FIFTH GENERAL CONFERENCE

                                of contributions received for
                                the Fifth General Conference


The Fifth General Conference of Latin American Bishops, in continuity with the previous
general conferences, is an ecclesial event of fraternal episcopal collegiality, whose fundamental
concern is the evangelization of the continent. In order to give a new pastoral impulse to the life
of our churches, His Holiness Benedict XVI chose to issue an invitation to a new General
Conference in Aparecida, Brazil, and to entrust to them the theme: ―Disciples and missionaries
of Jesus Christ, so that our peoples may have life in Him, «I am the Way, the Truth and the Life»
(Jn 14:6).‖ In accordance with its By-laws (Art. 4, 7), CELAM then took charge of preparing this
special episcopal event.

The first moment of its preparation consisted of gathering valuable contributions from the
various bishops conferences and from various meetings within CELAM on the theme of the
discipleship and mission, on the core issue areas drawn therefrom, and the results from analysis
and discernment of the present historic moment. This material was used to prepare the
Participation Document and the Working sheets in order to offer them as tools, which then
prompted a broad active participation of the People of God with reflection on the topic presented
by the Holy Father.

The document and the sheets were sent to the Bishops Conferences so they could send them to
the particular churches, episcopal agencies, and Catholic institutions. This material was likewise
sent to continent-wide bodies with some connection to the Catholic church. They were all
encouraged to participate and to prepare contributions on the theme. Likewise, several seminars
were held with participation by experts, and gatherings were held in which members from
different countries of Latin America and the Caribbean took part. Most of the results have now
been published and others are on their way to publication.

The purpose of all these gatherings was to delve deeper into the theme of discipleship and
mission from various angles: biblical, theological, and pastoral; and to discern the deep cultural
change in which we are living, in order to jointly seek more adequate paths for living the gospel
message with creative fidelity and transmit it with new missionary ardor.

During this period all Christian communities in the region, and in a very special way all
monasteries of contemplative life were exhorted to live the preparation of the Fifth Conference in
a climate of faith and prayer. In particular, it was recommended that all the working groups begin
and end their task with the prayer given us by His Holiness Benedict XVI for the Fifth General
Conference. In many communities, prayer, reflection, and preparing contributions meant strong
support and enouragement for renewed energy in the commitment of Christian life and and
missionary action.

In the second stage of preparation for the Fifth Conference, the contributions that reached
CELAM as the result of a year of intense labor in our continent have been gathered.
Contributions have been received from the twenty-one Bishops Conferences of the region, from
the CELAM departments, from some bodies of the Roman curia, from continent-wide bodies
and events, along with and various other contributions. In all, over 2,400 pages with valuable
contributions arrived and they enriched reflection bringing to the fore some major issues that did
not appear sufficiently treated in the Participation Document. Under the breath of the Spirit, the
Aparecida gathering meeting will be able to insist on other issues that perhaps are not present in
this summary with due importance.

The contributions received were classified thematically by the CELAM team. Next they were
studied by a special commission of bishops, theologians, and pastoral specialists appointed by
the CELAM presidency. After being studied, they were the basis for drafting this document.

The aim of this work is to offer a qualitative synthesis of the contributions received as a result
of the participation of numerous communities and dioceses that pondered the theme of
discipleship and mission in view of the challenge of the evangelization at the present time.
Obviously this summary does not claim to bring together materially every single one of the
proposals that have reached us from the continent, but to faithfully express the spirit in their most
significant aspects. Therein lies its value and in that that sense we offer it to the participant in the
Fifth Conference, so it may serve as a valid tool of inspiration and consultation during the
Aparecida deliberations. To this synthesis are added various aids that were published in view of
the preparation of the Fifth Conference and were sent to all those who are going to participate in
this Assembly. However, the synthesis of these contributions should not be confused with the
draft of the Aparecida final document. Writing it will be the work of those who participate in the
Fifth General Conference with the openness to the breath of the Spirit that is proper to the

Although this text is addressed primarily to participants in the Fifth Conference, we are also
pleased to offer it to the Bishops Conferences of Latin America and the Caribbean, because it
was precisely their contributions that served as the basis for preparing this summary. Reading it
can be very useful for viewing what are the major issues are challenging a new evangelization of
our continent, and perceiving yearnings and concerns of pastors and faithful who wish to live
their vocation as disciples for mission in the present time with new enthusiasm.
                                                                       +Andrés Stanovnik OFMCap.
                                                                             Bishop of Reconquista
                                                                       General Secretary of CELAM



1.   The identity and historic journey of our peoples would be inexplicable without the Church
     in Latin America and the Caribbean. The deepest root of their warm relationship with God
     and their thirst for heaven lies in the mystery of the Church. Their pursuit of peace and
     reconciliation, their appreciation of the family and heroic solidarity in times of misfortune have
     their primary source in Trinitarian communion. Indeed, commitment to history in periods of
     twilight and dawn, and the trustful gaze toward the future aroused by the Spirit among us are a
     living presence of Jesus Christ, Lord of history, who comes near to all, especially the poor and
     the wayfaring, because he has prepared for us a dwelling in his Father‘s house.

2.   It is true, however, that from the first proclamation of the gospel until recent times, the Church
     has experienced bright eras as well as gloomy moments connected to the different situations
     that it was called to face with its frail human condition, ennobled by God‘s calling and grace.
     With that gospel, it wrote pages of great wisdom and holiness in our history. It also suffered
     difficult times, both because of harassment and persecution, and also because of the weaknesses
     and sins of its children, who obscured the newness of the Gospel, God‘s promisses to
     humankind, and their own vocation of love and service. Nevertheless, we can say that what is
     crucial in the church is always the action of the Lord, who utilizes men and women who work
     with Him in fidelity to grace, and thus it becomes the shining presence of Christ at work in the
     history of our peoples.

3.   The believing community of Latin America – approximately half of the world‘s Catholic
     population – conscious of its reality and its history, is also discovering in our days that its
     mission is faced in Latin American societies with huge challenges posed to it by the gospel
     reading of the signs of the times. Alongside other social actors, it wishes to serve and make its
     original contribution out of faith and trust in the living Jesus Christ. Set historically within the
     journey of Latin Americans, the Church wants to be continue in time the mystery of Christ and
     with his paschal mystery, and thereby be an active participant and interlocutor in the processes
     that express the deepest yearnings of the human heart.

4.   Any renewal calls for clarity, discernment, abnegation, and boldness. Christ ―Way, Truth
     and Life‖ is guarantee of the authentic renewal of the ecclesial community. Today the Church
     must offer a presence full of meaning, source of life and communion, key to meaning for the
     multiple experiences accompanying the peoples of our continent. Thanks to personal and
     pastoral conversion, the Church is always called to die like the grain of wheat, in order to give
     fruit and be a credible sign of hope. It will be that sign through its dialogue with God, its fidelity
     to the Gospel, and by its manner, oriented to community and service, simple and open to
     dialogue, loving the truth and the good of those in need. Thus it goes forth to meet human
     persons, and can be an inspiration to what is personally and socially innermost to ther lives. The
     church must provide new life in Christ and collaborate in opening new paths to bring about the
     rebirth and growth of hope and life in persons and peoples.


              2.1   A continent of hope

5.   Latin America was repeatedly recognized as the “Continent of Hope,” a name that derives
     not only from the riches that God‘s Providence has given to its lands and its peoples, but
     especially from the gift of the Catholic faith, in which resides the greatest wealth and the
     inexhaustible source of hope of Latin American peoples. Christ is its ―pearl of great price‖! For
     that reason, the certainty that love is stronger than suffering and death has remained rooted in
     the wisdom of the peoples.

6.   Even today, in the early twenty-first century, we can show that the vast majority of Latin
     Americans have received baptism in the Catholic church and say they are Catholics, despite
     deficiences and lacks in evangelization and catechesis. This shows the deep inculturation and
     rootedness of the Catholic tradition in the genesis, history, and culture of the new peoples of the
     Americas. The Catholic faith, which took hold in our continent at the first moment of the
     surprising and often dramatic encounter of Europeans, particularly Spanish and Portuguese,
     with the civilizations, peoples, and tribes of the very diverse indigenous peoples, deeply marks
     our history, and constitutes the most radical and powerful link giving identity to our peoples and
     building its unity in the midst of the deep wounds of an incomplete and abrasive racial mixing
     and of the consequences of discriminations and violences suffered. Its Good News on the
     common and elevated dignity of all God‘s children, the commandment of charity, gospel
     passion for justice and preferential solidarity with the poorest and most vulnerable, accompanies
     and gives encouragement in the sufferings and hopes of Latin American peoples in their
     vicisitudes in history, and is challenged in the face of the great challenges of a disoriented
     present that longs, yearns, and hesitates.

7.   We are also pained by the reality of Latin America. Despite countless encouraging signs that
     bloom constantly, it is still marked by painful situations in the economic, political, cultural,
     social, and religious order that wound the inalienable dignity of the human person. In many
     peoples cultural and Christian identity is weak. Hence they are afflicted by the advance of strong
     cultural influences that are foreign and often hostile to them. In fact there are powers that have
     proposed doing away with customs and convictions that have characterized the life and
     legislations of our peoples.

8.   Nevertheless, signs of hope flourish in the midst of these situaciones. There is an amazing
     richness of life everywhere in communal life. There are unceasing efforts to build peace and
     seek democratic solutions to the many and varied problems afflicting our situation.. Moreover,
     our peoples do not lose their faith in God and their love of life, their thirst for trascendence, their
     capacity for acceptance, service, and fraternal aid. Citizen initiatives are spreading, and there is
     no lack of self-sacrificing firm commitment of many people who continue to build spaces of
     fraternity and solidarity, and to open pathways to a more promising future.

9.    Ever beating in the heart of our peoples is pride in feeling ―Latin American.‖ Latin America is
      not a ―sub-continent‖ with a mosaic of contents at odds with each other, defined only by its
      geographical space. Nor is a a sum of peoples and and ethnic groups in juxtaposition. It is the
      common house of nations with common historic origins, a similar cultural substrate that needs
      to be enriched by the inclusive contributions of all its ethnic and social components, with similar
      vicisistudes and historic challenges, with the common imprint of their Catholicism. Today
      among the ethnic groups, those whose ancestral traditions go back to the native peoples and who
      were reached by the first evangelization, are demanding respect, recognition, and the space
      necessary for pursuing their future. Among them we find great values, such as famility stability,
      love for the earth, a deep religious sense, plentiful solidarity in need, and joy in celebrations.

10.   Today, in the context of globalization, many persons and peoples of Latin America feel
      called to establish tighter bonds with one another and efforts toward greating a new Latin
      American unity and solidarity are reappearing. Exchange in real solidarity, the awareness of
      brotherhood and sisterhood, and the will to unite, which are deeply Christian values, are seeking
      to open the way to assure development and culture, and to consolidate their presence on the
      world scene.

               2.2   Dedication to evangelization

11.   The Catholic faith brought to our continent met a positive reception thanks to the powerful
      action of the Spirit through the heroic effort of evangelization and the willingness of so
      many missionaries to approach the native cultures in a close and comprehensible manner.
      The event of Guadalupe marked a major milestone at the outset of evangelization. In an
      astonishing manner, the “seeds of the Word‖ presents in the native cultures paved the way for
      people to find in the Gospel reasonable, vital, and overwhelming responses to the desires for
      truth, for the meaning of life and significance of reality, for happiness and justice, and for
      communion in love that constitute the ―heart‖ of every human person. These are gifts that we
      recognize and for which our hearts are grateful.

12.   The evangelizing mission of numerous bishops, missionaries, religious, and lay people,
      impassioned for the life and the fate of the individuals and peoples entrusted to them as new
      ―neighbors‖ by God‘s Providence, to whom they communciated the Good News of salvation,
      and for whom, as genuine fathers in the faith, they opened new routes of humanization and
      defense of the rights of persons and peoples, was decisive. Nevertheless, the abuses of those
      who sought to impose by violence another social and cultural order, and sometimes the faith as
      well, cannot be ignored.

13.   The Catholic imprint has remained in its art, in its language, in its traditions, in its particular
      features and style of life, and expecially in the continent‘s rich and varied popular religiosity,
      which is expressed in its diverse expressions of invocations, and prayers of petition,
      pilgrimmages, and feasts. Love for the Eucharist is an eloquent sign of recognition of the
      presence of Christ, God with us. Marian piety occupies a noteworthy place in the faith of those
      who dwell in these lands. Our peoples feel that they are in the company and communion of the
      saints. The Catholic church finds in them, their own deficiencies notwithstanding, high indices of
      consensus, credibility, and trust. Devotion to the Successor of Peter has been manifested
      especially on the occasion of the memorable apostolic visits, first by Paul VI, and subsequently
      many more by John Paul II to the various Latin American countries.

14.   Nevertheless, it must be acknowledged that evangelization processes often remained
      incomplete, and that having rich traditions is not enough if the fire of faith, love, and hope is not
      continually fanned with prayer, meditation on the Word of God, and lively participation in
      Christian communities: in their liturgy, in their pilgrimmages, in their life and in their
      commitments in solidarity. When this has not taken place, the Catholic imprint has remained in
      forms of culture or religiosity that have not reached the point of giving fruits of personal
      conversion and evangelical renewal of the life of our peoples.

