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Pope Francis to politicians and bishops from Latin America: totalitarianism is not extinct

Pope Francis sent a strong message to the meeting with Catholic politicians and bishops in Bogota from December 1 to 3. 

The pope told them that totalitarianism is not only a mindset of the past, because there are still politicians who pretend to dominate every aspect of people's lives.

POPE FRANCIS
“When I talk about autocracy and totalitarianism I'm not speaking about last century, I'm talking about today, the world today, and maybe also in some Latin American countries.”

In the same way, the pope lamented that the laity who work in the public sphere in Latin America have not found sufficient support in the ecclesiastical hierarchy.

POPE FRANCIS
“Many times we fall into the temptation to think the 'committed laity' are those who do the works of the Church or help out in parishes or diocese. Without realizing it, we have generated an elite laity by believing that the 'committed laity' are those who only work on projects 'from the priests.'”

Guzmán Carriquiry, together with the Latin American Episcopal Council, is one of the promoters of this meeting. He hopes politicians may live the faith in a coherent way.

GUZMÁN CARRIQUIRY
Secretary, Pontifical Commission for Latin America

"We do not want to restore a Catholic political party there, nor do we want to form a unitary Catholic block. Catholics come with very different political positions. What we want is that they experience the encounter, and view fraternity between brothers in the faith as more important in their own life, than the diversity of their political options. Because, if they can't do this, what does it really mean for political leaders?"

The goal is to build bridges between bishops and lay people who are committed to politics in their respective country.

GUZMÁN CARRIQUIRY
Secretary, Pontifical Commission for Latin America

"It is abominable and perhaps absurd that a continent in which 80 percent of people are baptized in the Catholic Church has such a notable absence. As Pope Benedict said at the inauguration of the Aparecida Conference, we are lacking Catholic leaders at all levels that handle their faith with coherence, face the problems of Latin America with their ethical and Christian convictions and lead our people toward more human forms of coexistence."

Pope Francis' long message sent to this meeting shows the particular battle against clericalism that he is leading to rediscover the role of the laity, especially in the Church in Latin America.