Political Formation of Laity in Latin America Urged

A Key Issue at CELAM Meeting in Caracas

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CARACAS, Venezuela, MAY 17, 2001 (Zenit.org).- In the face of Latin America´s widespread corruption and political instability, a leading bishop urged that the political formation of lay people be intensified.



"At present there is dissatisfaction in almost all our countries, and I am not exaggerating," Bishop Jorge Enrique Jiménez told reporters at the three-day assembly of the Latin America bishops´ council (CELAM). "There is dissatisfaction with the conduct of political parties."

One of the most important topics being addressed at the 28th CELAM assembly, he said, is "the need to intensify the formation of the laity in the field of politics."

There are 70 bishops from 22 countries attending the assembly, which is focusing on the issues of "Globalization and the New Evangelization" and "Communion and Solidarity."

In the inaugural address, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, said that the region´s bishops are called to be builders of hope "in a conflictive world."

Regarding the formation of the laity, Bishop Jiménez told the press: "We are going to make a special appeal to all Catholic universities of the hemisphere."

"This is a privileged moment to form the laity, men and women, to be committed to democracy, and have access to the various legislative bodies," he concluded. Only in this way, "can we see a future that is somewhat different," he said.