Monday, July 14, 2014

Choluteca bishop on mining disaster

14 July 2014
Communiqué of the bishop of Choluteca

In the wake of the tragedy which occurred on July 2 in an artesanal mine in San Juan Arriba in the municipality of El Corpus, I wish to communicate the following:

I thank God for the miners who managed to emerge healthy and safe from this accident. I also grieve deeply for the disappearance of 8 miners and extend my sincere sympathy to the grieving families. All the People of God pray for them, is in solidarity with them, and wishes them peace and Christian  forbearance in these moments of sorrow in which it has not been possible to find the mortal remains of their beloved and give them a Christian burial.

In my opinion, I believe that these deeds merit a more profound reflection.
It came to public light that between 4,000 and 5,000 people in the zone have work related with mining; thus they seek to sustain their families. Apart from mining, there are very few sources of work there. Since it is a mountainous zone, agriculture is not very profitable. The people feel obliged to risk their lives in the mine, for a salary which varies between 200 and 300 lempiras a day ($10-$15) Instead of emigrating or going into crime, these mine workers are humble people who earn their livelihood in an honest manner and for this they deserve our respect. It is urgent that the government and the private business sector promote other sources of work in this zone.

Last year, two miners lost their lives, buried in the same mine. At that time the authorities suspended the permit for the mine to function. Nevertheless, it continued operating illegally, with the consequences that we now see.  From this day forward, the mining authority has to keep watch for compliance with the measures it orders.  In addition, it has to watch for the protection and security of workers in the mine, exercising a better control over artisanal mines.

The new Mining Law does not have a prevision for the case of artisanal mines. The national Congress has to modify that law to assure above all the protection and security of the mine workers.

For the Catholic Church, the human person is the image of God. The person is worth more than all the gold in the world. The dignity of every person ought to be protected and defended. Therefore, the Church also promotes and defends human life in all its forms. Human life is worth more than money. Jesus said, “What is it worth for a human person to gain the whole world is he loses his life? What price will be paid for life? (Matthew 16:26)

It is urgent to have a deep reflection on open pit mines which bring many dire consequences for the communities that live near theses mines, for the health of people and animals, for the water sources and for the environment. God gave us the earth to care for and cultivate (Genesis 2:15), not to destroy it. Before handing over a concession for operating a mine, I ask the mayors of the municipalities in my diocese to carry out the Mining Law, providing for a full and transparent consultation with all the communities which will be affected by this mine.

Finally, I ask God to illumine all of us so that we c]may seek the best manner of developing out country, benefiting all the people and all the communities. We ask this with the intercession of our Mother the Virgin of Suyapa.

+Bishop Guido Charbonneau

Choluteca, Honduras

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The original Spanish can be found here.

