Citizens' Role Is a Pillar of the State, Says Vatican Aide

Justice and Peace Official Addresses Latin American Seminar

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CARACAS, Venezuela JULY 26, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The Church welcomes "healthy cooperation" with the political community in order to serve people, though individuals also have a role in a democratic state, says a Vatican aide.



Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, delivered that message to the participants of a seminar on "Democracy and Civil Society."

The seminar-workshop, promoted by the Latin American bishops' council (CELAM), is being held in Caracas from July 22-24.

"In a democratic state," Bishop Crepaldi wrote, "the participation of citizens in community life is one of the fundamental pillars and one of the greatest guarantees."

"For its part," he continued, "the Church, with its specific mission and competency -- which distinguishes and separates it from any political system -- looks for the political community in healthy cooperation, to be at the service of man and his transcendental character."

Furthermore, the bishop emphasized that "Christianity is obligated, as a member of political society, to cooperate with its objectives and development."

Referring later to one of the themes of the seminar, the bishop said: "The social doctrine of the Church, by being a coherent doctrinal body ... is a precious and ideal instrument to indicate the correct path when responding also to bigger challenges that the current political situation in Latin America and the Caribbean present."

Bishop Crepaldi expressed the desire that the workshop result in courses of action that help "men and women of good will ... to collaborate actively in giving life to processes of authentic democracy that lead to the consolidation of more sensitive, fair and efficient governments, and to more participative civil societies that avoid the grave danger of democratic regression that threatens many in your countries at this time."