The Episcopal Conference of Haiti (ECH) has expressed concern at the ongoing economic, political and security crisis in the French-speaking Caribbean Community (Caricom) country, calling on the authorities to assume their responsibilities and the international community not to abandon the Haitian people.
“We cannot remain indifferent to the tragic events of these last months,” the bishops said in their Christmas message according to a Jamaica Observer report.
“Such a situation of socio-economic and political chaos should it not challenge the conscience of those who have responsibilities” at the local and international level, they declare, saying they are alarmed by “a catastrophic context which shows no sign of slowing down”.
The bishops said that the Church has a duty to support “and to always accompany his sons and daughters in their sorrows as in their joys, in their anxieties as in their hopes”.
“While we sympathise with the pain of all those who are victims of acts of kidnapping, rape and violence of all kinds, let us entrust to the mercy of God the souls of our innocently fallen brothers and sisters under the bullets of heavily armed groups. Our sympathies and sincere condolences go out to all the grieving families.”
“Of all our forces, we condemn these fratricidal acts. We demand that the truth, the order and the justice be restored, and that the authority of the state be restored in our country,” the bishops added.
They recalled that Pope Francis, during the Angelus prayer on October 31, had a very special thought for Haiti. “The Holy Father solemnly asked those responsible for nations to support this country, not to leave it alone” in this moment of hardships where we know so much suffering and pain.
The bishops noted many of their compatriots are forced to leave the country thinking that they can find well-being elsewhere to which they aspire.
“Unfortunately, they are very often victims of ill-treatment and discrimination. In communion with the Holy Father, we deplore these events and ask that the principles related to respect for the dignity of the person are applied for all. We express our gratitude to the Holy Father for his vibrant message of solidarity,” the bishops said.
The Haitian bishops conference said they were also calling for “personal conscience and collective, as well as to a moral and patriotic surge, to combat the forces proud of the evil that generates around us…”
The bishops called on leaders of armed groups to lay down their weapons and “contribute to the reconstruction of a more just, humane and fraternal society”. “With brothers, we do not dialogue with weapons in hand. We look into each other’s eyes. We forgive each other and move on.”
The bishops urged the population to stop putting “petty interests above the interests of the nation… Let’s prove to be daughters and sons of the same homeland, Haiti. Let’s welcome, in the light of faith, the mystery of Christmas, the mystery of God who, in His Son, became flesh for to make us participants of his divine nature…. Let us be transformed by the Godchild who invites us to open ourselves to hope.”