15.   This is the challenge we face. In order to respond to it, we want to again encounter Christ, as the
      disciples and the saints have done since the beginnings of Christianity and throughout history.
      This is the crucial alternative: either our Catholic tradition and our personal options for the Lord
      take root more deeply in the heart of Latin American persons and peoples as a foundational
      event, as life-giving and transforming encounter with Christ, and are made manifest as newness
      of life in all the dimensions of personal existence and shared life in society, or that tradition is in
      danger of continuing to be squandered, impoverished, and diluted in large portions of the
      population. That would be a dramatic loss to the welfare of our peoples and to all of


               3.1   Mutual enrichment on the journey of faith

16.   The faith that we profess manifests our identity before the world. The Spirit impels us to live
      it the communion of the universal Church and encourages us to express it with our own specific
      traits. In the Church of Latin America and the Caribbean, we consider ourselves especially
      enriched by the legacy of the catholicity of the faith which is expressed in varied ways. Likewise
      the Christian communities of this region of the world are also conscious of the special wealth
      that they offer to the Christian experience of the universal Church, thereby producing a mutual
      current of life that is fruitful for all God‘s sons and daughters.

17.   In this context we should highlight the exercise the exercise of the ministry of Peter, head of
      the episcopal college, which in recent decades has had a particular concern for the particular
      churches of our continent. Especially in the post-council era, the magisterium of the popes has
      enriched and deeply marked the life of our churches, whose ecclesial and Latin American self-
      awareness has been expressed and deepened particularly in the celebration of the general
      conferences of Latin American Bishops. The magisterium of recent Popes –let us recall the
      magisterium of Pope Paul VI– especially deserves to be kept in mind. Certainly John Paul II
      aroused a great adhesion and filial love from our peoples, manifested in the reception given his
      visits to this land. Pope John Paul II understood, encouraged, and profoundly guided the
      experience of the church in Latin America. Moreover, the welcome he offered to the pastoral
      projects of the general conferences redounded in an enrichment of his own pastoral action and
      that of the church around the world. An admiration which is growing in the attentive and
      faithful reception of his Magisterium is now being awakened toward the current Holy Father,
      Benedict XVI, to whom we will give a heartfelt welcome in the journey that he will soon make
      to our continent.
               3.2   The four General Conferences and the Synod for America

18.   Since the middle of the twentieth century, the pursuit of forms of concrete communion in
      Latin America between the particular churches, practiced since the dawn of the founding
      evangelization, has been taken up with renewed energy.

19.   For Latin American ecclesial communities, Rio, Medellin, Puebla, and Santo Domingo
      were true events of grace, which gave a new impulse to the evangelization of the continent.
      Vatican II and the the papal magisterium were decisive in the doctrinal and pastoral guidance of
      these bishops meetings. Their documents express the pastoral journey that the churches of Latin
      America have been taking in the second half of the twentieth century. Both their theological
      thinking and pastoral options have made a very important contribution toward shaping the
      pastoral identity of our churches and the Catholic, spiritual, and social identity of our peoples.
      They also constitute a singular event in the history of the Church, for which we must be thankful
      to God our Father, and which challenges us even more in the universal communion of our
      particular churches.

20.   The primary concern of the Rio Conference was the situation of evangelizers because of the
      shortage of priests. Hence it encouraged an intense campaign for vocations and devoted special
      attention to increasing the means of formation in the faith for both clergy and laity. The most
      important contribution of this Conference in terms of the integration of the churches was the
      creation of the the Latin American Bishops Conference (CELAM).

21.   The Medellin Conference sought to apply the conciliar renewal to Latin America. The
      theme chosen was ―The presence of the Church in the current transformation of Latin America,
      in the light of Vatican Council II.‖ The integral development of the person and society from the
      standpoint of evangelization, merited special reflexion in this conference. It produced sixteen
      documents on the most important aspects of the church‘s task of evangelization, and they were
      received with special enthusiasm in the churches of Latin America. Among the the pastoral
      aspects that had the greatest resonance in in the life of the Church may be mentioned: the
      meaning of salvation and liberation, the wealth of of popular religiosity, the experience of the
      basic Christian communities, the flowering of ordained ministries and of ministries entrusted to
      lay people, the preferential option for the poor, the commitment of Christians to justice, and
      human promotion.

22.   The Puebla Conference dealt with “Evangelization in the present and the future of Latin
      America,” and took as the basis of its reflexion Paul VI‘s the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii
      Nuntiandi on evangelization in the contemporary world, and conscious of the Catholic substrate
      of our culture, understood its continued relevance among us. This conference was concerned for

      a renewed evangelization in Latin America‘s own culture through the integral proclamation of
      the truth about Jesus Christ, about the nature and mission of the Church, and about the dignity
      and destiny of the human being. The pastoral principal that it chose for fostering renewal in
      the Church and and encouraging evangelization was communion and participation. It
      should be acknowledged that the contents expressed in its document became language, pastoral
      style and criterion of justice that inspired the work of the entire church in Latin America for
      many years. This Conference has had an important influence on the life of our churches. In
      particular, it left a greater awareness of our ecclesial identity and deepened and expanded the
      synthesis provided by the earlier conferences.

23.   In continuity with the previous conferences, the Santo Domingo Conference, worked on the
      theme of “New evangelization, human and Christian culture. «Jesus Christ is the same
      yesterday, today, and forever» (Heb 13, 8).” The final document sought to formulate and
      synthesize the proposal for a New Evangelization for the churches of Latin America placing
      special emphasis on the Christological foundation of evangelization and on the need to
      inculturate the Gospel into the various cultures and into the different structures of the peoples of
      Latin America. We have to recognize that the reception of this conference was less intense than
      that achieved after the Puebla Conference.

24.   The underlying theme that unifies all the general conferences is evangelization. However, it
      can be summed up very schematically by saying that the main concern at Rio was the
      evangelizers, at Medellin it was the human person and Latin American society; at Puebla it was
      the Church, and at Santo Domingo it was Jesus Christ. From this angle the thematic continuity of
      the Fifth Conference with the previous four can be appreciated: the center of pastoral concern is
      the full life in Christ of the individual subject, missionary-disciple, and in the collective subject,
      which is achieved in the Church for the good of our peoples.

25.   With its own style each placed accents on the ecclesial mission, integrated the old and the
      new, strove to listen carefully to the needs and expectations of the people of God, and pointed to
      new directions on the path of evangelization. The life and the mission of the Church in Latin
      America can be adequately understood only on the basis of these keys that have sunk deep roots
      in its recent history.

26.   For its part, the Extraordinary Synod of the Bishops of America, called by John Paul II on the
      occasion of the celebration of the Great Jubilee of the Incarnation of the Word of God, placed the
      churches of the Americas before the center of their vocation and mission: the encounter with
      the living Jesus Christ, path to conversion, the communion, and solidarity in America. This
      unprecedented ecclesial event built bridges between all the churches of the Americas, made it
      possible to celebrate the common faith, and was helpful for recognizing that this faith has
      potentialities capable of creating communion and solidarity beyond sociocultural and economic
      barriers. Church in America is a very valuable source of theological synthesis and pastoral
      proposals, which calls for an eloquent testimony of coherence in Christian life and new
      missionary ardor of our churches. This Apostolic Exhortation can be said to be an open agenda
      that will offer many possibilities of communion and solidarity not only for the churches of Latin
      America but for the entire continent.


               4.1   Core themes

27.   The central theme of the Fifth Conference is “Disciples and missionaries of Jesus Christ so
      that our peoples may have life in Him. «I am the Way, the Truth and the Life» (Jn 14, 6).”
      In it we find the core focal points that inspired the analyses, reflections, and proposals in its
      preparation phase. They are the main threads that provide give it unity and coherence, and hence
      interrelationship, interdependence, and interaction may be found in them.

28.   “Disciples and missionaries of Jesus Christ,” evokes a threefold vital relationship: with the
      Lord who makes us the object of his graciousness, with the community where we live our
      ecclesial identity, and with those to whom we are sent in the name of the Lord of life.

29.   “So that our peoples,” situates the disciples and missionaries in the Church‘s evangelizing
      dimension, attentive to solidarity, self-offering love, and unconditional service to all without
      exclusions. We want to accompany our peoples in liberation from their sufferings and
      enslavements, which smother their hope and keep them from having the full life that God the
      Father gives us unceasingly with the resurrection of Jesus.

30.   “May have life in Him,” manifests our conviction that in the living God revealed in Jesus is
      found the meaning, fruitfulness, and dignity of human life. This is the life in Christ for which we
      yearn with our peoples and that is threatened in unsuspected and perverse manners. We are
      impelled by mission to provide life, promote it, and defend it in all its integrity, with the
      awareness that one day it will attain plenitude when ―God is all in all‖ (1 Cor 15:28).

               4.2   Content and method of this document

31.   This document is comprised of three chapters, an introduction and a general conclusion. In
      chapter one we look at our peoples in the light of the Father’s plan, which enables us to look
      at Latin American society with the gaze of believers. We indicate some concrete faces
      challenging us today, we note the outstanding features of the change of era, and pause to
      consider the church itself with its contrasts and challenges coming from contemporary society.

32.   Chapter two offers guidance and criteria for discernment and mission on the basis of
      revelation. The person of Jesus Christ reveals the Father to us as giver of life, whose Kingdom is
      achieved through the incarnate existence of the Son, culminating in the paschal mystery. The
      disciple of Jesus is incorporated into Him, and shares in His life, manifesting in many ways the
      presence of Jesus Christ alive in different human situations. The Church, sacrament of life in
      constant conversion and renewal through the celebration of the sacraments of the Eucharist and
      Reconciliation, is poised to hear the Word and to serve the Kingdom. As people of God in
      communion and participation, it celebrates faith and is oriented to mission.

33.   Chapter three is concerned with the church’s evangelizing activity. Stimulated and
      animated by the Holy Spirit who invites all its members to mission, it draws inspiration
      from the life of the Virgin Mary, the apostles, and the saints. He arouses and fosters in the
      People of God an evangelizing spirituality and a characteristic pastoral style. We next consider
      the major personal and family, social and ecclesial realms of mission in our reality. This mission,
      which involves all of us, calls for a process for training missionary disciples and a pastoral
      pedagogy that integrates diverse identities in communion and participation. The chapter ends by
      indicating our fundamental concerns.

34.   This document continues the practice of the “see, judge, and act” method used in previous
      General Conferences of the Latin American Bishops. Many voices from the entire continent
      offered contributions and suggestions along these lines, affirming that this method has helped us
      live more intensely our vocation and mission in the Church, enriched theological and pastoral
      work, and generally motivated us to assume our responsibilities vis-à-vis the concrete situations
      in our continent.

35.   This method enables to systematically articulate the believing perspective of seeing reality;
      the assumption of criteria from faith and reason to be discerned and appraised with critical
      sympathy; and consequently the project of acting as missionary disciples of Jesus Christ.
      Believing, joyful, and confident adhesion to God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and being part of
      the church are indispensable assumptions assuring the relevance of this method.

36.   We can say that the “see” of our method is most immediately connected to God the Father.
      We always want to see reality in the light of His loving plan, manifested in creation and in re-
      creation in His Son, Jesus. The Father‘s saving ―gaze‖ is ever seeking to sow life and make it
      increase, and to defend threatened life and resurrect it in the strength of the Spirit of His Son.

37.   The next step of the method is the moment of ―judging.‖ The Word, Head of Creation and of
      the redeemed world, and the mystery of the Church are the measure for appraising reality.
      This means that Jesus Christ cannot be reduced to a mere theory, a mere ethic, or a mere project
      of human or social development. It is because nothing or no one can replace Him that we can
      proclaim with assurance that He is the Lord of the life and of history, victor over the mystery of
      iniquity, and saving event that enables us to issue a true judgment over reality that safeguards
      the dignity of persons and of peoples.

38.   The last step is the moment of the ―act.‖ For the believer, the Holy Spirit impels us to act and
      indicates to us the directions of God’s will, expressed in energizing directions consistent with
      the cries of our peoples and the charity of Christ that impels us.

39.   The living experience of faith nourished by tradition and communion in the Catholic Church,
      on which this method must be founded, helps expand and deepen the understanding of reality
      and the discernment of situations, while it demands of us that we be able to give reasons for the
      hope that enlivens us and gives us the boldness and wisdom to act for the good of persons and
      peoples. The certainties of faith are capable of gathering all the signs of truth, goodness, and
      beauty manifested in our common life, beyond all boundaries and ties of association. From this
      standpoint, we want to contribute, along with many men and women, to the search for the
      answers demanded by this moment in history.

                                               CHAPTER I

                                WE LOOK AT OUR PEOPLES
                           IN THE LIGHT OF THE FATHER’S PLAN

40.   We look at reality from the saving design of the Father in order to discern and let ourselves
      be challenged by the contemporary voices of God which we assume in the signs of the times.
      The situation of the continent once more demands of us the sincerity and wisdom required in
      order to see reality and its dynamism in depth and to discover in it with lucidity the dynamic
      presence of the Kingdom of God proclaimed by Jesus.


41.   Israel discovers in the unfolding of its history that God is rich in love and mercy and that
      these divine attributes are source of life and liberation. From this interpretative key it looks
      not only at its history, but also the origin of humankind and of sin which enclosed the human
      being in selfishness and death. Yet God, who created the human being as the only creature that
      He loves for itself, has chosen us before the creation of the world–by unmerited decision of his
      will–―to be adopted as His Sons through Jesus Christ,‖ his firstborn Son (Eph 1:4-5).

               1.1   God, source of life and liberation for Israel

42.   God the Father goes out of Himself, as it were, to call us to share in his life and his glory.
      Through Israel, a people that he makes his own, God reveals to us his plan of life. Whenever
      Israel sought and needed its God, especially in national catastrophes, it had a singular experience
      of communion with Him, who made it a sharer in his truth, his life, and his holiness. Hence, it
      did not hesitate in witnessing that its God—unlike the idols—is the ―living God‖ (Dt 5:26) who
      frees it from the oppressors (cf. Ex 3:7-10), who forgives without limit (cf. Sir 2:11), and who
      restores the salvation lost when the people, enmeshed ―in the cords of death‖ (Ps 116:3), come
      to him in supplication (cf. Is 38:16). Of this God—who is his Father—Jesus will say that he is
      ―not God of the dead, but of the living‖ (Mk 12:27).

