16 December 2019 - At the end of their Extraordinary Assembly, held in Tarija on 11 and 12 December, the Bishops of Bolivia sent a message of peace to the Bolivian people for Christmas. The Bishops say they find more signs of hope than signs of death, and invite them to welcome the celebration of Christmas with a spirit of joy to become bearers of hope and reconciliation.
In the message, sent to Fides, we read: "This year we experienced intense and extraordinary moments in Bolivia, with clear signs of hope, but also of darkness. We suffered violence, manipulation of consciences, political corruption and institutionalized lies. We also witnessed the rebirth of forms of racism, often provoked, which created division and resentment, with fatal results. We stand in solidarity with the suffering of their families, especially this Christmas ... We also witnessed admirable events that highlighted the democratic vocation of our people. We saw peaceful protests and resistance in the streets, the public demonstration of faith, confidence in prayer and the importance of young people; signs that fill us with hope and allow us to foresee better days for our Country".
The Bishops continue: "This Christmas 2019 takes on a very particular meaning thanks to the faith we profess. As baptized Christians, missionary disciples of Jesus Christ ... We look forward to building a united Bolivia, in the God of life, above differences. It is more what unites us than what separates us. We have a common history, a common future, a common Savior who is Jesus Christ and a common task which is to build a Bolivia with justice and progress".
The Episcopal Conference of Bolivia has played a leading role in dialogue to ensure a democratic future for Bolivian society (see Fides, 28/11/2019). If the first agreements to ensure the peaceful future of Bolivia have succeeded because there is an institutional gap in the country and because the Bolivian people have faith in the Church, the process of transition to democracy, after the resignation of Morales on November 10, is not free from risks. Interim President Jeanine Añez has the mandate to hold free and fair elections as soon as possible, but she also has to face a critical situation, determined by the forces of dictatorship, drug trade and violence. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 16/12/2019)