Violence and Corruption Never Promote Progress, Says Pope

When Receiving New Ambassador of Bolivia

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 8, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Violence and corruption are never sources of progress and well-being, John Paul II said as he received the new ambassador of Bolivia to the Holy See.



In an address to the ambassador today, the Pope noted Bolivia's crisis and encouraged the national dialogue being promoted by the country's bishops.

In the wake of tension and violence that has struck the country, including "Black February" strife that left 33 people dead, the bishops became promoters of an initiative for national consensus entailing "a common plan for a just and peaceful society," he said.

The initiative has been stalled by a lack of willingness on the part of social sectors to come to an agreement. Church representatives have faced hurdles in their efforts too.

Supporting the episcopate, the Pope told Valentín Abecia Baldivieso, the new Bolivian ambassador, that "the mission of a religious order, proper to the Church, does not impede the latter from fostering a national dialogue among leaders of social life, so that all will be able to cooperate actively to surmount the crises that present themselves."

"Such dialogue must exclude every form of violence and its different expressions, and help to build a more human future in collaboration with all, avoiding the impoverishment of society," the Holy Father said.

"In this respect," he added, "it is opportune to recall that social improvements are not reached only by applying the necessary technical measures, but also by promoting reforms with a human and moral base which take into consideration the ethical dimension of the person, the family and society."

In fact, "violence, personal and collective egoism, and corruption at any level have never been sources of progress or well-being," the Pope said.

The Pope added that "Bolivians, with the rich qualities that distinguish them, must be the principal protagonists and architects of the country's progress, cooperating toward political stability which will allow all who can to participate in public life."

For a "more just and fraternal" society, the Holy Father presented the Church's moral teachings which "offer values and guidelines that, taken into consideration by those who work in the service of the nation, are useful to address properly the needs and aspirations of Bolivians."

In particular he pointed to "the painful and vast problem of poverty, with serious consequences in the area of education, health and housing," which requires a serious commitment "to address with determination the present situation at all levels, thus cooperating in a true endeavor for the common good."

The Holy Father concluded by recalling the people who suffer most from the consequences of the Bolivian crisis: "the peasants, miners, inhabitants of marginalized city neighborhoods," and also "those who are victims of a materialism that excludes man and acts only for motives of enrichment or power."