Aparecida 78 – Violence

In paragraph 78, the bishops note the rise in violence in the region.

Social life, in harmonious and peaceful coexistence, is deteriorating very seriously in many Latin American and Caribbean countries, due to the rise in violence, which takes the form of robberies, muggings, kidnappings, and even more seriously, murders, which every day destroy more human lives and fill families and all of society with sorrow.

They list various types of violence:

Violence takes on various forms and has different agents:
organized crime and drug trafficking, paramilitary groups,
common crime, especially on the outskirts of large cities,
violence of youth gangs, and growing domestic violence.

Two other types of violence I have encountered are the violence of revenge and the violence of feuds between families, often fueled by an initial act of violence against one member of an extended family.

There is no mention in this paragraph of guerrilla forces that were active in the last fifty years and are still active, at least in Colombia, though this is briefly noted in paragraph 81.

There is also no mention of violence by governmental forces. In the last four decades of the twentieth century, this was a significant problem throughout Latin America, related to the authoritarian governments in the region. Often governmental police and military units coordinated their efforts with death squads. Though that era is over, there are still occasions when the police or the military use violence. At times the violence is due to the actions of individual police or soldiers, acting in a criminal manner. But the militarization of the police in several nations may lead to violence against civilians. In addition, there is always the danger of a government using the police to repress protesting sectors of the society.

The bishops continue, listing causes:

The causes are many:
worship of money,
the advance of an individualistic and utilitarian ideology,
disrespect for the dignity of each person,
a deterioration of the social fabric,
corruption even of law-enforcement entities,
and lack of government policies of social justice.

Though the bishops mention “lack of government policies of social justice,” as a cause, one might add, making this more specific, the lack of an efficient justice system, the lack of trained police, the militarization of police forces, and impunity.

Since the Aparecida conference, violence has increased in some parts of Latin America.

But, as far as I can see, the document offers no comprehensive analysis of violence, including its social roots – something which is really needed.

Here is an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.

About John Donaghy

Permanent deacon, ordained in the Catholic diocese of Santa Rosa de Copán, Honduras, in 2016. Missionary in Honduras since June 2007, living and working in the parish of Dulce Nombre de María.
This entry was posted in 2007 Aparecida document, bishops, evangelization, Guest Writers, John Donaghy and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Aparecida 78 – Violence

  1. Atheist Max says:

    This is ridiculous:

    “The bishops continue, listing causes”…

    “worship of money” – Really? Says a church which owns treasures worth $500 Billion? Says a Christian right wing network which endorsed warmongers like Cheney, Bush, Palin, Rumsfeld, et al?

    “the advance of an individualistic and utilitarian ideology” – says the church of Pope Francis, a calculating, pandering bureaucracy running toward liberal doctrine for no reason but to stop its ‘sheep’ from leaving!?

    “disrespect for the dignity of each person” – What dignity? ‘Hate your life’, says Jesus (Luke 14:26)

    “a deterioration of the social fabric” – Sure. At the hands of right wing Christian republicans.

    “corruption even of law-enforcement entities” – What? You are talking about Catholic Italy – No evidence for law-enforcement corruption in the USA.

    “and lack of government policies of social justice.” – Sure. Thanks to Tea Party Christian Right Wingers who reject all taxes on the rich and reject all services to the poor.

    Less religion is what we need. We would benefit from humanist ideals instead:

    Encourage understanding and curiosity
    Avoid all needless harm
    Encourage education
    Respect the lives of others
    Respect the privacy of people who are different and who have done no harm.
    Promote atheism as a rational alternative to religion
    Discourage faith wherever it appears
    Build up the wall separating church and state

    Claims about God only impede these decent things.
    Enough with religion. It truly poisons everything.

  2. Todd says:

    Um, Max, we’re talking about the Latin American experience here. Not Italy or the US. You *really* need to read a bit more carefully and think a bit before you write.

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