Monday, January 15, 2018

Honduran Bishops' open letter, January 15, 2018

Honduras Bishops Conference


Respected citizens:

It is our commitment, as pastors (shepherds) of the Catholic Church, to promote dialogue and peace on behalf of the common good. We believe in the value of dialogue and, as Church, we want to accept the recent call at the national level. For this to be valid (worthwhile), it ought to include two important characteristics: (1) that it be “sincere, effective, creative, without conditions, and involve all sectors of society,” as we affirmed in our communiqué od December 20, 2017; and (2) that it have palpable objectives to resolve fundamental matters, which can be achieved in the short term, with concrete commitments to fulfill them by the political actors of our country.

The post-election situation of Honduras, categorized as a political crisis, is known at the national level and is the cause of international concern. In the face of this recognized situation, we cannot no ought we prolong a crisis which paralyzes the country and which does not bring about profound changes in the heart of the society. The way out is an inclusive dialogue, with the presence of representatives of all sectors of society and a dialogue by means of an analysis of all the challenges which urgently needed to be responded to, for the purpose of overcoming the current crisis which has broken out [been unchained] since the elections of last November 26.

The absence of dialogue between the two of you deepens the political crisis in the country, which will make unfeasible the great dialogue which the population supports and hopes for. If, in the short term, real, rational, and altruistic agreements aren’t achieved, the violence will escalate, there wlll be more military and political repression, and the number of fatalities [dead victims] will increase; the country’s economy will be paralyzed, poverty will increase, the population will be even more divided, which could lead to a situation of ungovernability.

Because of all this, respectfully and earnestly [from our hearts], we ask you to sit down to talk to find ways out of this situation full of anxieties, or that you accept arbitration mediated by one of the institutions of which Honduras is a member, to facilitate a political dialogue which is sincere and without conditions, which reconciles [conciliates] positions without political advantages for anyone, for the purpose of arriving at decisions which better benefit all the society. If you do this, you will be giving an authentic [good faith] demonstration of love for Honduras.

We believe that this means would make possible the necessary and urgent dialogue which all of us hope for.

We ask the Lord to illumine your minds and soften your hearts so that you can find paths toward the reconciliation which ur country needs.

Tegucigalpa, January 15, 2018


The Honduran Bishops Conference

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Honduran bishops December 2017 statement

Honduras Bishops Conference
Las Laureles, Comayegüela, M.D.C. Honduras Central America

“Blessed are those who work for peace, for they will be called children of God.”
(Matthew 5: 9)

As bishops of the Catholic Church in Honduras we address ourselves to all the People of God and to those persons who, like us, love this Honduran fatherland. We do this while preparing for Christmas, fest of peace and love, inviting all the Honduran people to celebrate it, despite the difficulties, because we don’t give ourselves the profound meaning of Christmas but the God of Love give it, the God who became one of us to save us.

Election day, November 26, took place in a generally peaceful atmosphere of order, respect, and even joy. But, sadly, we heard hasty calls to celebrate victory before the time and by many different means. We take note of the data gathered and the recommendations made bu the Observer Missions who accompanied the process. We are saddened that the functioning of the Electoral Tribunal, in spite of having taken into account what was suggested by the international observers, has not succeeded in overcoming the lack of certainty about the results of the general elections.

We confirm, with concern, that the right to protest by means of peaceful demonstrations is not respected by citizens who are converting them into violent and criminal actions. We confirm with sadness that the state security forces, in the fulfillment of their functions, in some cases have exceeded themselves in the use of force and weapons, which has injuries and fatalities.  

WE strongly condemn all violence as attacks on human rights, as a destabilizing factor in the life of the society, and as an impediment to political-social dialogue. We reiterate the need to demand of all political leaders without exception and their supporters that they immediately cease whatsoever type of call to non-peaceful actions so that the country may recover the minimal conditions for normality and the constitutional right to free circulation and respect for private property.

Reflecting on the ways put of the present crisis, we believe that the declaration of the TSE [Supreme Electoral Tribunal] and its publication in the State Official Gazette will not put an end to the conflict, since this [conflict] exposes deep and long-term tensions, accentuated by the decision to permit a presidential re-election without the needed clarity nor with a majority approval, as we noted in our message of February 27, 2017.

This crisis ought to become an opportunity for Honduras to secure itself as a State of Law, to strengthen its institutions with the law, to advance in the struggle against impunity, corruption, organized crime, and to succeed in stopping the increasing impoverishment of the great majority of the population.

For this a major social pact will be necessary, by means of dialogue which is frank, effective, creative, and without condition, which involves all sectors of society. This social pact ought to consider all possible ways of getting out [of the crisis] and has to assume the commitment to return the Constitution to its status as Magna Carta which directs the destiny of the country. Whether it be to reform it in accord with the needs of the nation or initiate the way to a National Constitutional Convention [Asamblea].

