Latin Americans present harsh reality of extractive mining to the Vatican

 | 
06/04/2022
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In 2019, this dam collapse in Brazil killed more than 270 people in the town of Brumadinho.

Three years later, the auxiliary bishop of its archdiocese has come to Rome to ask the Vatican that the Church's money does not fund extractive mining projects, like the one that led to the catastrophe, and continue to abuse resources across his country.

BP. VICENTE DE PAULA FERREIRA
Auxiliary Bishop of Belo Horizonte (Brazil)
We are a country that has a very rich nature. Water, minerals, forests. But these become contested by large corporations. And many times, that puts our people in poverty and destroys our natural environments, and it brings suffering to our people.

He traveled to Europe with a ten member delegation from across Latin America. Together, they met with officials from the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, and Caritas Internationalis, to present the harsh realities that mining created in their communities. 

FR. JUAN CARLOS OSORIO ARENAS
Diocese of Caldas, Antioquia (Colombia)
We had the chance to present these realities to the official Church, so they can focus their gaze on their this huge issue that hangs over the poorest communities in Latin America and other countries in the global South.

The delegation of lay and religious activists traveled through five European countries, meeting with civil and Church leaders, including the President of the Commission of the EU Bishops' Conferences, Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich. 

Among their goals was to put pressure on the European Union to increase penalties for those behind the destruction of their natural ecosystems, or what they call “ecocide.” 

FR. JUAN CARLOS OSORIO ARENAS
Diocese of Caldas, Antioquia (Colombia)
So that there may be greater consequences for ecocide, for people and corporations in penal, juridical, and civil terms.

After nearly two weeks in Europe, they return to their communities to continue combating the harmful effects of mining at home, now, they hope, with the Vatican alongside them.

JM

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