43.   Thanks to its experience of God, Israel confesses that he is “the God of my life” (Ps 42: 9),
      its only Lord whom it must love with its whole heart (cf. Dt 6:5). Israel knows that its God is the
      sole ―source‖ of its life (Ps 36:8-10), its safe ―rock‖ (28:1-2), and its ―redeemer‖ (Is 41:14). It
      also knows that this is not enough and that the response to the gift of life is the pursuit of true
      life. This life springs from the covenant with its God and demands the commitment to destroy
      idols, trusting in Him and in his promises of life, being concerned for the poor, listening to his
      Word and obeying his commandments, which constitutes a powerful divine ―Yes‖ on the side of
      truth, life, and freedom (cf. Ez 33:14-15). Because the God of Israel is God of life, Israel‘s
      covenant commitment is to respect and favor the sacred and precious gifts of life and liberation
      that He bestows on it.

               1.2   God creates man and woman so that they may live

44.   After looking with eyes of faith at the history of covenant with its God, Israel opens itself not
      only to its origin, but also to the reason for its own existence and that of humankind,
      discovering that human beings ―exists . because God has created them through love, and
      through love continues to keep them in existence” (GS 19). If God has manifested Himself,
      above all else, giver of life and liberation to Israel, it means that the creation of man and woman
      in his image and likeness is a divine event of life, and its source is the Lord‘s faithful love. In
      placing everything created at the service of the human being, the Creator manifests the immense
      dignity of that which is a little lower than God (cf. Sal 8) and the exquisite care that he has for
      each person (cf. Gn 1:29-30).

45.   This experience of a God who creates and loves by giving life and freedom (cf. Ps 119:159),
      leads Israel to marvel at the discovery of the fundamental vocation of the human being: to live in
      covenant of life with the Lord and in communion with one another.

               1.3   Sin, negation of the life intended by God

46.   Nevertheless, like us, Israel experiences the painful tragedy of evil in its history. It denies the
      life that God grants it when ―There is no fidelity, no mercy, no knowledge of God‖ in the
      country, and it destroys this life in others when ―False swearing, lying, murder, stealing and
      adultery! in their lawlessness, bloodshed follows bloodshed‖ (Hos 4: 1-2). By its repeated
      unfaithfulness, the people squanders the divine gifts. It responds with rebellion against the life
      and freedom that come to it from God, distancing itself from and saddening its Lord with its
      behavior (cf. Is 63:7-10). But the people are convinced that their evil cannot come from a God of
      life who loves as their God does. Then some wise Israelites, inspired by God, teach the people
      that it was sin, introduced by the human being at the dawn of creation (cf. Rom 5: 12), that
      caused a threefold, deep distortion still present: that of the human being with its Creator, with
      itself and fellows, and with creation (cf. Gn 3; DP 322).

47.   Since then the fundamental vocation fundamental of man and woman is threatened by sin,
      placing all creation under the shadow of their selfishness and pride (cf. AA 7). But likewise since
      then human beings bear in the depth of their heart the yearning for happiness, liberation from sin
      and death, and peace and fulfillment.

48.   The God of life will not abandon his people or humankind in death and sin. Vatican II tells
      us that ―the Lord Himself came to free and strengthen man, renewing him inwardly and casting
      out that "prince of this world" (John 12:31) who held him in the bondage of sin. For sin has
      diminished man, blocking his path to fulfillment‖ (GS 13c). Accordingly, when the proper time
      came, He sent his Son as ―Way, Truth and Life‖ (cf. Jn 14:6) and ―firstborn of every creature‖
      (Col 1:15). To free us from sin, He forgives our sins, recreating the human heart, and bringing
      the human vocation to fulfillment. To activate the Father‘s mercy he left us the sacrament of
      Forgiveness, so that Paul‘s deepest aspiration may be reality: that ―everything belongs to you...
      you to Christ, and Christ to God‖ (1 Cor 3:22-23).


49.   Sin introduced of old by human beings remains present in our reality, but the presence of God‘s
      liberating and elevating action is more powerful. Hence with Mary in her song of the Magnificat
      (cf. Lk 1:46-55) we proclaim the marvels that the Lord has done in our peoples and we rejoice in
      his love and his mercy. Christ calls out to us from our suffering brothers and sisters, whom
      he wants to serve with our collaboration; with the believing and maternal attitude of Mary we
      approach the reality of our peoples, and today we contemplate the filial, suffering, and
      resurrected faces of the Lord Jesus (EiA 45).

50.   Among them are the peoples and the communities that are witness to the indigenous roots
      and cultures. In the 500 years that have gone by, large mestizo populations and cultures have
      grown. It is especially the original peoples who have remained most separated in their territories
      and Afrodescendant territories and communities, whose right to be treated with dignity and in
      equality is still not recognized; they bear a longstanding burden of humiliations. They are often
      on the margins of society and of the legitimate right to development, their history and their
      presence is ignored, and the cultural and religious wealth of their traditions is disregarded.

51.   In addition, countless women of every condition have suffered a double exclusion by reason
      of their socioeconomic situation and their sex. They are not valued in their dignity, they are
      often left alone and abandoned, they are not sufficiently recognized for their selfless sacrifice
      and even heroic generosity in the care and education of their children or in the transmission of
      the faith in the family, nor their indispensable and special participation in building a more
      humane social life and building up the Church in the merging of its Petrine and Marian
      dimensions sufficiently appreciated or promoted. At the same time, there are efforts to distort the
      enhancement of their dignity and their participation on the part of currents of an ideological
      feminism, marked by the cultural imprint of the consumer and spectacle society, which can even
      subject women to new slaveries.

52.   Likewise suffering are the poor, the outcast, the unemployed, migrants, the displaced, landless
      peasants, those who seek to survive in the networks of the informal economy, and all those who
      are deprived of a decent life. Their faces seek conditions of life to guarantee and offer
      opportunities for their existence, through a fraternal welcome and solidarity, incorporated into
      labor and the benefits of an authentic progress, also through laws to protect their present and
      future in justice. Likewise suffering are children, youth, and adults, when they are victims of
      social structures that close the doors to the exercise of their individual and social rights, and to
      claiming other legitimate opportunities. The sick, drug addicts, the disabled, and older adults
      who suffer loneliness, and do not enjoy the right to a decent life and to the care that they deserve
      are waiting for us. We also recall the victims of violence within the family.

53.   There are other faces that question us in particular: our kidnapped brothers and sisters,
      those who are victims of violence and armed conflicts in our countries and elsewhere, who are
      not effectively protected and defended and are not given priority in the public policies of many
      states. ―We must learn that peace cannot be attained solely from outside with structures and that
      the attempt to establish it with violence only leads to ever new violence (…) We must learn that
      peace can only exist if hatred and selfishness are overcome from within‖ (Benedict XVI, Speech
      to the Roman Curia, December 22, 2006). Nor can we forget those other faces that have not
      contributed and do not contribute to building peace. Because they have misused or are still
      misusing freedom they are without happiness. Among them, those who have committed crimes
      and are still deprived of freedom expect much of us. And those who are insensitive to the pain
      of others, those who oppress, the corrupt, those who live outside the law, those who traffic in
      drugs, those who abuse power, those who manipulate ideologically, the violent and terrorists; all
      of them, incapable of living in peace and of building peace.

54.   We disciples and missionaries of Christ are questioned by brothers and sisters of other
      Christian communities with whom we have begun to pray together and to work together, on the
      way toward the unity willed by the Lord; and also of other religious confessions with which
      dialogue and mutual collaboration is still pending. We are likewise questioned by agnostics,
      atheists, and the indifferent, who live the poverty of not knowing God in their life or, knowing of
      Him, disregard His person and His Love. Those who lack hope, and who have experienced the
      failure of their proposals and utopias would be happy to share our optimism. Nor can we forget
      those who are in special situations for having given up the exercise of the priestly ministry,
      for having contracted a second civil marriage without having obtained the declaration of nullity
      of the sacrament, homosexual persons, and those who lead a double life, the fear of being
      discovering compounding the pain of their disorder.

55.   We fulfill a debt of gratitude in highlighting other faces: of a multitude of men and women,
      adults and young people–professionals, small farmers, workers, employees, mothers, etc.– who
      are members of the Church and work in our countries with love for God and their brothers and
      sisters, even for those who could be their enemies, and do so honestly and generously, without
      losing hope. Together with so many others, they do not surrender before difficulties, but
      maintain yearnings for life and liberation, for friendship with God, for fidelity, fraternity, and
      peace, seeking the growth of the Kingdom. Their capacity for resistance, hope, and historic
      patience, and also for working together with those who believe in human beings and in their
      happiness, and manifest the joy of believing in the ―God who put down the mighty from their
      thrones and raised up the lowly‖ (Lk 1:2) are a reminder of the face of the risen Jesus.


56.   Successive social and cultural roil the contemporary world. We live in a sharp change of era,
      the deepest level of which is cultural. Hence Latin American society is experiencing itself as an
      uncertain society in transition, with its lights and shadows. The Catholic church is itself
      immersed in this change. Let us examine some of the more outstanding features of its shape.

               3.1   Pluralism and emergence of subjectivity

57.   We all feel the deep changes that affect our society. Accustomed to a quite homogeneous cultural
      tradition of a Christian nature, we are today witnessing the fragmentation of society into plural
      sectors, with languages and practices of their own, with a new awareness of the ethnic, cultural,
      and religious particularities of peoples, with vast accumulation of information and knowledge,
      with a new autonomy and self-sufficiency of political power, with huge changes promoted by
      science and technology, and by a new conception of religious freedom. Thus, a single image of
      the world, of the human being and of God, which used to offer guidance for everyday life is
      disappearing. The entire responsibility for building one‘s personality, affirming one‘s freedom,
      and having reasons for living, which are no longer given one by tradition, as used to happen in
      the past, falls on the individual. We live in a world where cultural or religious pluralism reigns,
      in which life in common is built day by day out the person and his or her options, which are
      nevertheless sometimes conditioned by a global culture that tends to impose the ―dictatorship of
      relativism, proposing anthropological models incompatible with the nature and dignity of man‖
      (Benedict XVI, Speech to the Diplomatic Corps, January 8, 2007), thereby sowing uncertainty,
      anomie, and confusion.

58.   There accordingly emerges what we today characterize as the emergence of subjectivity, in
      which everyone can choose what seems best to him or her from among the manifold supply of
      meanings and social practices. The emergence of subjectivity has meant a significant conquest
      for humankind. The dignity and freedom of the human person are recognized and respected. Its
      roots are certainly in the newness of Christianity, although they have undergone historic and
      cultural vicissitudes. Currently this subjectivity, however, is often reduced to mere subjectivism,
      hostile to any bond, with no reference to truth, no internal unity, and harmful to shared social
      life. Nevertheless, the space given to freedom in our days also represents an opportunity for
      Christianity. For adherence to Christian faith comes from a free option for Jesus Christ. The
      more conscious, free, reasonable, mature, and full it is, the more solid will be the identity of the
      disciple of Christ.

               3.2   Impact of globalization

59.   The phenomenon of globalization, in its cultural strain and in its communications and
      economic strain, is causing significant changes in contemporary reality. Today we
      experience a collapsing of space and time, resulting from the speed of means of transport and of
      the instantaneous character of communication. We have a planetary awareness unprecedented in
      the history of humankind, which is bringing peoples and continents together, and shaping a
      common mindset. Large nations and millions of people are being brought into an accelerated
      dynamic of development.

60.   Globalization no doubt represents an opportunity for a renewed awareness of the catholicity
      of the Church. Thus a great cultural store of wealth is offered to all, providing them an
      awareness of human rights, participation in scientific achievements, solidarity with the poorest,
      esteem for justice and peace, appreciation for local cultures, and especially the conviction that
      the present and the future of humankind depends on all. Thus emerges the duty to globalize
      charity and solidarity.

61.   Nevertheless, it cannot be ignored that much of this globalized culture is at the service of
      transnational economic interests. Economic globalization indeed brings many economic
      benefits for those who succeed in entering into the necessary high level of knowledge and
      technology, but it leaves out those who have fewer skills and chances for competing in an
      economy open to the world, creating situations of extreme need, inequality, and poverty.
      Political power in nations cedes before the interdependencies of an economic nature in the new
      global settings. Neoliberal economics, when it is not corrected by the commitment to the
      weakest, in fact further weakens Latin American democracies, which generally do not have firm
      and solid institutions and suffer from the temptation to populist solutions or succumb to
      corruption at many levels. The financial economy tends to prevail in its decisive role over the
      productive and social economy, and consequently the future of our nations is conditioned by the
      ebb and flow of speculative capital. That has been the painful experience in some of our

               3.3   Hegemony of the economic and techno-scientific factor

62.   All the dimensions of social life are feeling the dominant impact of the economic factor and of
      the market as supreme norm for their functioning and the decisive criterion of social
      organization. The instrumental rationality that animates many aspects of economic and scientific
      activity is unable to recognize the human being as subject with dignity and as supreme
      value of social and economic organization. Only slowly is the concern for ―human capital‖
      gaining ground. Many of our contemporaries, immersed in such a culture, are lacking in
      reference points for taking their bearings, and they end up succumbing to the imperatives of
      individualism, materialism, and the sole pursuit of their own welfare.

63.   When the logic of the market colonizes political and scientific life, when it forces its way into
      the institutes devoted to the prosecution of justice, into the school and university, and into
      ordinary ways of life, ethical relativism comes to the fore, and the ideal of working for the
      common good weakens. The frequent failure of civil authorities to keep their promises is partly
      due to the subordination of public policies to the logic of the market, to popularity sought as an
      end, to the demands of international bodies, which value supply and demand as operating
      criterion more than fair reciprocity in exchanges. The upshot is the worsening of social
      inequities of our countries, which are reflected in weak public services in different sectors such
      as hospitals, schools, and housing. Therefore, it is imperative that ―the structural causes of the
      dysfunctions of the world economy be eliminated‖ (Benedict XVI, Speech to the Diplomatic
      Corps, January 8, 2007), so that a more comprehensive and solidary rationality may energize all
      social processes and respond to the strong aspirations of the poorest social sectors for a greater
      and more just share in the goods of society.

