Tuesday, October 29, 2013

October 2013 Honduran Bishops Conference on the elections

October 2013
Message of the Honduran Bishops Conference

“Choose among the men of the people some who are worthy and who fear God, men of integrity and who don’t let themselves be bribed and you will put them before the people are heads of a thousand, of a hundred, of fifty, or of the. They will work as judges for your people a every hour.” (Exodus 21-22a)


1. The Bishops of the Honduras Bishops Conference, meeting in an ordinary session, direct this message, first of all, to all the Catholic communities of our dioceses and also to the entire population of Honduras, moved by the desire that these general elections of November 23, 2013, may be a decisive step to strengthen the political institutions which may guarantee a life together that is just, free, and which promotes the dignity of every one.

2. October 11, 2012, we published the pastoral letter entitled “Reflections on the Current Electoral Process in Honduras.” There we were declaring our intention to “collaborate in the strengthening of the country’s democratic system.” Now, with this present message, we reaffirm the same commitment and the present significance of those reflections.


3. In these moments, and together with the majority of the population, we would like to be able to clear up so many doubts: Will the elections be transparent? Will they be carried out in the country and without violence? Will they help us get out of the crisis which envelop the country? Will the results be accepted? etc.

Despite these uncertainties, we see certain signs which we could consider positive in civil society, in the political parties, and in the institutions. [There are] signs that, although the weight of some incorrigible politicians continues to carry weight, [as well as] confrontation, discrediting of one’s opponent, fraud, cheating, and the manipulation of the simple, these are giving way to good sense and maturity in the political arena. Let us consider some of these signs:

4. The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), although it shows certain internal weaknesses, maintains continuing activity of consultation and seeking to establish the best mechanisms which permit it to anticipate whatever scenario which could call into question the results of the elections.

5. The presidential candidates has shown political maturity by agreeing, on Agusut 20 last year, before the authorities of the Supreme Electoral Council (TSE) and the National Registry of Persons (RNP] a “Political Ethics Pact” which obliges them to respect the results of the coming elections and to work with impartiality, responsibility, and transparency. Likewise, it commits them to carry out an electoral campaign “ based in ethics principles, in transparency, and in respect for the Constitution and electoral legislation.”

6. Various international institutions have shown an interest in sending observers to monitor the electoral process. Also, diverse Honduran civil society organizations are preparing to exercise functions of observation and social auditing.

Likewise, some universities and civil society platforms are holding discussion forums with the candidates which serve to awaken the interest of the population toward their proposals for governing. This is an excellent opportunity for the candidates to listen to the people.

7. Members of the Catholic Church are present in all these platforms; and also, through their own personal and community channels, the Catholic Church joins the effort to see that the elections are transparent. One example of this is the “Political Educational Campaign” which Caritas of Honduras is carrying out, directed at the entire population. In that Campaign special attention is given to youth who are joining the great collective who have the right to exercise their vote, in such as way that they participate actively “before, during, and after” the elections.


8 – We look with deep sorrow and compassion on the severe deterioration of health, education, work, and security. We urge the candidates to show their closeness to the suffering which this deterioration creates and to present clear proposals, with believable budgets to change these situations. The achievement [conquest] of power should never be to abuse it, but to use it for the good of all together. We especially urge the Catholic candidates to commit themselves, based on a good understanding of the principles of the Church’s social Teaching,  to always be attentive to situations of injustice and sorrow. To turn back poverty in all its manifestations is the primary task of whatever government.

9 – Pope John Paul II affirmed: The spirit of service is a fundamental element in the exercise of political power. Only this spirit of service, together with the necessary competence and efficiency, can make "transparent" or "clean" the activity of persons in public life which is justly demanded by the people. To accomplish this requires a full scale struggle and determination to overcome such temptations, as the recourse to disloyalty and to falsehood, the waste of public funds for the advantage of a few and with the intention of creating a mass of dependent people, and the use of ambiguous and illicit means for acquiring, maintaining and increasing power at any cost.” (Christifideles laici, 42)

10 – We believe it very necessary, at this moment in the history of Honduras, that these elections be, in the popular way of speaking, an authentic “civic festival,” so that we can move from the celebration of the general elections to the celebration of life in which the DIGNITY OF THE PERSON and their RIGHTS are respected and in which the COMMON GOOD is taken on as the ethical operative criterion of every form of government. Therefore, the elections should not be seen as an end, but only as a means so that ours is truly a democracy.

