Church of Lima, I say to you, arise!

The naming last year of Carlos Castillo Mattasoglio as Archbishop of Lima has been described as the most dramatic appointment made by Pope Francis. A professor of theology and humble parish priest in a shanty town suddenly became Primate of Peru. This Pastoral Letter is the result of a synod of the local church.

A new spirit arising from the shadows
I write this Pastoral Letter to you thankful to God for this first year, and as we begin this time of Lent 2020, I ask you to continue ‘walking together’ – this is the meaning of ‘synod’.

All the citizens of Lima face several acute problems, which make up our national and urban tragedies. On the one hand, we see the murder and disappearance of women; attacks against human life at every stage; the destruction of our Amazon; and criminal violence. We also face the crisis of families; uncertainties about the future for the young; ever increasing insecurity in the streets; insufficient education; the frailty of social links; human abandonment; marginalisation; and cultural and racial prejudice. We have to contend with increasing global warming; the growing problems of debt and the frailty of the popular economy; the corruption of organised groups in society; the economy and the state; the complication of political life; growing religious division; and the slowness of the Church in reacting to the changes in society.

But at the same time, there is a new and positive spirit: the effort of solidarity to support all life and the life of everyone, being manifested in educational movements and processes; the ongoing struggle of the Amazonian people defending themselves and humanity; attempts to uncover illegal associations; the praiseworthy effort of the struggle against corruption; collaboration to improve family relationships; the establishment of groups of volunteers to construct supportive links in situations of abandonment, destitution, and poverty; care of the environment, developing a greater ecological conscience. People are ready to demonstrate in the streets and squares in order to participate actively in the life of the city and the country. There is the search for a more open democracy and a proper system of political life; strengthening and broadening the participation of the citizens; and the growth of a faith that is less indifferent and more responsible in social and political life with a deepening of the religious sense based on the gospel.

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