               3.4   Entry of the sacred and search for transcendence

64.   It is noticeable that in many spaces and environments of society and culture in Latin America
      there are no answers to the great questions of the human being on the meaning of life, of
      suffering, of death and love, leaving people defenseless and insecure. And yet, a new religious
      sensitivity that yearns to find the dimension of the sacred, is reappearing with a strong
      subjectivist tone and with weak ties to the faith of preceding generations. New groups and sects
      are bringing to the fore a fuzzy religiosity, subject to constant changes and a reason for confusion
      among the faithful. Thus, believers in Latin America are living among secularist tendencies
      alongside a “diffused demand for spirituality” (NMI 33), with a nostalgia for God, even
      though this phenomenon is not expressed with a sophisticated or academic language.

               3.5   Crisis of the family

65.   The family, cell of society, is today suffering the impact of this sociocultural and economic
      context. The instability of marriages comes largely from the absence of bonds and solid
      convictions and it is aggravated by the reigning hedonism, subjectivism, and throwaway culture.
      The many breakups of marriages are discrediting marriage in younger generations and are
      fostering the expansion of unions outside of civil or religious marriage. Low incomes and often
      the search for individual well-being lead couples to avoid having children or to have very few of
      them. In addition, today some engage in the absurdity of legitimizing unions of same-sex
      people, equating them to marriage. Even among Christian families, the absence from the home
      of all family members due to professional commitments, the pace of modern life, particularly in
      cities, the omnipresence of television and the constant use of other visual and auditory media
      which spread customs and convictions foreign or contrary to Christianity, hinder the
      transmission of Christian faith to children, and make dialogue and union of everyone in the home
      difficult. Today for various reasons different types of unions may be seen; for ideological
      reasons there is an effort to call them ―family models‖ (single parent, consensual, free unions,
      divorced and remarried, homosexual unions, and so forth), although they are not in keeping with
      God‘s plan for the family nor with the record of history. All of this questions our family

66.   Among the assumptions that weaken and undermine family life we find various ideological
      currents: the neoliberal current which exalts the total freedom of the individual which is
      expressed in a subjectivist relativism in which everyone can choose his or her truths and values,
      and in the exaltation of power: if I am the strongest I can dispose of the life of others; the
      ideology of gender, according to which one may choose his or her ―sexual orientation‖ and the
      practices that go with it, since physiological differences are of no importance; the ecological
      ideology, which presents the human being as the greatest destroyer and hence, the human being
      must submit to Mother Earth, and the number of individuals admitted into existence must be
      contained within limits set by technocrats; agnostic humanism, which voluntarily reduces the
      area of competence of reason, limiting its exercise to the realm of phenomena, and disqualifying
      a priori any inquiry into the meaning of life and death, or sense of mystery. This humanism,
      which reaches a state of paroxysm in nihilism, leads to the concealing of the ministerial lordship
      by virtue of which human beings are called to share in God‘s creative action through procreation.

67.   Many of the legal changes introduced in many Latin American countries in recent years gravely
      injure the dignity of marriage, the family, and human life. These changes are not by chance,
      they do not simply happen. Often they are promoted as necessary elements of ―progressive‖
      agendas, often driven by particular NGOs or United Nations agencies. They seek emancipation
      from the customs, ethical norms, and laws from their Christian setting. They often respond to
      the interests and strategies of persons and institutions with greater international power and
      presence that openly seek to bring about change in the Latin American cultural and religious

               3.6   Urban culture

68.   God dwells in the city. Just as He was formerly manifested with a rural face, today He is
      revealed, as it were with an urban face. Soon over 70% of the population will be living in
      cities with over a million inhabitants. We must understand this rapid growth of large cities as a
      new sign of our time. The city is the site of complex socioeconomic, cultural, political, and
      religious transformations that have an impact on all dimensions of life. Large cities are
      composed of vast multitude of peoples, satellite cities, social sectors and environments, where
      there are polarities that challenge it every day: tradition-modernity, globality-particularity,
      inclusion-exclusion, personalization-depersonalization, secular language-religious language,
      homogeneity-plurality, urban culture-multiculturalism. Rural culture is still a point of reference
      in many parts of the continent and is still furnishing undeniable riches; but the rural world is now
      urbanizing very rapidly and irreversibly. In the city there is a fragmentation of culture, a new
      language and a symbol system that must be learned. There is a notable difference between one
      born in the city, the immigrant pushed toward it, and the foreign resident. Contemporary culture
      today necessarily passes by way of the city and creates bonds that generate a new mindset.

69.   Citizens of the city understand themselves as both victim and subject of their surroundings.
      On the one hand, they suffer anonymity and massification, mobility and vertigo, loneliness and
      abandon, uprootedness and violence, insecurity and impotence; on the other hand, they recognize
      that the city constantly offers them opportunities, alternatives, fashions, expectations, cultural
      offerings, and unprecedented options, which invite them to effort, well-being, and success. All
      this makes the life of urban men and women extremely difficult; they see the city simultaneously
      as a friendly place that draws them, and an odious place that assaults them.

               3.7   The exercise of power in Latin America

70.   There is a factor in social life that we conventionally identify with the word ―political‖ but that
      is much broader than the realm delimited by that notion. This factor is ―power.‖ Power has been
      configured in Latin America in a peculiar way due to the long history of authoritarianism that
      has existed in our lands since pre-Colombian times and that continues under diverse modalities
      into our own time. Power is exercised in the family, in school, in the countryside, in civil
      organizations, in companies, in labor unions, and of course, in the various orders of civil and
      ecclesiastical government.

71.   On many occasions in the remote and recent history of Latin America the exercise of power
      has not been governed by the dignity of human persons and their fundamental demands –
      human rights – but it has regulated itself. When power does not recognize any limit other than
      the will of the ruler, authoritarianism enters. Faced with this phenomenon, civil society has
      become organized in very many groups, which when they struggle peacefully for some segment
      of the common good, are working together for society to become the agent of its own history and
      not an object of use or abuse by those wielding power.

72.   Many of the democracies have managed to build themselves up with enormous personal and
      group sacrifices. Deep painful wounds had to be healed through reconciliation processes in
      which truth, justice, magnanimity, and forgiveness have been present. Nevertheless, democracy
      often goes no further than its formal component, and fails to mature in its participatory
      and cultural dimension. This means that in many instances democracy is striving to improve
      the most necessary institutional mechanisms, for example, for carrying out election processes,
      but it is unable to emerge as an ongoing way of life that vitalizes institutions. Hence, democracy
      in Latin America is in serious crisis, and with it the traditional political parties. This crisis is
      manifested in many ways, one of the most worrisome being corruption, and the emergence of
      strong-man leadership [caudillismos] with messianic pretensions and manichaeistic ways of
      speaking, tolerating, or inciting to violence, tend to wield state control over educational
      institutions, the media, the economy, and society. Sometimes they even make use of a religious
      language, and present themselves as redeemers of social life. In such circumstances, the freedom
      of the Church, which must be exercised and defended with great courage, becomes a symbol for
      society, a refuge for the persecuted, the primary guarantee of rights and citizen freedoms, and a
      promise of freedom for all.

73.   The authoritarian vices that frequently appear in civil government structures, come out of vices
      of the same nature cultivated in the family and in the rest of the organizations and institutions
      that comprise social life. Hence, it is important that we recognize the urgent need for
      fostering subsidiarity and a participatory democracy, to allow for recognizing in practice
      the right of all alike to participate freely, actively, and creatively in forging the common good.


               4.1   A Church questioned

74.   The cultural and religious pluralism of contemporary society impacts strongly on the
      Church. There are other sources of meaning competing with it, relativizing and weakening its
      social impact and its pastoral action. Not all Catholics were prepared to resist this multiplicity of
      discourses and practices presents in society. Indeed this fact has been manifested in a certain
      silent distancing from the Church by many who join other religious beliefs or institutions with
      little thought. This situation is aggravated by the ethical and religious relativism of contemporary
      culture. However, pluralism opens spaces for personal freedom and conscious religious option.
      All this shows the urgent need for greater Christian formation of the laity, so as to allow it to
      develop a posture of convinced identification with its Christian vocation and evangelical
      discernment in the face of this pluralism.

75.   Moreover, the emergence in our time of subjectivity, accompanied by a growing participation of
      our contemporaries in cultural conquests, also represents a challenge to the Church. A statement
      is no longer accepted merely because it comes from an authority. An adequate foundation
      must be offered for doctrinal or ethical discourse, because everyone wants his or her personal
      autonomy and freedom to be respected; thus as Pope Benedict XVI says, the Church should
      intervene on the various issues in the life of society ―through rational argumentation‖ (DCE 28).
      It should be noted that the weakening of the sources of meaning in society ultimately generates
      anguish and malaise in those who most seek refuge and distraction in a growing consumerism.
      The Christian message undoubtedly offers solid frameworks for personal integration and
      shared social life. It must be announced to our contemporaries with an open and dialogue-
      oriented posture.

               4.2   The rich vitality of the Church

76.   Present and acting in his Church, the Holy Spirit continually sanctifies it, inspires it, and renews
      it. The Catholic Church in Latin America has been committed from its origins until now to the
      poorest and to the effort to promote their dignity. A dense capillary network of institutions
      and initiatives benefits our peoples in the areas of health, education, culture, housing,
      rehabilitation and the development of workers and their families. For example, its many
      educational activities and institutions at all levels represent a significant contribution to the Latin
      American people. Likewise noteworthy is the personal and institutional participation of the
      Church in health care, thereby reducing the consequences of a flawed health service.
      Repeatedly their effort on behalf of the poorest and their struggle for human dignity have
      prompted the persecution, and even death, of their members.

77.   Renewal also took place within the Church. Focusing its pastoral efforts on leading to the
      encounter with the living Jesus Christ has produced precious fruits and is still doing so. The
      primacy of the Word of God nourishes theology and energizes pastoral activity, strongly
      impacting on the most simple and open sectors of our peoples. Greater contact with, and better
      knowledge of, the gospel texts has highlighted the centrality of the person and life of Jesus
      Christ, with his power of attraction and transformation, and also the mission of the Church as
      sacrament of communion and space of solidarity with those who do not have the means needed
      to live in dignity. The Church is also rediscovering its biblical and patristic roots, understanding
      itself as a true family of God, which entails the sharing of all in the goods of salvation and in
      ecclesial activities. We note the admirable generosity of innumerable catechists, and immense
      catechetical efforts. The manifestations of popular religiosity are growing. Thus the flourishing
      of Christian base communities can be noted.         There are many movements and formation
      processes that are spreading their charismatic, educational, and evangelizing richness. The
      testimony and action of solidarity and mission of lay men and women constitute priceless riches.

78.   The liturgical renewal accented the celebratory and festive dimension of the Christian
      faith, completely centered on the paschal mystery. Its openness to the world, culture, and
      history along the lines of Vatican II and the previous general conferences is bringing the Church
      closer to the reality in which it is inserted and more in dialogue with it. The concern for the
      human being, so strong in our culture, is also becoming a fundamental concern of the Church.
      For all these good things we want thank the Spirit of God who has abundantly poured out his
      gifts on the Church in Latin America and the Caribbean.

               4.3   Deficiencies to correct

79.   Any solid historic transformation takes place slowly and gradually, and the Church is no
      exception. The conciliar ecclesiology unquestionably renewed church life, but we must still
      keep questioning ourselves. Here what is crucial is not only sociocultural burdens but
      especially the reality of sin in ourselves its members that requires sincere repentance and
      personal conversion, and more evangelical stances. Only that way can our deficiencies and errors
      be forgiven and corrected. We are referring, to mention a few, to clericalism, to efforts to return
      to the past, to secularized interpretations and applications of the council renewal, to the lack of
      self-criticism, of authentic obedience, and of gospel exercise of authority, to moralizing, which
      weakens the centrality of Jesus Christ, to infidelities to doctrine and communion, to the
      weaknesses of our preferential option for the poor, to discrimination against so many women and
      human groups, to little accompaniment provided to lay people in tasks of public service, to
      evangelization with little ardor and without new methods and expressions, to an emphasis on the
      sacraments while neglecting other pastoral tasks, to an individualistic spirituality, to a certain
      slowness in the commitment to democracy, to the lack of a creative application of the rich
      legacy constituted by the church‘s social doctrine, to the persistence of languages that do not
      mean much to contemporary culture and that—sometimes—do not seem to take into account
      the pluralistic character of society and culture. We must ask forgiveness for having moved away
      from the Gospel, which calls for a style of life more faithful to truth and charity, simpler, more
      austere and more in solidarity, and also courage, persistence, and docility to grace for pursuing
      the renewal initiated by Vatican Council II.


80.   Our believing examination of reality shows us that we are still far from God’s plan for his
      creation. The life of our peoples is threatened by the changes in this period, and by the
      resistance to change of some church attitudes and structures that sometimes are no longer
      adequately suited to the evangelizing boldness needed today.

81.   We members of the Church need to react, letting ourselves be questioned by the voices of God
      that arise from all corners of the continent. First, there must be a continual exercise of
      discernment to make a prophetic and sapiential interpretation of the contradictory and
      promising signs that we are living through today. Love for the truth must occupy the most
      important place in life, in our options and in the tasks that we take on. Second, a pressing
      demand for individual and group conversion is paramount, one that will foster profound
      changes wherever they are necessary and unleash bold renewal processes in a community of
      disciples in a permanent state of mission. Finally, a People-of-God style must be forged, one
      more given to prayer and missionary work, in which creative fidelity makes evangelical changes,
      always distinguishing the essential from that which is not (cf. Mt 13:52).

