[READ THE DECLARATION IN PORTUGUESE LANGUAGE: Declaração dos Bispos Católicos de Moçambique]
Gathered at our first Plenary Session this year, 2021, the Catholic Bishops of Mozambique, with hearts full of sadness, like all Mozambican citizens who identify with the good of the country, we deplore the tragic situation that the population of Cabo Delgado is experiencing. ; we regret the prevailing insecurity in the populations of the center of the country and are unhappy with the food insecurity and hunger that affect other populations, as well as the violence that spreads in different ways in the country, and all this in a context of Covid-19 .
We deplore and condemn all acts of barbarism committed in Cabo Delgado, defenseless people are killed, injured and abused. They see their possessions plundered, the privacy of their homes violated, their homes destroyed and the corpses of their family members desecrated. They are forced to abandon the land that saw them born and where their ancestors are buried. These of our peers, mostly women and children, are pushed to the precipice of insecurity and fear. We deplore the prevalence of this state of affairs, with no clear indication that there will soon be an overcoming of the causes that fuel this conflict. This state of affairs increases and consolidates the perception that behind this conflict there are interests of varying nature and origin, namely of certain groups to seize the nation and its resources. Resources that, instead of being placed at the service of local communities and becoming a source of livelihood and development, with the construction of infrastructures, basic services, job opportunities, are subtracted, in the total lack of transparency, feeding the revolt and resentment, particularly in the hearts of young people, and becoming a source of discontent, division and mourning.
We recognize that one of the strong reasons that motivates our young people to allow themselves to be enticed and join the various forms of insurgency, from crime to terrorism, or also that other insurgency, no less harmful, of political or religious extremism, is based on experience of lack of hope in a favorable future on the part of our young people. For most of them, there are no opportunities to build a dignified 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 perspectives 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 the country itself does not seem to have a direction, a common project, in which they are invited to be active collaborators and that feed their hopes? It is our position that nothing justifies violence. Neither the difficult situation, the lack of a collective perspective, shared as a nation, nor resentments, nor intolerance or party interests, whether of a religious, political or economic nature, must lead us astray, towards any kind of insurgency.
Once again, we express our total solidarity with the weakest and with young people who yearn for a dignified life. Religions have a great contribution to make in the resilience of communities and to pursue an ideal of a united 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 waiting for those who have responsibilities to 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, wishing to collaborate in the reconstruction of the social fabric injured by old and recent traumas.
We will continue to redouble efforts to help the helpless and welcome the displaced, providing them with listening and consolation, in addition to means of support shared by believers. We would like to be able to offer our children and young people educational pathways that open them to the values of tolerance, respect and friendship and to see the dream of a better future realized. We reiterate our willingness to collaborate with the forces in our country for a social order where selfishness gives way to solidarity, and together with the authorities, a project for that includes the entire citizenry, privileging the most marginalized and disadvantaged. .
We urge the national political forces, the organizations present in the country, the international community to join forces and, putting aside the interests, ensure that the displaced populations are helped, those who live in severe food shortages, exposed to endemic diseases and without access to basic services. It is also urgent to create more work and development opportunities for all, particularly for young people and, to that end, apply the gains of available natural resources to the community. Finally, we call on everyone to contribute to peacemaking, protecting the population, closing the war financing routes, isolating and stopping individuals or groups that take advantage of the Cabo Delgado tragedy.
Despite the difficult times we are experiencing, no one should lose hope. As Pope Francis’ Encyclical Fratelli Tutti says, “Hope is bold, knows how to look beyond personal comforts, small safeguards and compensations that reduce the horizon, to open up to the great ideals that make life more beautiful and dignified. Let us walk in hope “.
Maputo, April 16, 2021