Joint Declaration of Bishops on child migrants

My unofficial translation of a document on the child migrant status. I made this hasty translation since I could not find a translation in English.
Mexico City, July 10 2014
CEM B. 142 / 2014
Profoundly moved by the suffering of thousands of children and adolescents who have migrated from Central America and Mexico to the United States and who now find themselves waiting to be deported, we, the bishops of the United States, Mexico, El Salvador, and Honduras, moved by the love of Christ, let all of them and their families know of our prayer, solidarity, and commitment.
These children left their countries pushed by the misery, the violence, or the desire to be reunited with their parents or family members who have migrated and, after confronting every type of deprivation and danger, now are living a terrible humanitarian crisis. This dramatic situation affects all of us and makes us commit ourselves to “globalize solidarity,” recognizing, respecting, promoting and defending the life, dignity, and rights of every person, independent of their condition as migrants.
In this sense we look hopefully on the Extraordinary Declaration of Managua, in which the member countries of the Regional Conference on Migration – Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, the Untied States, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, and the Dominican Republic – have recognized their regional co-responsibility and have committed themselves to implement comprehensive and articulated measures to guarantee the better interests of the child and adolescent, as well as family unity; to disseminate precise information in regard to the “dangers of the voyage: and the non-existence of “permit” for those who arrive in the United States; to struggle against the organized criminal groups of illegal trafficking and trafficking of persons; and to improve migration practices.
An important aspect of the Declaration is the joint commitment to eradicate the structural causes which provoke the irregular migration of underage children, creating programs of social and economic development in the communities of origin, as well as programs of reinsertion and reintegration for those who return. Also, they recognize that these child and adolescent migrants could obtain the status of refugees or a like [complimentary] protection. 
In this tenor, it is positive that Mexico has implemented the Coordination for Comprehensive Attention to Migration in the Southern Border and the creation of Centers of Comprehensive Attention to Border Movement in order to facilitate the secure admission of persons and goods, and to avoid the problems that have come to be because of the migration disorder in the zone.
The Catholic Church, which has for many years been advocating with the governmental authorities of the US, Mexico, and Central America on behalf of migrants, will continue this labor. It will also continue working in human promotion, especially of the children, families, and the poorest, to restore the social fabric and offer welcome, attention, and services to migrants in the numerous centers created for them. The Church expresses its willingness to collaborate in order to make real the agreements of the Declaration of Managua, convinced that a policy of dissuasion without national and international guarantees is ineffective and inhumane.
 Therefore, we support the request that Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso, Texas, has formulated to the Migration Committee of the US House of Representatives to issue a declaration of a humanitarian crisis to give a comprehensive response to the problem, which create public policies which provide basic services and protection to migrants, examining the roots of the exodus of migrants, assigning federal resources to invest in the countries from which these migrants come in order to avoid the need to migrate, and providing programs of family reunification for migrants.
We bishops, your servants, reiterate the urgency of respecting the human dignity of the undocumented migrants; of strengthening governmental institutions so that they may be authentically democratic, participative, and at the service of the people;  of combatting firmly the reprehensible activity of criminal groups and of organized crime whose inhuman action we strongly condemn; of guaranteeing the security of citizens; and of investing in Central America.  In this sense, we call upon business owners, especially Catholics, to investing and contribute to the promotion of justice and equity. We urge parents to not put their children in danger of undertaking the dangerous journey to Mexico and the United Sates. And we ask society in general to assume the role which it has in this sorrowful problem.
In the face of the humanitarian drama which we are suffering, we ought to listen to Pope Francis who with a profound realism has warned: “Today in many places there is a cry for greater security. But until the exclusion and inequality within a society and between different peoples is not changed, it will be impossible to eradicate violence… It is evil crystalized in unjust social structures, starting from which a better future cannot be hoped for… Inequality is the root of social ills.”
Imploring the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas, we ask our Lord Jesus Christ to protect our children and their families in this difficult moment and to give all of us the wisdom to find workable solutions, and the boldness and strength to act accordingly.

+Óscar A. Cardenal Rodríguez Maradiaga,S.D.B.
Archbishop of Tegucigalpa
President of the Honduran Bishops Conference

+J. Francisco Cardenal Robles Ortega
Archbishop of Guadalajara      
President of the Mexican Bishops Conference

+Romeo Tovar Astorga
Bishop of Santa Ana
General Secretary of the El Salvadoran Bishops Conference

+Eugenio Lira Rugarcía
Auxiliary Bishop of Puebla
Secretary General of the Mexican Bishops Conference

+ Domingo Buezo Leiva
Bishop Vicar of Izabal
Secretary General of the Guatemalan Bishops Conference

+ Eusebio Elizondo
Bishop of Seattle
President of the Committee on Migration and Refugees of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops

+ Guillermo Ortíz Mondragón
Bishop of Cuautitlán
President of the Pastoral Section of the Ministry of Human Mobility of the Mexican Bishops Conference


Original in Spanish here.
The original can also be found on the web page of the Conferencia del Episcopado Méxicano here.