11- The whole Honduran people, not only the political parties, ought to recover their sovereignty and their role as protagonist in public and political life. “It is everyone’s responsibility to maintain the governability of the country in such a way that the Honduran people can express itself as subject of its own destiny, can organize itself to find alternatives to its problems, and can participate in taking decisions, investigation, control, and carrying out governmental affairs. A profound and enduring change cannot happen if all the population does not participate in this.” (Pastoral Letter “By the paths of hope,” no. 55)

12 – In our earlier pastoral letter about the electoral process, we emphasized the inadequate and negative results of absenteeism. It is because this means abandoning the right of participation and lets democracy rest in the hands of a minority which, backed up by the legitimacy of the electoral process, is imposed on all the people. Voting we acquire the moral force to demand that the elected authorities fulfill their obligations, which are much more important than their promises. We trust that the institutions of the state which have the responsibility to duly document the population  [with their identity cards] do it in in the time necessary to permit all citizens to exercise their vote.


13 – We ask all those persons who have the right to vote to exercise their vote conscientiously, that is, with understanding [consciousness] of the reality, having informed themselves about the candidates and after having reflected and prayer about what is best for Honduras.

14 - We trust that the people will know how to choose their representatives among the candidates of proven integrity, who live and defend democratic principles and the ethical values of sincerity, laboriousness [diligence at working], honesty, transparency, respect for others’ opinion, and a clear commitment to the common good, especially the good of the population which is impoverished and marginalized. [They would be] candidates who live more concerned about the future of coming generation than in the result of the next elections.

15 – We further ask that, for the good of Honduras, that they vote freely, that is, without conditioning or embezzling their votes,  neither by bribes nor by pressures or threats, not even by simple custom. May they vote for those who show a better understanding and closeness to the reality, for those who dedicate more time and energy in explaining their proposals, having given proof of their honesty and commitment to justice as well as respect for the democratic system.

16 – We urge the electorate to be vigilant and ready to detect and denounce whatever fraud or illegal practice that could happen to alter the transparency and the result of the elections.

17- We urge the Christian communities to take advantage of this opportunity which the elections offer us to give a true testimony of participation, of conciliation, of unity and respect, above all party affiliations.


18 – We trust [are confident] that an electoral process well carried out and with a high level of citizen participation, may lead to a social and political reorganization which allows for “the elaboration of a national inclusive project at the service of a democracy which is pluralistic, participative, just, responsible, respectful of human dignity, open to dialogue [dialogante], promoting the common good, and defending human rights – [and that] this be the style of life and of democratic culture for our people.” (Pastoral letter “Reflections related to the current electoral process in Honduras,” no. 26)

19 – Participation in the construction of a society that is just and lives in solidarity is an ongoing task. As Catholics and in the light of faith, we recognize the demands of a “political charity” which we have to live all the time. (See “Lumen Fidei” nos. 50, 54) We urge all Catholics not only to participate in the electoral process but also to continue to promote and participate habitually and actively in the community organizations [patronatos], parent associations, unions, professional and business associations, and in all initiatives that promote the participation and defense of the dignity of every citizen.

20 – We trust [are confident] that if we achieve an electoral process based on the values that we have mention, it is more feasible to correct, at the international level, the image that many nations have of Honduras as a country that is violent and ungovernable. En this globalized world we can not underrate the respect which is our right [por parte del concierto de naciones] on the part of the concert of nations at the regional as well as continental and intercontinental levels. An, above all, there will be the personal and community satisfaction to have contributed, by our participation, in maintaining the hope for the future for that “Rule of Law, sovereign, constituted by a republic that is free, democratic, and independent,” which is Honduras, as it is defined in the first article of our Constitution.

21 – With faith we ask the Lord to illumine our minds and hearts so that we act with honesty and dignity in the face of an event which is vital for our fatherland. May the Lord give us a sense of responsibility to act thinking, above all, of a future which ir dignified, safe, and peaceful for children and young people which have the right to receive the best inheritance possible: a Honduras reconciled and at peace.

Holy Mary, [Virgin] of Suyapa, intercede for Honduras before your Son and bless us with your motherly protection.

Comayagüela, October 9, 2013

Honduras Bishops Conference


The original Spanish can be found here: http://www.caritashonduras.org/images/stories/Documentos/2013/Octubre/mensaje%20de%20la%20conferencia%20episcopal%20de%20honduras-oct.pdf

The document in non-PDF format can be found here: http://juancitohonduras.blogspot.com/2013/10/mensaje-de-la-conferencia-episcopal-de.html

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