Accept pluralism: Latin American bishop

Commenting at the conclusion of a four-day Latin American Bishops Conference meeting in Cuba, Archbishop Baltazar Porras Cardoza of Venezuela says that accepting "different viewpoints" is a great challenge for the church today.

Catholic News Service reports that the Latin American bishops' council has drafted a more than 100-point plan to implement conclusions in the final document of the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, said the council's newly elected president.

Archbishop Raymundo Damasceno Assis of Aparecida, Brazil, president of the council, known by its Spanish acronym as CELAM, said the church in Latin American must continue to respond to the "scandalous gap" between rich and poor in the region, attract lapsed Catholics back to the church and engage in pastoral work based on the conclusions of the conference held in Aparecida in May.

Some 70 delegates, including five cardinals, represented their bishops' conferences at the 10-13 July meeting at San Juan Maria Vianney house in Havana.

Such meetings are held every two years, while general conferences, such as the one in Brazil, are held less frequently.

The new CELAM leaders said they will begin laying the groundwork for implementing the conclusions of the Aparecida conference at their first coordinating meeting 6-10 August in Bogota, Colombia.

Archbishop Porras, who was elected first vice president of CELAM, said: "The document from Aparecida calls us to a deep transformation of our vocation as disciples."

He said that there must be an "acceptance of pluralism, acceptance of different viewpoints that complement one another instead of trying to eliminate others.

"We live in a pluralistic world. Instead of deciding how we are going to confront this situation, we must decide how we are going to accept it."

In Cuba, CELAM drafts plan to implement conclusions from Aparecida (CNS, 16/7/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)

Latin American bishops seek "evangelical force" (CathNews, 13/7/07)
See, judge, act: Latin American bishops tell pope (CathNews, 13/6/07)
Latin America "continent of hope", Benedict believes (CathNews, 14/5/07)

17 Jul 2007