82.   In the twentieth century, the life of the Church Latin American was marked by various
      tendencies, sometimes at odds with one another. We believe that the time has come to create,
      through a great love for the truth and a fraternal openness and a respectful dialogue, new
      integrating syntheses. For example: between evangelization and ‗sacramentalization,‘ between
      witness and proclamation, between proclamation and denunciation, between ministry among the
      popular masses and formation of lay people, between preferential option for the poor and care for
      the middle class and leadership groups, between ministry, spirituality, and social commitment,
      between traditional values and contemporary searching, between social liberation and developing
      the faith, between theology and praxis, between worship and life witness, between local and
      national causes and openness to Latin America and the world, between Catholic identity and
      openness to dialogue with those who are different. The aim is not to weaken or relativize any of
      these demands, but rather that the Person of Jesus Christ enlighten all these realities and allow
      them to be properly interconnected

83.   Illuminating this examination, making it one of faith, out of the centrality of Jesus Christ
      and the ecclesiology of Vatican II, is secure guarantee for us to approach closer to the primary
      objectives of the Fifth Conference: to embody a missionary discipleship capable of giving rise to
      life ―in abundance‖ (Jn 10:10) for the peoples of these lands.

                                              CHAPTER II


84.   We have looked briefly at the reality of our peoples and our Church, their values and their
      limits, their anguishes and their hopes. While we suffer and rejoice, we cry out, struggle and
      dream, we remain in joyful hope. Jesus makes himself present to establish his Kingdom of truth
      and life, justice and peace, love, grace, and holiness. Accordingly, we will now be able to fix
      our gaze on the Gospel to contemplate Jesus Christ, bearing in mind that the Church’s
      activity is at the service of his Kingdom. In the conclusion, we will offer some theological and
      pastoral criteria to shed light on our missionary task.


85.   Through His Son Jesus, the Father makes present all his life-giving and liberating power,
      of integration, reconciliation, and mercy, for through Him what human beings had squandered
      with their sin returns in inconceivable plenitude. He restores a human life capable of accepting
      God‘s very life, source of new relationships with others in justice and love, and with everything

86.   For every believer the criterion of discernment and evaluation is the person of Jesus
      Christ, eternal Word of God, who exists from the beginning and through whom all things were
      made, and Word incarnate in time, in whom fallen humanity was recreated, for which He is ―the
      Way, the Truth, and the Life‖ (Jn 14:6), and in whose light there shines ―whatever is honorable,
      whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious‖ (Phl 4:8). His
      person, his words, and his actions inaugurated in our midst the Father’s Kingdom of life,
      which will attain its fulfillment, there where there will no longer be ―death or mourning, wailing
      or pain, for the old order has passed away" (Rev. 21:1-5).

               1.1   Life is Jesus

                     1.1.1   The God of life becomes present in Jesus of Nazareth

87.   When the proper time came, the Word of the Father became one of us (cf. Gal 4:4). In
      Galilee he began to proclaim that the Kingdom of his Father is arriving, and hence one must
      believe and be converted (cf. Mk 1:14-15). While some marveled and were amazed at his
      teaching and actions, others sought the reason for his behavior (cf. 3:21). His fame grew in the
      crowd that sought him out and accompanied him (cf. 1:45). Questions were soon asked about his
      words and works: ―Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him?
      What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!‖ (6:2-3).

88.   However, Jesus revealed his identity to those who with pure of heart, observed his work in
      fascination, and listened attentively to his teaching. Thus arises another kind of question: if
      he expels demons and heals in his own name, can he be a devil? (cf. Mk 3:22-30); might he not
      be the Messiah who brings the Kingdom of life? Jesus himself confirmed this incipient faith:
      ―But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come
      upon you,‖ (Lk 11:20) and also: ―The works that the Father gave me to accomplish, these works
      that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me‖ (Jn 5:36; cf. RM 14). When Jesus
      ignores the rigid purification laws, is he not revealing that the God of the Kingdom is Father of
      all, that he forgives sinners, making them sharers in his holiness? (cf. Lk 15). Again, Jesus
      confirmed the incipient faith of many: ―I did not come to call the righteous but sinners‖ (Mt
      9:13), opening up human experience to the universality of the love of the Father who does not
      exclude anyone and ―makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the
      just and the unjust‖ (Mt 5:45).

89.   In the historic life of Jesus, his words and actions are closely interconnected, so that the
      words explain the actions and the actions confirm the words. This radical consistency of the Son
      of Man who ―went about doing good‖ (Ac 10:38), brought about bonding to him as ―Master‖
      and ―Messiah,‖ and faith opened the way to gradual confessions of his identity and his mission.

                     1.1.2   Jesus of Nazareth reveals the Kingdom of his Father

90.   Announcing and establishing the Kingdom of God are the object of the mission of Jesus
      Christ (cf. Lk 4:43). Entrance to the Kingdom comes through encounter with Him who with his
      words and actions showed that ―the Kingdom‖ of God included the common people and the
      outcast. He ate and drank with sinners (Mk 2:16), unconcerned that he would be labeled a
      glutton and drunkard (cf. Mt 11:19); he touched lepers (cf. Lk 5:13) and allowed a woman
      prostitute to anoint and kiss his feet (cf. 7:37-38); violating customs, he talked with a Samaritan
      woman (cf. Jn 4) and by night welcomed Nicodemus, a distinguished leader in Israel (cf. Jn 3).

91.   In turn, Jesus‘ closeness to the needy and the gift of new life, made present in the midst of
      people an original image of the Kingdom. ―Jesus is God‘s Kingdom in person: the man in
      whom God is in our midst and through whom we can touch God, approach God‖ (Benedict XVI,
      speech to the Roman Curia, December 22, 2006). This entails a new image of the “God” of
      this Kingdom. He wants to reign as ―Abba‖ or ―Father‖ who, through forgiveness and the gift
      of his own life, seeks to be ―our Father‖ (Mt 6:9). The God who wants to reign is loving Father
      and full of compassion with everyone: with those who are Jesus‘s favorites–the sick, sinners, the
      poor and common people– (cf. Lk 4:14-21; 10:21) and with rich men like Zachaeus, notable
      figures like Nicodemus and powerful people like the Roman centurion. From all Jesus asks for
      close adherence to Him and conversion of life (cf. Mk 1:14-15). By acceptance of Jesus as
      Messiah and Son, the sovereignty of God as Father becomes reality, thereby placing in every
      reality, whether human or not, a divine transforming drive that seeks its eschatological
      fulfillment. Building the Kingdom means recognizing and the sovereignty of God the Father in
      history. By connecting the human being and every reality with the Risen One, he frees from all
      oppression and evil. Identification with Jesus Christ, which entails sharing his life, his style, his
      motivations and also his destiny, is what makes real the sovereignty of God as Father,
      transforming society.

92.   The Kingdom of God, the sovereignty of the Father in the world, is initially hidden, almost
      invisible. It does not appear in a showy manner, but ―is among you‖ (Lk 17:21). It is Kingdom
      ―of God,‖ and hence whether man sleeps or is awake, the Kingdom sprouts and grows. But it
      does need the good soil of the converted heart (cf. Mk 4:20). It is Kingdom of God, the Father,
      and hence it tends to transform human relationships, establishing another way of understanding
      and living them: that of fraternity and hence of solidary love, forgiveness, and mutual service.

                     1.1.3   The paschal mystery, source of new life

93.   The disciples have witnessed the fact that some actions and words of Jesus have deeply annoyed
      the religious leaders of Israel, for they question their image of God and their service as guides of
      the people. They decide to eliminate him and do so. Jesus, on the other hand, during his life
      and with his death on the cross remains faithful to his Father and to his will (cf. Lk 22:42).
      The first interpretation that the disciples of Jesus made of the painful events of Calvary was that
      of the irremediable defeat of the one whom they recognized as ―Messiah‖ (24:21). They were
      not able to understand that in a radically consistent man like Jesus, (cf. Mk 12:14), the meaning
      of his life sealed the meaning of his death. Much less could they understand that according to the
      Father‘s design, the death of the Son was source of fruitful life for his disciples (cf. Jn 12:23-24),
      because he had come so that we might have life, and in abundance (cf. Jn 10:10).

94.   Jesus made present in his life an original and renewing event: the presence in him of the saving
      power of his Father making everything new. The signs of this event are forgiveness of sins,
      expulsion of demons, meals with the impure and sinners who were not considered worthy,
      Jesus‘ closeness to all … The life that Jesus shared and offered in Palestine ennobled people and
      brought about communion with God and with the brothers and sisters.

95.   If this is the meaning of his life, Jesus’ paschal mystery is the act of obedience and love
      toward the Father by which the Messiah fully gives that life that he offered on the roads and in
      the villages of Palestine. Through his voluntary sacrifice, the Lamb of God places his offered
      life in the hands of the Father (cf. Lk 23:46), who makes it salvation ―for us‖ (1 Cor 1:30).
      Through the paschal mystery, the Father seals the new covenant and generates a new people
      founded on his gratuitous love as saving Father.

               1.2   The new life in the encounter with the Risen One

                     1.2.1   Jesus Christ, new life

96.   The disciples, after Pentecost, recognize the full significance of the life and death of Jesus,
      thanks to the astonishing and powerful presence of the Risen Lord, whom they see with their
      eyes, hear with their ears, and touch with their hands, and thanks to the full and messianic
      understanding of the scriptures that they receive from Jesus himself Jesus (Lk 24:25-27 and 44-
      47; Ac 1:3), overcoming their particular conception of ―Messiah.‖ If they have had the
      experience of a Jesus who offered his life to all, they understand that in his death and
      resurrection he was not only giving something of himself, but that he was giving himself entirely
      (cf. Jn 6:51). Now risen, he was offering this life to his own forever. The appearances of the
      Risen One and the gift of the Spirit impel them to confess the victory of life over sin and death.
      Before the world they become witnesses of the Lord‘s living presence, and that he alone is ―the
      Way, the Truth and the Life‖ (14:6), the only one who has ―words that give eternal life‖ (6:68),
      the only bread come down from heaven that gives life to the world (cf. Jn 6:33). One who
      believes in him will never die (cf. Jn 6:50); one who eats his body and drinks his blood has
      eternal life (Jn 6:40 and 54).

97.   The Father, who has resurrected his Son, gives him a name ―that is above every name,‖ so that
      all may recognize ―that Jesus Christ is Lord for the glory of God the Father‖ (Phl 2:9-11). Since
      that time, the existence of the Lord raised up alongside his Father is forever “saving pro-
      existence,‖ that is, life of the Risen One offered as gift for the world.

                          1.2.2    Disciples through the new life of Jesus Christ

98.   In sharing everyday life with Jesus and in confrontation with the disciples of other masters, the
      disciples soon discover two completely original things about Jesus. First, it was not they who
      chose their master. It was Christ who chose them. Second, they were not invited for something
      (being purified, learning the Law …), but for Someone, chosen to be closely connected to his
      Person (cf. Mk 1:17; 2:14). Jesus chose them ―that they might be with him‖ (3:14), so that they
      would follow him in order to ―be of him‖ and be part of ―his own.‖ The disciple immediately
      experiences that close connection with Jesus in the group of his own is sharing in the life that
      has come from within the Father; it means being formed to assume the same style of life as him
      and his same motivations, to share his lot, and undertake his mission of making all things new.

99.   With the parable of the vine and the branches (cf. Jn 15:1-17), Jesus reveals the type of
      bond that he offers and expects of his own. He does not want the bond of ―slaves‖ (8:33),
      because ―a slave does not know what his master is doing‖ (15:15). The slave does not have entry
      into his master‘s house, let alone his life. Jesus wants his disciple to be bound to him as ―friend‖
      and ―brother.‖ The ―friend‖ enters his life making it his own. The friend hears Jesus, knows the
      Father, and makes his life (Jesus Christ) flow into his own existence (cf. 15:14), marking the
      relationship with everyone (cf. 15:12). The ―brother‖ of Jesus (20:17) shares in the life of the
      Risen One, Son of the heavenly Father, and hence Jesus and his disciple share the same life that
      comes from Father, albeit Jesus by nature (cf. 10:30) and the disciple by participation (cf.
      10:10). The immediate consequence of this type of bond is the condition of brothers and sisters
      acquired by members of his community.

100. Shared divine life and love of communion, by virtue of the mutual relationship with Jesus,
     become the distinctive notes of the “friend” and “brother” disciple. Of them Jesus asks
     intimate and faithful union with him, absolute loyalty, obedience to his Word, and abundant
     fruit of love.

101. This disciple is “the missionary,” for Jesus makes him a sharer in his mission while
     establishing a tie with him as friend and brother. Hence, as he is witness of the mystery of the
     Father, those who are connected to him are likewise witnesses of his mystery and of the will of
     the Father.* The disciple unites himself to Jesus to promote the Kingdom of life, ultimate
     meaning of the mission of Jesus. Participating in it is not an optional task, but an integral part of
     Christian identity, for it is the witnessing extension of the calling itself.

          [Original text has incomplete sentences; corrected to make sense.]
                              1.2.3 Different presences of Jesus Christ alive

102. The same Jesus who walked around Galilee and surrendered his life on the cross with infinite
     love is the Risen One who becomes present in our lives and in our peoples. Personal
     relationship with him is source of new life, ―a joy that nothing and no one will be able to take
     from you‖ (Jn 16:22). In intimate contact with Jesus, we express our deepest concerns and we
     find the true meaning of our existence. If we grow in this friendship, we can reach the point of
     telling him in gratitude: ―from your delightful stream you give us drink. For with you is the
     fountain of life‖ (Ps 36:9-10).

