13 Nov Message of solidarity from the General Government of the Order
“The fruit of righteousness will be peace;
its effect will be quietness and confidence forever”. (Is. 32:17)
In recent weeks we have witnessed a series of socio-political events that have taken place in Latin America, particularly in Ecuador, Chile and Bolivia, and not least Lebanon, among other countries in the Middle East, which are also going through challenging times. Such events account for the discontent of a large part of the population with the political system or with the economic system (Cf. Evangelii Gaudium n.60) – or both – in the respective countries. But above all, discontent and frustration increase with inequality, iniquity and corruption: Pope Francis has called it “social cancer”.
People – without fear – have taken to the streets to express their discontent publicly and to demand dignity. On some occasions, acts of violence have been unleashed between demonstrators and the security forces. We have witnessed the looting and destruction of shops, public and religious bodies, but what pains us most and worries us is the violence perpetrated against so many men and women, violence that has led to the loss of life itself. We are concerned about the normalization of violence and repression as a means of resolving conflict. “The joy of living frequently fades, lack of respect for others and violence are on the rise, and inequality is increasingly evident. It is a struggle to live and, often, to live with precious little dignity” (Cf. EG n.52).
We invite all those involved, especially democratically elected governments, to rise to the occasion by fostering dialogue and encounter. We encourage our Franciscan brothers and the Franciscan Family to pray and to be actively involved with the people in their just demands, opening our parishes, convents, schools and shrines to shared prayer, creative dialogue, and a sincere search for peace without prejudice. Let us remember that “a Church which “goes forth” is a Church whose doors are open” (Cf. EG. 46).
Our Franciscan spirituality continually invites us to be bridges, promoters and agents of dialogue; builders of humanity. We have had news of how the friars of Chile and Bolivia have been involved in the social developments of recent weeks. We encourage them to continue accompanying and supporting the weakest in society. As a General Definitory, we are with you and with all the people of goodwill who seek a more just and fraternal society.
Rome, 11 November 2019.
Br. Julio César Bunader, OFM
Prot. MG 160/19