We put our trust in our Lord Jesus, who was born in our midst and is our only hope. We wish to offer him this Christmas our commitment of fraternity, of service, of defense of the dignity of every citizen, and to be capable of loving despite the conflicts which confront us. May all violence be laid down before Him since Honduras wishes to receive the Prince of Peace in its heart.

May Holy May of Suyapa continue caring for her sons and daughters in our country.

Tegucigalpa, M.D.C., December 20, 20a7

Conferencia Episcopal de Honduras
Honduras Bishops Conference

Friday, December 15, 2017

Trujillo Diocesan Pastoral Council on the post-election crisis

The paths of our conversion

We, priests and lay members of the Diocesan Pastoral Council of the diocese of Trujillo, in the company of our bishop, have reflected on the situation we are living in Honduras in these days before the feast of the Nativity.

We recognize the turnout, enthusiasm, and hope with which the people went to the polls (urnas) on November 26; nevertheless, seventeen days after the general elections without a resolution of the conflict generated by the fraud which the discredited Supreme Electoral Tribunal [TSE: Tribunal Supremo Electoral] backed, we feel the need to share our stance as Catholic Christians in such difficult times.

The voice of the people converted into a cry, demand respect for their right, resounds strongly in the hearing of the diocesan church. We feel that the defiant cry of a people who walk under the domination of those who throughout history trample on, manipulate, and play with the dignity of the poor. In the face of this drama, we do not have solutions to offer, but we do have the certainty that the God of the poor walks with us and his Kingdom of love, truth, justice, and inclusion is the alternative proposal to the kingdom of violence, injustice, exclusion, and death.

Above all, we wish to ask pardon to not having lifted up our voice with greater force when we should have [a su debido tiempo] to reject the violation of the Constitution by the Supreme Court of Justice when it declared valid the re-election of the president which our Magna Carta prohibits. We lament not having taken measures against the acceptance as candidate for the presidency of the Republic the current President on the part of the Supreme Electoral Council. As a consequence of that violation of the Constitution and the Election Law, we now live a period which is leaving serious wounds and breaches in our society.

We wish to be in solidarity with all the people who live with much suffering and indignation the necessity to confirm, one more time, the interminable corruption which from the spheres of political and economic power robs the people of the guarantee to respect their rights as citizens.

In particular, we offer our solidarity with the families which have lost their loved one as a product of the repression of the institutions which ought to be those that guarantee the security of citizens; as church, just like all the people, peace is what concerns us, but the Gospel teaches us that there cannot be peace where there is no justice.

We wish to be at the side of those who, from their poverty, hope for better times and who, nevertheless, in the face of the game of ambitions which control those responsible in the administration of the state, see evaporating the possibility of a future which lets them to get out of their situation of injustice, inequality, and exclusion.

From out Christian values, we join ourselves to those who struggle for a resolution of the current conflict, based in the TRUTH, regardless of the political option from which have undertaken this struggle.

We reject the militarization by the Government of the Department of Colón, the repression with which the population is treated, and the subsequent violation of their human rights, and we demand an investigation of all the violent acts, including the milling of more that fourteen persons and the sabotage and downing of the antenna tower of Radio Progreso, in Cerro Canta Callo, Tegucigalpa.

As church, we express our concern and fear of a possible persecution of persons who oppose their government, defenders of Human Rights, social activists [luchadores], communicators, etc., as well as against organizations and institutions with a position that is critical and which denounces abuses.

We are equally concerned about the breaking up of the institutionality [the quality of being a viable institution)  in the country, especially of those which have been created to sustain a fragile democracy and which have been setup to favor a dictatorial regime in the country.
In this process we recognize the strength, creativity, and spontaneity of the youth who are taking up the challenges which the reality puts in their hands, as well as the role that women are playing in the different fronts of struggle.

We especially encourage the youth to incorporate in their lives the struggle for the defense of the rights of citizens, as many of them have done in these moments, but guided always by the values of our democratic culture and our faith in God which excludes violence.

We believe that our struggle doesnt have to be only in favor of one candidate or one political party but in defense of transparency in the results of the recent elections and of all the actions and processes proper to the democratic system for which Honduras has chosen.

We demand from all the social communications media the right to be duly informed and without the twisting the truth; from them we hope a true independence and an attachment [apego] to the truth which permits them to fulfill ethically their social role.

We suggest that all members of the Catholic Church to circulate this message and reflect on it in the meetings of all church groups and organisms. We ask that this position be interpreted correctly as an expression of the communion with which we Catholics want to live our commitment, in the midst of this world, with Jesus Christ and the values of the Kingdom which he has inaugurated.

May the Christmas which we are going to celebrate be an opportunity to rescue what this feast means, liberated from consumerism and strengthened by the love of God and of our families.