Saturday, July 4, 2015

Statement of the Choluteca Diocese

Statement of the Diocese of Choluteca [Honduras]

In an ordinary meeting, we, the clergy of Choluteca joined with our bishop, in the House of Youth, on June 16, 2015, reflected, as pastors, over the reality which our country is going through in general and in particular in the southern zone. With concern we see the following situations:

1. Corruption: this has been a scourge from which we have been suffering in our society, but which has now arrived at a horrifying situation, at the price of the suffering of poor people and bringing as a consequence the loss of many human lives. This has provoked indignation in our society.

2. The impunity: The people perceive that little or nothing has been done, although they know who have been plundering the country. The law has not been applied in an effective manner that makes the guilty return what they robbed and punishing them. This has caused the increase of insecurity in our country.

3. Lack of trust in institutions. Because they have not responded effectively to the just demands of the poor people, for which they have been created, but rather to the interests of those persons who have put them in their positions they hold.

4. Development, yes – but not yes. Our people needs development and we are conscious of this, but not as it appears in the south, at the cost of the deterioration of our environment. If development is not human, it is not true development.

5. The situation of starvation. For the lack of a rainy season, we are coming near to a difficult situation for our people, due to the destruction of the environment and of nature. Facing this, as pastors, we ask the government authorities that they concern themselves for our people without politicizing the aid, so that the aid reaches the needy persons immediately.

In the face of this reality the Word of God and the Teaching of the Church illumine us:
·      “I have seen and heard the oppression of my people and have come down to liberate them, says the Lord.” Exodus 3, 7-8. God accompanies his people and walks with them; he is not distant from human suffering.
·      “Jesus tells us that the Sabbath was made for humans and not humans for the Sabbath.” Mark 2, 23-28. Institutions are at the service of all persons and not for the advantage of a few. The option for life and for the poor cannot be abandoned.[1]
·      Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium, no. 202, tells us: “The need to resolve the structural causes of poverty cannot be delayed, not only for the pragmatic reason of its urgency for the good order of society, but because society needs to be cured of a sickness which is weakening and frustrating it, and which can only lead to new crises.”
·      A society which in all its levels wishes positively to be at the service of the human person is one in which the common good is proposed as a priority, respecting the good of all men [and women] and of each one.” Compendium of the Social Teaching of the Church, no. 165.

In the face of what has been explained, we conclude the following:
We ask that the struggle against corruption and impunity be depoliticized.
We demand that respect for life and the common good be respected.
We ask that in all the social strata of society be offered formation in values: ethical, moral, civic, and Christian.
We animate all our brothers [and sisters] to struggle together for peace and justice we our people so longs for.
We encourage all to participate actively and responsibly in building a country where one lives with dignity and where their rights are respected.

We ask our Lord Jesus Christ to illumine us and we ask the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception, patroness of our diocese of Choluteca, to intercede for us.

Released in the city of Choluteca, in the department of Choluteca, on June 16, 2015.

The bishop signs in the name of all the clergy


[1] My translation of inclaudicable, a word I could not find in my dictionaries.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Honduran bishops on current crisis

Dialogue for Peace in the Society
“Blessed are those who work for peace” (Matthew 5:9)

Our Country is stirred up in the face of so much corruption, violence, hunger, and impunity. For quite some time, many of us Hondurans have come denouncing social injustice.

The Church has raised its voice in many occasions through the Bishops’ Conference, bishops and priests in their dioceses, [those who live] the Consecrated Life and faithful lay Christians, speaking prophetic word, denouncing so much sin, and announcing the Reign of God where justice, respect for the life and dignity of human beings, the promotion of the common good, and the inclusion of the neediest might become a reality.

We cannot be indifferent in the face of the cry of a people who weeps for those who have died by so much violence, who suffer poverty for lack of employment, and who see their children leave in a migration which separates families and uproots people from their faith and their culture, a migration which is forced because there is nothing to eat or death by homicide stalks them, devouring each day many Hondurans.

Therefore, we as members of the Bishops’ Conference, representing the Catholic people, pilgrims here in Honduras, we unite ourselves with all those who struggle for a better Honduras and we proclaim that there cannot be peace without social justice, fraternity without reconciliation, solidarity without compassion for the poorest, social harmony without eradicating impunity, nor progress without throwing out the corruption which does so much evil to all of us.

In a country where many moral, judicial, and labor rules have been broken, for the purpose of benefiting a few who unduly enrich themselves, we believe that one must follow the courageous path of eradicating organized crime, delinquency, and drug consumption which causes so much destruction for the young and their families.

The institutional strengthening of the State is urgent and necessary, especially the Public Ministry[1]. We cannot be quiet in the face of the sad case of Social Security[2] in which thousands were and still are victims. We also cannot be silent in the face of the unfinished purification of the National Police, in the face of hired assassins, extortion, or the badly-named war tax,[3] which so many of the population suffer.

In whatever democracy, the only way to solve differences is dialogue, which is open, respectful, and sincere, with capacity for listening and which provides concrete and verifiable solutions which benefit society. All of us should assume our share of mutual responsibility in this critical moment of our history. We are grateful that the international community wishes to accompany us in this process, respecting our sovereignty and proper values.

We have learned from the Gospel of Jesus Christ and from the Social Doctrine of the Church that the way to attain the dignity of the human person and the inclusion of the poorest – the disposables as Pope Francis puts it – consists in living with a heart infinitely merciful who makes the option to save all and which, without rejecting anyone, seeks the Reign of God.

Honduran Bishops’ Conference
Tegucigalpa, 2 July 2015

[1] El Ministerio Público (the Public Ministry) is responsible for advocating for the victims of crimes. (Note of the translator.)
[2] The Honduran Social Security Institute (IHSS) is responsible for the health needs of Honduran  workers. (Note of the translator.)
[3] Several of the gangs impose a war tax on businesses where they are or demand a “war tax” from bus and taxi companies. (Note of the translator.)
 The original can be found here: