to resolve fundamental matters, which can be achieved in the short term, with concrete commitments to fulfill them by the political actors of our country.

The post-election situation of Honduras, categorized as a political crisis, is known at the national level and is the cause of international concern. In the face of this recognized situation, we cannot no ought we prolong a crisis which paralyzes the country and which does not bring about profound changes in the heart of the society. The way out is an inclusive dialogue, with the presence of representatives of all sectors of society and a dialogue by means of an analysis of all the challenges which urgently needed to be responded to, for the purpose of overcoming the current crisis which has broken out [been unchained] since the elections of last November 26.

The absence of dialogue between the two of you deepens the political crisis in the country, which will make unfeasible the great dialogue which the population supports and hopes for. If, in the short term, real, rational, and altruistic agreements aren’t achieved, the violence will escalate, there wlll be more military and political repression, and the number of fatalities [dead victims] will increase; the country’s economy will be paralyzed, poverty will increase, the population will be even more divided, which could lead to a situation of ungovernability.

Because of all this, respectfully and earnestly [from our hearts], we ask you to sit down to talk to find ways out of this situation full of anxieties, or that you accept arbitration mediated by one of the institutions of which Honduras is a member, to facilitate a political dialogue which is sincere and without conditions, which reconciles [conciliates] positions without political advantages for anyone, for the purpose of arriving at decisions which better benefit all the society. If you do this, you will be giving an authentic [good faith] demonstration of love for Honduras.

We believe that this means would make possible the necessary and urgent dialogue which all of us hope for.

We ask the Lord to illumine your minds and soften your hearts so that you can find paths toward the reconciliation which ur country needs.

Tegucigalpa, January 15, 2018


The Honduran Bishops Conference