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Panama: bishops lament state of nation, urge lay political involvement

Catholic World News - July 12, 2011

The bishops of Panama have issued a statement expressing gratitude for the 60th anniversary of Pope Benedict’s priestly ordination and satisfaction at a greater emphasis on Sacred Scripture and missionary endeavors within the life of the Church.

At the same time, the prelates expressed concern about the absence of lay Catholics in politics and lamented the state of public life in the Central American nation.

“There seems to be a real divorce between the interests of the political class and the concrete needs of the Panamanian people,” the bishops said in their July 8 statement. “We noted with sadness and concern, that the attitude of some politicians is far from what confidence and respect should inspire. It is necessary and essential to humanize politics and restore its ethical sense, giving primacy to human dignity, the common good, and to respect the will of voters. It is important, too, to demonstrate consistency between one’s behavior and moral principles in carrying out one’s mission.”

The bishops also decried the “extreme poverty in which a great number of Panamanians live” and affirmed that “marriage is a stable union between a man and a woman.”

“A society that destroys the family commits suicide,” the bishops stated. “The one who promotes the family, promotes man; the one who attacks the family, attacks man.”

85% of the nation’s 3.4 million people are Catholic, according to Vatican statistics.

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