Prophetic voice of the Catholic bishops of Mozambique
Gathered in our first Plenary Session of this year 2021, the Catholic Bishops of Mozambique, with hearts full of sadness, as every Mozambican citizen who identifies with the good of the country; we deplore the tragic situation experienced by the population of Cabo Delgado.
We regret the prevailing insecurity among the population in the center of the country and we are unhappy with the food insecurity and hunger that affect other populations, as well as the violence that in various forms is spreading in the country, and all this in a pandemic context of covid-19.
We deplore and condemn all the barbaric acts committed. In Cabo Delgado defenseless people are killed, injured and mistreated. They see their properties looted, the privacy of their homes violated, their houses destroyed, and the bodies of their relatives desecrated. They are forced to leave the land where they were born and where their ancestors are buried. These fellow citizens, mostly women and children, are pushed to the precipice of insecurity and fear.
We deplore the prevalence of this state of conflict, with clear indications that in a short time there will be an overcoming of the causes that fueled this conflict. This state of affairs is growing and consolidating the perception that after this conflict there are interests of various natures and origin, only certain groups that seize the nation and its resources. Resources that, instead of being at the service of local communities and becoming a source of livelihood and development, with the construction of infrastructure, basic services, job opportunities, are subtracted, in the total lack of transparency, fueling revolt and resentment, particularly in the hearts of the young, becoming a source of discontent, division and mourning.
We recognize that one of the strong reasons that motivates our young people to be enticed and join the various forms of insurgency, from crime to terrorism, or that other insurgency, no less harmful, of political or religious extremism, is based on experience of the absence of hope for a favorable future on the part of our young people. For most of them there are no opportunities to build a decent life. They feel that society and decision makers ignore their suffering and do not listen to their voice.
It is easy to entice people, full of life and dreams, but without prospects and who feel wronged and victims of a culture of corruption, to adhere to proposals for a new social order imposed with violence or to follow illusions of easy enrichment that lead to ruin.
How can young people have perspectives if their own country seems to have no direction, a common project, in which they are invited to be active collaborators and to nourish their hope? It is our position that nothing justifies violence. Neither the difficult situation, of lack of a collective perspective, shared as a nation, nor resentments, nor intolerance or side interests, of a religious, political or economic nature, should divert us, as a people, into the path of any kind of insurgency.
Once again, we express our total solidarity with the weakest and with the young people who yearn for a dignified life. Religions have a great contribution to make to the resilience of communities and to pursue an ideal of a united and solidary society, limiting their action does not favor the search for solutions.
As a mission of the Catholic Church, it has always been our commitment to collaborate for the good of the nation, pointing out the dangers and always hoping that those with responsibilities will seek the appropriate solutions. We have always given our concrete collaboration in the field of the well-being of our people in education, health and human development. In everything, we want to collaborate in the reconstruction of the social fabric injured by old and recent traumas.
We will continue to redouble our efforts to help the helpless and welcome the displaced, providing them with listening and consolation, as well as the means of support shared by the believers. We would like to be able to offer our children and young people educational paths that open them to the values of tolerance, respect and friendship and can see the dream of a better future fulfilled.
We reiterate our willingness to collaborate with the living forces of our country for a social order where selfishness leaves room for solidarity, and together with the authorities, a project for a country that contemplates all citizens, favoring the most marginalized and disadvantaged, is elaborated.
We urge national political forces, organizations present in the country, the international community to join forces and, setting aside interests, help displaced populations, those living in serious food insufficiency, exposed to endemic diseases and without access to basic services. It is also urgent to create more opportunities for work and development for all, particularly for young people, and for that, apply in loco gains of available natural resources. Finally, we call on everyone to contribute to pacification, protecting the population, closing the financing channels for the war, isolating, and stopping individuals or groups that benefit from the tragedy of Cabo Delgado.
Despite the difficult times we are going through, let no one lose hope. As Pope Francis’ Encyclical “All the Brothers” (Fratelli Tutti) says, “hope is daring, it knows how to look beyond personal comfort, small securities and compensations that reduce the horizon, to open up to the great ideals that make life more beautiful and dignified. Let’s walk in hope!”.
Maputo, April 16, 2021
- Lúcio Andrice Muandula, president