Latin American strategy at the Vatican: “What was once periphery is now central”

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Latin America has a new face representing it at the Vatican. His name is Julio César Caballero. He's a man of communication and diplomacy, committed to addressing the challenges facing the Church in the region.

For him, the pope's invitation to serve the Church within the Pontifical Commission for Latin America has carried a special significance because of what commitment to service represents.

Pontifical Commission for Latin America
“Latin America is not in the greatest conditions. It's been hit not only by the pandemic and its consequences, but in the last years, it has been experiencing an aggravation of situations that have put it at an absolute disadvantage in front of a pandemic like the one the whole world is now facing.”

He says service, more than a word to define this new task, is a true vocation.

In Bolivia, his native country, he met the man who is now his boss: the pope. He met him at Viru Viru airport, in Santa Cruz. There he had the chance to direct communications during one of Pope Francis' most intense trips.

Pontifical Commission for Latin America
“He gave me the opportunity to be his spokesman in Santa Cruz, in the city. It was a very nice experience. I met him there, I shook his hand, and I was able to feel his warmth and his firm, committed way of speaking. For example, his encounter with the popular movements in Santa Cruz was beautiful.”

He says that same sensitivity can be felt in the pope's magisterial texts, especially in his latest encyclical, “Fratelli tutti.” He assures that “it seems to have been written for the current context, but it was more than the present situation. His message of fraternity, social friendship and closeness is a call to rethink paradigms as citizens of the world.” He describes Pope Francis as “the living expression of the Second Vatican Council.”

Pontifical Commission for Latin America
“He was a bishop of Latin America, from those existential peripheries, which end up being so important, as what was once the periphery is now the center.”

Caballero, also former ambassador of Bolivia to the Holy See, believes that “if the Church has a pope from Latin America, then Latin America must make itself loudly heard with its truths and experiences.”

Pontifical Commission for Latin America
“Without making an overly hasty judgment, I believe that the continent of hope needs more fluidity between the episcopal conferences, the CELAM, the CAL and the Vatican, to continue to be that active continent that produces initiatives, that generates solutions and poses challenges.”

For the new head of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, the region's biggest challenge is to extend existing bridges toward a more sincere path to face the current reality.

Daniel Díaz Vizzi
Translation: CT

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