103. Within his Church we discover various presences of the risen Lord. We recognize him in all
     the brothers and sisters who support and exhort us on the way, especially when they meet in his
     name. He is in his Word that illuminates us and guides us on our journey. He is in the faith of
     our peoples, with their varied religious expressions. He is present in the sacraments, where we
     receive the power of his Spirit of life. He becomes present in the forgiveness of sins through the
     sacrament of Reconciliation, which brings back into the covenant those who have fallen. And he
     is there when we celebrate him together in the Eucharist, where we recognize his fullest and
     most life-giving presence: ―the one who feeds on me will have life because of me‖ (Jn 6:57).
     Hence, participation in Sunday Mass is a ―characteristic mark of the Christian and a demand for
     nourishing one‘s own faith and for giving strength to Christian witness. Without Mass on
     Sunday and the other feast days, the very heart of Christian life would be missing. Participation
     in Sunday mass is always fundamental for living Christian existence, and this is especially true in
     view of the great challenges of today‖ (PCAL, January 2005).

104. We also find him in a special way in the poor and the afflicted (cf. Mt 25:37-40), who call
     out for our commitment and give us witness of faith, patience in suffering, and constant struggle
     to keep on living. How often the poor and those who suffer really evangelize us! In recognition
     of this presence and closeness, and in the defense of the rights of the excluded what is at stake
     is the fidelity of the Church to Jesus Christ (cf. NMI 49). For it is out of the contemplation of his
     face suffering in the poor (cf. NMI 25) and from the encounter with Him in the afflicted and the
     outcast, whose immense dignity He himself reveals to us, that our options for them emerge. It is
     adherence to Jesus Christ that makes us friends of the poor and in solidarity with their fate.

105. Jesus is the Lord of history. He becomes present in it, and challenges us through culture, art, and
     the varied manifestations of human genius when they are traces of goodness, truth, and beauty,
     and open the spirit to transcendence, to Him who is Truth, Life and Goodness. He is in all the
     events of the life of our peoples, where he invites us to seek a more just and more fraternal
     world. He is in every human reality, whose limits sometimes pain and overwhelm us.

106. His most tangible as well as most frequent presence is, by his grace, in disciples who seek to
     make the existence of Jesus their own (cf. Mk 8:34). Life hidden in his (cf. Col 3:3), which
     experiences the power of his resurrection (cf. Phl 3:10) to the point of being deeply identified
     with Him ―I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me‖ (Ga 2:20). Christ is in the communion of
     martyrs and saints.

107. If he is there, then there will be no moment of abandonment or meaninglessness in our lives. He
     himself promised it so that we would not doubt: “I am with you always, until the end of the
     age" (Mt 28:20). Each day Jesus opens his arms to assuage us in our anguish and weariness (cf.
     Mt 11:28) and offers us the Spirit, water of life for the thirsty (cf. Jn 7:37). He is the new life
     that we want to communicate in our missionary endeavor, placing in his hands the limits of our
     own frailty. But the offer of Jesus always calls for the response of our freedom, which frequently
     forgets him and sometimes rejects him (cf. Jn 5:40) or does not persevere along the way (cf. Heb


               2.1   In relationship with God

108. Jesus Christ is Way, Truth and life: Fullness of divinizing and humanizing life: ―I came so
     that they might have life and have it more abundantly‖ (Jn 10, 10); Way that leads to acceptance
     of the cross and resurrection; Truth about God as well as about the human being and society,
     that teaches us to live with detachment from our ambitions, contemplating God and embracing
     his plan of Love, thus surrendering our life so that others may live in Him..

109. He heals and perfects our desires to live better. His friendship does not demand of us that we
     give up our yearnings for joy and vital intensity, but that we be willing for them to be purified
     and elevated. For God, who is truly good Father loves our true happiness also on this earth. The
     Bible says that he created everything ―for our enjoyment‖ (1 Tim 6, 17). This conviction
     enlightens our understanding of Christian existence. It shows that life in Christ includes the joy
     of being loved by God and by his children, the satisfaction of serving and giving to those who
     need us, and also the satisfaction of sharing, the contentment of working, enjoying recreation,
     and learning, the enthusiasm for advancing and for undertaking community projects with other
     people, the joy of a sexuality that is gift of true love, and contact with nature and with all the
     things that he himself gives us as signs of his sincere love.

110. Faith enables us to recognize this loving gaze which does not mutilate our existence, but
     channels it, gives it a meaning, a direction and a path to the fulfillment of what is human. Hence
     we can also find Jesus in the midst of the joys of our limited existence. Thus it is experienced by
     many poor and suffering brothers and sisters in our peoples, who are familiar with joy and shared
     celebration, because they believe in the life which is offered ever new.

111. This worthy and happy life, in order that it may truly respond to the Gospel and to the real needs
     of our peoples, and gather together the proposals and teachings that Jesus Christ addresses to us,
     including that of embracing the cross with love for the Father and for human beings, in order to

     go to resurrection. Because, by revealing us to the Father, he shows us what we ourselves are,
     what an authentic human life is like, and what his plan for our lives is (cf. GS 22).*

     Let us then see what are these aspects of the worthy life that Jesus proposes to us, faced with the
     major trends that we find at this historic moment of our peoples.

                         2.1.1   In the face of a meaningless life, Jesus opens to us the life of the Trinity

112. If we want to reach the bottom of what Jesus Christ alive means for us, we have to recognize
     that He reveals to us the inner life of God, the deepest mystery of our faith: that God is Father,
     Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus invites us permanently to enter into this communion of overflowing
     love in order to share in the Trinitarian life.

113. The restless heart of each human being seeks the face of God (cf. Sal 27:8; 42:3). But in this
     world no one has seen it. Only Jesus sees the Father and fully manifests his face (cf. Jn 1: 18).
     Moreover his open and resurrected heart is for us the source of the source of the Holy Spirit (cf.
     Jn 7:37-39; 16:14). By the action of the Spirit we are renewed in the image of Jesus and
     incorporated into the inner life of the Trinity. We believe in the Trinity as Jesus has revealed it.
     This faith that we profess in the Creed is the faith of our people, who begin so many activities
     with the sign of the cross; the same sign that parents make on the forehead of their children in
     the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

114. If God is this mystery of communion of Persons and we have been created in its image, then our
     participation in the life of the Trinity personalizes and dignifies us. At the same time, this
     mystery of three Persons in perfect communion is the most solid foundation of relationships
     among us which do not allow for exclusion or marginalization. The love that the Holy Spirit
     pours into our hearts is what enables us to enter into this Trinitarian communion. This love is
     ultimately ―the only light that continually illuminates a dark world and that gives us strength to
     live and act‖ (DCE 39).

                         2.1.2   In the face of the idolatry of earthy goods, Jesus presents life in God as
                                 supreme value

115. To find the true source of life and personal identity we have to give the God position that is his
     alone, and not place anything in this world in His place. The Word of God constantly condemns
     idolatry. Perhaps few today adore images of pagan gods, although indeed this tendency is
     increasing, but often we live in such a way that property, sex, and power become absolute
     indispensable realities, where we place our hopes for life and happiness. Many no longer have
     the source of their happiness in the Lord. Hence, they live unsatisfied and obsessed in the face of
     the novelties offered by the market or toward outmoded and sometimes truly criminal ideologies.

116. The Lord invites us to value things, and also warns us about the obsession with accumulating,
     which ultimately causes injustice: ―Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth‖ (Mt 6:19).
     The healthy and legitimate desire to get ahead and have the goods necessary to live in dignity
     must be accompanied by a sincere discernment, so as not to spoil the meaning of our existence:
     ―What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?‖ (Mt 16:26). We

         [confusing syntax, incomplete sentences]
     want to insist that there is only one God, who transcends everything in this world, and that our
     life has only one Lord: Jesus Christ. If he reigns as Lord, then there is life and hope, but if we
     adore other gods, we are building our existence on sand and preparing disaster and death.

               2.2   In relationship with others

                     2.2.1 In the face of individualism, Jesus calls to living and journeying

117. The full life that Jesus Christ offers has an absolutely necessary dimension of communion.
     Individualism and isolation are not part of an authentic spiritual experience. In this sense the
     Word of God is utterly decisive: ―We know that we have passed from death to life because we
     love our brothers. Whoever does not love remains in death‖ (1 Jn 3:14). Thus we discover a law
     that is set within reality: life deepens and develops only in fraternal communion, and all forms
     of exclusion and marginalization are a social sin that breaks communion, for ―God in Christ
     redeems not only individual person, but also social relations between human beings‖ (CDSI 52).

118. The difficulties of this moment in history completely surpass isolated subjects. This requires that
     we recognize the crises existing in church, social, and family bonds, in order to try to heal them
     and strengthen them based on family life, the cradle of every bond of love and fidelity, and
     ultimately on the love of Christ and from the life of the Trinity, source of every personal relation.
     Hence we disciples not only seek to increase communion among ourselves, but throughout
     society and with all. As instruments of Christ, we feel called to permeate environments with
     attitudes of cordial dialogue, share life, and social friendship. Our peoples need it in order not to
     fall into new fratricidal lacerations, and to find convergences that that will enable us together to
     undertake journeys of progress and hope.

                     2.2.2   In the face of exclusion, Jesus defends the rights of the weak and a
                             worthy life for every human being

119. We who receive life from the Lord are called to defend it prophetically and constantly.
     Disciples of him who was poor among the poor and weak like many in his oppressed people we
     cannot cease being in the midst of the world of the strong, defenders of life at risk and artisans of
     a culture of life. ―Contemplating the one whom they pierced will lead us to open our heart,
     recognizing the wounds inflicted on the dignity of the human being; it will lead us in particular
     to struggle against every form of contempt for life and exploitation of the person, and to relieve
     the dramas of loneliness and abandonment‖ (Benedict XVI, Message for Lent 2007). We have
     seen that human life is threatened in different ways, particularly the life of the weakest.
     Society sets them apart and excludes them, causing various forms of depersonalization. Jesus
     identified particularly with the smallest and most afflicted: with the hungry, the thirsty, migrants,
     the naked, the sick, and the imprisoned (cf. Mt 25:35f). To this list we may add the disabled, the
     old, women who live in a situation of abandonment, the indigenous, and Afrodescendants.
     Whatever we do for one of these brothers and sisters, we will have done it for the Lord. Hence,
     out of personal encounter with Him, we his disciples defend and accompany weak and
     abandoned life.

120. Today we feel the pressing need that the Catholic faith of our Latin American peoples be
     manifested in a more worthy life for all. Looking at the multitude of poor and unemployed
     people who are excluded from so many social benefits, we cannot conceive of an offer of life in
     Christ without a drive toward full liberation, humanization, and insertion into society, in
     which the poor are recognized as subjects of their own destiny. For Christians in Latin America
     human rights are the rights of all persons, without exception, but especially the rights of the most
     defenseless who are kept from exercising them. If we were all responsible for our rights, those
     rights would be guaranteed. The challenge is to bring it about that our crucified brothers and
     sisters may give witness that Christ has promoted them comprehensively. For them we are a
     mediation on which he himself has willed to depend. Hence, he constantly insists to us: ―Give
     them some food yourselves‖ (Mt 14:16).

121. The Lord alone is the author and master of life, and human beings, his living image, are ever
     sacred, from their conception to their natural death. Today we stand before new challenges in
     the field of bioethics asking that we be voice of those who have no voice, where we cannot
     exclude either unborn children or our elderly at the end of their days. The life that is growing in
     the maternal womb and that is in its decline is a claim for worthy life that cries out to heaven and
     that must ever make us tremble. There is no human life as defenseless as that of the unborn child.
     Liberalization and banalization of abortion practices are abominable crimes.

               2.3   In relationship with the world

                     2.3.1   In the face of structures of death, Jesus makes present his Kingdom of

122. To defend life it is necessary but not sufficient to deal with the particular and immediate
     situations of some persons in need. It has become absolutely necessary to cooperate in
     various ways to eradicate the structural causes of the evils that afflict our peoples. For in the
     midst of the world there have grown and are developing true structures of sin that that damage
     the social fabric, impede development, and debilitate life and human commonality.

123. Just as we are urged by the love of Jesus Christ, we are also impelled by his Father’s plan,
     that is, the Kingdom. This Kingdom is already fully realized in the risen Jesus, where all justice
     dwells, which seeks to permeate all, improving relations between human beings and between
     peoples, and freeing all social structures from the traces of selfishness, indifference, and
     arrogance. This Kingdom will only be perfect at the end of the time, in the new world, which
     will limpidly reflect the love and the glory of the Trinity. But it is springing forth and growing
     each day within the limits of this world. The power of the Kingdom generates the life that that
     can gradually destroy these structures of death that debilitate our peoples. Only thus may it be
     clearly be manifested that those who share in the divine life promote and enhance human dignity
     and social relations.

124. Hence, anyone who wishes to foster a worthy life in all must be integrated into social networks
     to prevent the development of the structures of sin and death, so that the human person may have
     priority over the realization of the possibilities offered by science, technology, and economics.
     The various forms of free, organized, and public participation – which is not necessarily of
     the state– need the commitment and active involvement of Christians. They are always
     provisional realities, but the growth of the Kingdom also needs these mediations that allow for
     the integral development of our peoples.

                     2.3.2   In the face of nature in jeopardy, Jesus calls to caring for the earth

125. The God of life entrusted his creative work to the human being ―to cultivate and care for it‖ (Gn
     2:15). Jesus knew well the Father‘s concern for the creatures that He feeds (cf. Lk 12:24) and
     beautifies (cf. 12:28). When he walked over the roads of his land he not only paused to
     contemplate the beauty of nature, but invited his disciples to recognize the message hidden in
     things (cf. Lk 12:24-27; Jn 4:35). The Father’s creatures give him glory “with their mere
     existence” (CCE 2416), and hence the human being must make use of them with care and
     sensitivity (cf. CCE 2418).

126. In Latin America awareness is growing of nature as a free inheritance that we receive to protect,
     as precious space of shared human life. This inheritance is often weak and defenseless before
     economic and technological powers. Hence, as prophets of life, we want to insist that in human
     interventions in natural resources, the interests of economic groups that irrationally ravage
     the sources of life, to the detriment of whole nations and humanity itself, must not prevail. The
     generations that come after us are entitled to receive an inhabitable world, not a planet with
     polluted air, poisoned waters, and exhausted natural resources.

               2.4   In relation to oneself

                     2.4.1   In the face of depersonalization, Jesus helps build integrated identities

127. When we see many lives disoriented, we appreciate our relationship with Jesus Christ who helps
     us to recognize who we are and why we are here. Having an integrated personality entails
     perceiving one’s own vocation, one’s own freedom, and one’s own originality. It especially
     requires experiencing personal stability in the midst of the changes in the world, and feeling that
     one‘s own life is something positive and worthwhile, even with the limits of one‘s own history.
     But people often strive to build an identity with superficial elements that do not reach their deep
     reality and their ultimate foundation.

128. A clear identity is attained only when we understand ourselves out of God. The call of the Father
     to existence, the plan that He has for our life, and the mystery of the Son of God made man,
     endows each human being with an ―infinite dignity‖ (John Paul II, November 16, 1980). Each
     one is the object of the Father‘s eternal love (cf. Jer 31: 3), unconditional love aimed at all
     directly and in a most personal way. That is why sincere and frequent contact with the Lord
     enables the disciples to shape their true personal identity. Without his light and grace, we
     become a dark enigma to ourselves.

129. This identity includes a series of convictions and options that we make freely in the light of the
     Gospel and maintain throughout life, although many reject them and have contempt for them.
     But certainly it takes the form of a special mission on this earth at the service of others. In one
     and the same call, the Lord gives us an identity and a mission. Hence, the better we are
     identified with this personal mission, the more solid, clear, and joyful will our identity be.

                     2.4.2   In the face of hedonistic subjectivism, Jesus proposes surrendering life
                             to gain it

130. The Lord who offers us fulfillment also invites us to surrender life. Today the mechanisms of
     the consumer society tend to turn us into beings concerned only with our own needs and desires.
     In this hedonistic drive, even we Christians run the risk of caring excessively for spaces of
     privacy and pleasure, and of rejecting any ethical orientation. The Gospel helps us to discover
     that this morbid and alienating concern for one‘s own life undermines the human and Christian
     quality of that very life, and that we live much better when we have inner freedom and a
     willingness to give all: ―Whoever loves his life, loses it‖ (Jn 12:25). Here we discover another
     deep law of reality: that life is attained and matures insofar as it is surrendered to give life to

131. Contemporary subjectivism likewise has the effect that each individual seeks to be the center
     and ultimate criterion of everything, thereby losing realism and perspective. Jesus Christ is the
     Truth that makes us free. He does not promise life in the darkness, but with a meaning and a
     direction (cf. Jn 18:37) that opens us to dialogue with all to be servants of that Truth in our Latin
     American reality. But in order to accept this true life one must surrender oneself as offering to
     God, willing to ―be transformed by the renewal of your mind‖ (Rom 12:1-2), likewise rowing
     against the current. Thus, we may attain what we are really called to be: salt of the earth and light
     of the world (cf. Mt 15:13f).

132. On the other hand, thankful for the gift of life, we do not place our hope only in this limited
     existence. While others seek to enclose their view on the short perspective of this earthly life, we
     believe in a life that never ends and that becomes full only after death. Dying we rise to a
     boundless life. This means that at the end, as well as every day, we will have to surrender
     everything. Thus we will be filled with the plenitude of God in the banquet of the final
     Kingdom: ―If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are the most pitiable people of all.‖
     (1 Cor 15:19).


133. Jesus Christ has willed to reach us through the Church, mystery of the human being‘s union with
     God, of missionary communion and sacrament of his life-giving presence. It is his Bride, holy
     through the love and grace of God who gives it life, and needing redemption, like every
     human reality journeying toward the homeland. With Christ we Christians love it as mother
     and home, where life is received and grows. In the legitimate plurality of callings, charisms,
     ministries, perspectives, and options existing within it, there takes place a constant dynamism of
     giving and receiving which enriches us all. The Church does not exhaust the Kingdom of God
     which is manifested and acts beyond the visible limits of the church institution, but on earth it
     constitutes the seed and the beginning of that Kingdom (cf. LG 5b) that it is to serve. Out of the
     project of the Kingdom it can denounce the signs of death present in the world and foster the
     sprouts of life that the Spirit stirs up everywhere.

              3.1   The church poised to hear the Word

                    3.1.1   Jesus Christ, living Word of God

134. God, who is love and life, goes out to meet his children “to converse with them,” reveal his
     mystery to them and invite them to live in communion with Him (DV 21). He had already
     spoken to Israel ―through the prophets,‖ and now he speaks to us in the new covenant, through
     his only-begotten Son, whom he has constituted heir of all things (cf. Heb 1:1). The originality
     of the New Testament does not consist so much in new ideas, as in the event of redemption: in
     the incarnation of the word of God, repository of all the words that his Father has entrusted to
     him to deliver to us (DCE 12), and in his Passover.

135. Following Jesus Christ, who proclaimed that remaining in his Word is necessary for remaining
     in his love (cf. Jn 15:7-10), today there are many disciples of the Lord who approach the
     sacred scriptures to slake their thirst “of the living God” (Ps 42:3). They know that in a
     world of so many words, the revealed Word written down in the Sacred Scriptures, is divine
     proposal for today that re-orients life and re-signifies it from the perspective of eternal life.

136. The Father‘s Word of Life is his Son Jesus Christ, full revelation of the mystery of God and
     actual event of his saving plan. Everyone who through faith or with his or her life opens to
     Jesus Christ, Word of God, sees and knows the Father and participates in his Kingdom.
     The Word of the Father renews damaged human nature and is effective Word who makes God‘s
     life present in his own. Now as formerly, some accept this Word and give fruit, and others reject

                    3.1.2   The church, disciple and messenger of the Word

137. The community of the disciples receives the assignment of announcing the Word of the
     Father. They announce what this Word ―did and taught‖ (Ac 1:1) while he ―was with us‖
     (1:21). His Person and his work are the Good News of salvation announced by the ministers and
     witnesses of the Word that the Spirit arouses and inspires. The Word accepted, fruitful by the
     Spirit, inasmuch as it shares in the same prerogatives of the words and actions of Jesus of
     Nazareth, is salvific, living and effective, revelatory of the mystery of God and his will, and
     especially in the sacraments, realizes what it signifies. Hence, listening to the Word is source of
     discipleship and missionary ardor. By contrast, ―being ignorant of the scriptures is being
     ignorant of Christ‖ (Saint Jerome).

138. But what truth could the Church announce and how could it make the Word an event of
     salvation, if it did not listen to it itself? If it wishes to provide the service of being authorized
     teacher who interprets and faithfully guides the deposit of saving truth (cf. DV 10), can it
     abandon careful listening to its Lord? Jesus the master invites the Church “to sit at his feet”
     to listen to him and make the Father’s project of life its own at each point in history.

139. If the Church wants to make disciples by proclaiming the Word (cf. Ac 6:; 12:24), it must first
     make itself disciple of the Word, letting itself be questioned and evangelized. Thus listening
     to its Lord, will it become servant of his words and actions in the commitment to evangelize
     our peoples. Fulfillment of the mission depends on the capacity of all members of the Church to
     read, meditate on, and celebrate the Word, making it a joyful event of life and liberation. The
     mission, sanctity, and prayer of the Church can only be conceived ―on the basis of a renewed
     hearing of the Word of God‖ (NMI 39).

140. Because the Church lives its calling vis-à-vis the Word, it must listen to its Lord in order to be
     –today in history- community of disciples, transformed by the power of the Word, and
     because it lives its mission toward to the world, it must proclaim it always and in all settings.
     Sacred Scripture will accordingly be the soul of evangelization. Like the Mother of Jesus, the
     Church is called to make the Word written by ―inspiration of the Holy Spirit‖ (DV 11) its ―own
     house,‖ which it enters and leaves very naturally (DCE 41), thus nourishing its identity,
     communion, and service.

               3.2   The church at the service of the Kingdom

                     3.2.1   The church, people of God, makes present the mission of Jesus Christ

141. Through his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus Christ showed us God as a Father who wants life
     for his children. His perfect obedience to the Father is achieved in an existence at the service
     of human beings (cf. Mk 10:45), giving us life through his words and actions. Those who
     contemplate and continue this existence of Jesus make up the community of his disciples, the
     Church. This community prolongs in history Jesus Christ’s mission to make present the
     Kingdom of God in humankind. Here is the meaning and ultimate purpose of the church. That
     is why it is so important that it allow to shine through in the life of its members the love of the
     Father, the salvation of Jesus Christ, and the reality of a fraternal people, centered on the
     commandment of love for God and neighbor. Only the love that comes from the Holy Spirit (cf.
     Rom 5:5) promotes life in society. In this sense, we hold that the Church is sign and first fruits of
     the Kingdom of life and mercy.

142. Thus, the community of the disciples continues the mission of Jesus Christ throughout history,
     bringing life in fullness to successive generations, in their new, ever changing situations. It
     proclaims that the society for which all yearn, founded on peace and justice, will only be a reality
     to the extent that men and women, as children in obedience to the Father and brothers and sisters
     among themselves, make their lives an authentic gift to others. Christ, our Way, shows how
     giving life to others necessarily entails surrendering one‘s own. By giving himself up, He taught
     that ―No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends‖ (Jn 15:13). The
     evils currently afflicting our society come from devaluing self-surrender as expression of Love,
     because selfishness and sin produce not life, but unhappiness. Thus we discover the extreme
     importance of the Church‘s responsibility for the world.

                     3.2.2   The church is constantly renewed in dialogue with the world

143. The church, community of disciples, displays at once a spiritual and a visible aspect (cf. LG 8),
     like the person of Jesus. On the basis of God‘s gracious and loving initiative in Jesus Christ, it is
     the People of God, human community, that accepts His initiative in faith. It cannot ignore the
     historic context in which its members life. The life of the Church takes place in very specific
     sociocultural contexts. This applies to the acceptance of the Word in faith, to the motions of the
     Spirit, to following Jesus, to the formation of the community, to ordained ministry, and to the
     other ministries.

144. History teaches us that human society was always subject to successive changes. These social
     and cultural transformations naturally represent new challenges to the Church in its mission of
     building the Kingdom. Hence, the need for continual renewal in Church itself, which entails
     spiritual, pastoral and also institutional reforms. Such renewals take place so that it may
     safeguard its mission of letting the life of the Kingdom willed by God shine through itself and in
     society. The new spiritualities, forms of pastoral action, and institutional expressions that have
     emerged over the centuries, show that the Church was ever alert to the changes emerging in
     society, seeking new responses with fidelity to the Lord of history.

145. Recognizing its own limits, the Church can listen to the claims of the world in which it is
     inserted, in order to be a more eloquent sign of the Kingdom of full life that challenges it and
     transcends it. Hence, just as life is energy, change, and growth, the Church is also called to
     constant renewal, especially in this change of era. Recognizing that it is effective presence of
     the Kingdom, although it does not exhaust it, and accepting this necessity for constant reform, it
     is called also to be today an eloquent sign of life and holiness for our peoples. As history
     shows, its continual dialogue with society does not rule out a critical stance toward the cultural,
     social, and political reality of society.

               3.3   The church, people of God in communion and participation

                     3.3.1   Communion of men and women disciples

146. Communion between all the members of the Church is rooted in the communion of each one
     with the Blessed Trinity. Indeed in receiving in faith the Father‘s Envoy, Christians accept the
     action of the Holy Spirit that leads them to confess Jesus as Son of God. The communion of all
     the baptized with the Trinity, dwelling in the heart of the faithful, makes us all children of
     same Father and brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ. Thus we are in communion with one
     another, because we are guided by the same faith, animated by the same hope, and impelled by
     the same charity (cf. Eph 4:1-6). We are ―of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart,
     thinking one thing‖ (Phl 2:2), and we share in the same divine life. The Eucharist, as
     participation of all in the same bread of life and in the same chalice of salvation is the most
     perfect expression of this communion (cf. 1 Cor 10:17).

147. Communion is continually achieved in different manners. It is lived in the small groups
     united around the person of Jesus Christ (cf. Mt 18:20), small communities where the faith is
     celebrated and life and the responsibility for evangelizing is shared. It takes place in the parish
     community as community of communities and movements, and likewise in the particular
     churches and among all of them in the universal Church. The communion of all the churches is
     sustained in the same fundamental communion with the Trinity. In this manner, each member
     of the Church, regardless of countries, cultures, ethnic groups, or languages, is closely
     connected to the rest. That is the source among Christians of an unheard of unity, a dynamism of
     reconciliation and responsibility for helping one another, giving even out of one‘s poverty,
     sharing joys and sufferings, material and spiritual goods, as happened in the early Church. That
     is also the source of the union of feelings and practical effect that ought to exist between
     particular churches, working with one another in proclaiming the Kingdom of life, and achieving
     solidarity between them in order to carry out the mission to the ends of the earth.

                     3.3.2   Participation in an organic community

148. In his earthly life, the Son of God chose twelve apostles to be with Him and proclaim the coming
     of the Kingdom (cf. Mk 3:13-19; Mt 10:1-42). Thus he set up the college of the apostles, with
     Peter as head (cf. Mt 16:18), and sent them to all peoples to proclaim the Gospel. Participation in
     the one Baptism grants all members of the Church the same Christian dignity, expressed in the
     common priesthood of the faithful. But we know that the apostles called co-workers to
     consolidate the work that they had begun. They are the successors of the apostles who constitute
     the episcopal college in union with the successor of Peter (cf. LG 20), which had presbyters and
     deacons as its immediate cooperators (cf. LG 28s).

149. The hierarchical structure of the Church, willed by its founder Jesus Christ, is at the service
     of communion and mission and strengthens it. Because it is like a body, having many members
     with various gifts and charisms (cf. 1 Cor 12:4-11; Rom 12:4), each member of the body needs
     the other (cf. 1 Cor 12:14-21). Thus, the diversity of ministries in the community intensifies the
     communion that unites all and solidarity with one another (cf. LG 32). Because it is the Church‘s
     mission to promote the Kingdom of life, all its members are committed to that mission: all are
     called to be active members, all receive special graces for that. The shepherds who serve the
     body as instruments of communion in the name of its Head the Lord, who are part of the same
     body, are owed fidelity and obedience. Without ceasing to examine charisms (cf. 1 Thes 5:19),
     the shepherds are called to provide their service to communion, respecting and fostering all the
     gifts of the Spirit in the Church, and inviting them to participate fully in its life and mission.

                    3.3.3   Unity in diversity

150. The unity of the same faith does not rule out diversity within Christian communities and
     between some communities and others, as the New Testament shows. Church history, especially
     in the first millennium, also attests to a great diversity of forms in the configuration of the
     particular churches, in keeping with the regions and the cultures where they were located,
     which did not undermine unity, because it did not prevent them from confessing the same creed,
     recognizing the authority of the same apostles, celebrating the same Eucharist, and respecting
     basic norms the discipline of the nascent Church. This fact of history is easily explained, because
     the people who accept the Christian faith are specific persons who differ from one another,
     endowed with their own characteristics, set within peculiar existential and social contexts, and
     heirs of quite specific traditions. Thus, as they live and express their faith, they do so with
     accents and modalities proper to their social and cultural milieu, without any break of
     communion being thereby entailed. Thus the catholicity of the Church not only means its
     presence in the most diverse regions of the world, but also great wealth due to the contributions
     of these very regions (cf. LG 13c).

151. Diversity enriches the Church and does not threaten it. This assumes that such diversity, like
     unity, springs from the action of the Holy Spirit who sanctifies, renews, and unites the
     communities in ecclesial communion (cf. LG 13). Fidelity to the Spirit requires accepting
     diversity and guiding it toward communion. Obedience to the Bishop of Rome seeks to assure
     that the particularities of each Church are integrated and promote unity in the universal Church.
     In their dioceses, bishops must promote the unity of the local Church, respecting legitimate
     diversities. The admirable and also constitutive presence of diversity within the Church, requires
     a new attitude from everyone. Accustomed to a certain uniformity deriving from a certain
     enlightened modern culture, today we must learn to accept diversity, not as a threat to our way of
     understanding and living the faith, but as a fraternal enrichment that purifies and universalizes
     faith itself.

152. This exercise of openness and dialogue among ourselves, is extended in the relationship with
     brothers and sisters of other Churches and Christian communities. Through common
     prayer, mutual aid, and various forms of joint action, we offer to the Holy Spirit our humble
     cooperation so that one day we may enjoy a reconciled diversity in full communion around the
     one Lord. At the same time, we gratefully recognize the ties that relate us to the Jewish
     people, from whom we receive faith in the one God and his revealed Word in the first Covenant.
     We are pained by sorrowful history of missed encounters and enmity it has suffered in our
     countries as well. There are many common causes that today demand greater collaboration and
     mutual appreciation.

               3.4   The church, space of celebration

                     3.4.1   Celebration of life

153. The peoples of these lands continually draw nourishment from the festival that celebrates
     life. Their sense of celebration places them on the horizon of hope which prepares for facing the
     joys and sorrows of existence. Eating and drinking, singing, dancing, and laughing are vital
     currents that are expressed in the continent‘s fields, villages, and cities. Many are the occasions
     when people celebrate and get together, share and toast, thus renewing the bonds of fraternity
     and celebrating rebirth at the source of life. Festival and celebration are components without
     which the daily experience of Latin Americans cannot be understood.

154. The sacraments of the faith that we celebrate are connected to this meaning of festival.
     Each of the sacraments, especially Baptism and Eucharist, are privileged places where the
     community celebrates the divine life, surging in abundance from the paschal mystery of Jesus.
     The people of God is capable of recognizing in the sacraments festive celebrations by which the
     God of the life goes forth to meet human beings to liberate them from so many forms of death,
     and give them new life.

155. The believing people already manifest the festive dimension of their life in many expressions
     of their popular religiosity, in their feasts and pilgrimages, in their patron saint celebrations and
     especially in the shrines to which they go in a festive spirit as places of fraternal encounter and
     contemplation, gratitude and trust, of search for God and joyful experience with Him in whom
     ―we live and move and have our being,‖ (Ac 17:28).

                     3.4.2   The Eucharist, core of Christian life

156. The entire life of Jesus was perfect obedience to the Father, which led him to surrender his life
     for the salvation of humankind. This surrender already expressed sacramentally at the Last
     Supper, had its fulfillment in the passion, death, and resurrection of the Son of God made man.
     The disciples of Christ are those who seek to take on the paschal existence of the Master as
     model of their own life. In this fashion, in the Eucharist Christians celebrate the paschal
     mystery and their own commitment in the following of Christ. Thus, the Eucharist expresses
     and realizes the core of Christian faith, source of all discipleship and mission.

157. The church, ever disciple, needs to sit at the Master‘s table to receive the bread of life that
     strengthens it, and be united to the committed existence of its Lord. We desire that the faithful
     people, which expresses its faith in so many ways, find the center of its Christian life in the
     Sunday celebration of the Eucharist, that there it may express its joys and its yearnings, and
     celebrate the important moments of the family and the community. The Church recognizes that it
     is a great challenge to make the faith of all the baptized reach its culmination in this Table of
     covenant and fraternity, which increases the holiness of the disciples. Shared especially on the
     Lord‘s day, it is the paschal feast of the Christian community and the source of its evangelizing
     service. In the celebration of this sacrament, the Church nourishes communion between its
     members: ―Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one body, for we all partake
     of the one loaf‖ (1 Cor 10:17).

               3.5   The church, missionary community

                     3.5.1   The missionary church

158. God‘s saving design takes place in history with the cooperation of human beings, as shown by
     outstanding Old Testament figures and the people of Israel itself. Jesus Christ is presented as the
     Envoy of the Father to achieve his project of life (cf. Lk 4:7-21), which mission he entrusted to
     his apostles (cf. Jn 20:21). Thus the entire Church is missionary and responsible for
     evangelization (cf. AG 35). The whole community is a primary agent of mission, in the
     diversity of the charisms and ministries, and all Christians are missionaries, by virtue of their
     baptism and even more so with their confirmation.

159. The work of catechists has been very important throughout the history of our Churches. A
     number of those Churches arose through the work of lay men and women. The Church owes
     them a great deal. But the proper and specific field of lay evangelizing activity is the
     complex world of work, culture, the sciences and arts, politics, the media and the economy, as
     well as the realms of the family, education, and professional life, especially in those contexts
     where the Church becomes present only through them (cf. LG 31, 33; GS 43; AA 2). All
     evangelization action, no matter how humble, is an ecclesial action (cf. in 60).

160. The Holy Spirit who acted in the person of Jesus Christ is also sent to all, without exception, as
     members of the community. The action of the Spirit is not limited to the individual realm, but
     always opens people to the missionary task, as happened at Pentecost and we are told in the
     Acts of the Apostles.

                     3.5.2   Mary, mother, disciple, and missionary

161. By her faith (cf. Lk 1:45) and obedience to God‘s will (cf. 1:38), and by her constant meditation
     on the Word and actions of Jesus (cf. 2:19, 51), Mary is the most perfect disciple of the Lord (cf.
     LG 53). She had a unique role in salvation history, conceiving, educating, and accompanying her
     Son to his ultimate sacrifice. In the figure of the Mother at the cross (cf. Jn 19:25-26) is
     symbolized God‘s heartfelt mercy, which beats in her maternal heart facing the pain of the Son
     and all sons and daughter. From the cross Jesus Christ entrusted to his disciples, represented
     by John, the gift of Mary’s motherhood. She, as Mother of so many brothers and sisters,
     strengthens the kinship bonds between all, encourages reconciliation and forgiveness, and helps
     the disciples of Jesus Christ to experience themselves as a family, the family of God.

162. Persevering alongside the apostles awaiting the Spirit (cf. Ac 1:4), she cooperated with the birth
     of the missionary Church. Likewise, just as she was at the beginning of the evangelization that
     laid the foundation, especially at Tepeyac, today as well she is pilgrim and missionary in our
     Latin American peoples, encouraging us to make Jesus present in all settings.


163. In the light of Jesus and his proposal, which enlightens the reality of our peoples, the
     contributions received propose eight general criteria for the missionary path of the Church in
     Latin America.

               4.1   Christological criteria

     Proclamation of the Gospel as offering of life

164. In all areas of evangelizing activity, the proposal of Jesus Christ to individual persons and to
     our peoples must be made manifest as the offer of a full life for all, which is perceived as
     trustworthy through the witness of life of innumerable Christians who embody love for the
     Father and for human beings, the wisdom and power of Jesus himself. The teaching, norms,
     ethical orientations, and everything that the Church proposes in its various actions must not
     conceal or overshadow this attractive offer of a worthy and full life in communion with God and
     with brothers and sisters.

     The preferential option for the poor

165. Friendship with Jesus Christ and the path of discipleship impel us to conform our options and
     attitudes to those the of the Lord, who out of poverty enriched us and showed us the fundamental
     paths to liberation from sin and from its consequences in personal and social life. This drives us
     to reaffirm and update in all our evangelizing projects, our preference for those who suffer, for
     the outcast and the weakest. The evangelization of the poor is the great messianic sign that we
     are called to live as Church (cf. Lk 7:22). We are instruments of Christ, responsible for bringing
     about the comprehensive liberation proposed by the Gospel.

     We are always disciples

166. We must all live and evangelize so as to make palpable and transparent, in our attitudes and
     words, that we never cease being disciples of Jesus Christ, that each day we rediscover and
     follow him as our Master and Shepherd, that we need Him, and that we can always grow in
     following him. Discipleship starts from personal encounter with Jesus, which renews our
     existence and enables us to discover in the life of the Blessed Trinity the ultimate meaning of all
     that we are and do. This requires ongoing renewal of this contemplative and liberating
     experience in the midst of the challenges of social life and evangelization.

              4.2   Ecclesial criteria

     Missionary discipleship is communitarian

167. Life and mission are always communitarian and ecclesial. Missionary discipleship is lived in a
     concrete community of disciples for the life of the world, fostering diversity in communion and
     building communitarian networks to counteract the power of the ―powerful‖ (cf. Lk 2:52) and
     the structures of death.

     Discipleship requires ecclesial discernment

168. We disciples are called to recognize the diverse forms of presence of Jesus Christ and the project
     of the Kingdom, in the varied challenges confronting the Church and the world. Hence we must
     live in a constant process of discernment, to enlighten one another out of the Word of truth and
     life. In the believing community, accompanied and guided by its Shepherds, the new social
     contexts and the new pastoral strategies must be discerned so as to be able to announce
     vigorously the perennial Gospel and collaborate in building a more human society (cf. Paul VI,
     Octogesima Adveniens n. 4).

     The church ever in renewal

169. As servant of life, which is dynamism and transformation, because the Kingdom always
     transcends it., and because continually changing reality questions it, the Church must again and
     again rethink how it presents the Gospel, its methods, its language and everything circumstantial
     in its own structures. All the changes that it may possibly be necessary to implement are not a
     mere functional adjustment. They must spring from a necessary and sincere personal and
     ecclesial conversion.

              4.3   Missionary criteria

     Mission invites all

170. We are all, without exception, evangelizing agents, and therefore, we are all called to give our
     life for the Kingdom, participating in the Church‘s missionary activity, whether by taking our
     place with Christian identity in the various spaces and institutions of social life as God‘s
     collaborators, or working in the evangelizing initiatives of church communities. Missionary
     discipleship is only understood as a daily road and living fruitful presence in society to serve
     with Jesus Christ and communicate the life that we receive from the Lord.

     Evangelization touches all reality

171. Jesus Christ, who is the Truth, enables us to recognize the deepest truth of the human being,
     history, and all reality. There is no area in the life of persons and of peoples that cannot be
     reached by the light of reason and faith. Hence, evangelization furnishes any human situation
     with salvific meaning and an orientation toward its natural development.
                                              CHAPTER III


172. The Church has received from its Lord the mission of going through the world offering men and
     women the gift of being disciples (cf. Mt 28:19). It is the Church‘s calling to announce the risen
     Lord, bringing about and fostering personal encounter with Him. In order for it to fulfill its
     vocation, the Lord pours forth in it the gift of the Spirit – and with him peace, the missionary
     commission, and the power to forgive sins- which animates it and impels it to carry out the
     mission of manifesting and building up a holy people, seed of a fraternal and reconciled

173. Since then, the Church journeys throughout the whole world ―to make disciples of all‖ when the
     Spirit makes fruitful the proclamation of the Good News of the Kingdom of life and holiness (cf.
     Mk 16:15). He clothes the human being of the ―New Man‖ (Jesus Christ), so that he or she may
     lead ―a truly upright and holy life‖ (Eph 4:23-24). Today as yesterday, he works so that the Church
     by its holiness may become ―living Gospel,‖ proclaiming that the work of the Risen One is path
     of life, truth, and freedom (cf. Rom 8:21).


               1.1   The Spirit of God in the Father’s Plan

174. After the Lord‘s ascension to heaven and fulfilling his word, the disciples returned to Jerusalem. In
     prayer with Mary, the mother of Jesus, and with a single spirit, they awaited Father‘s Promise, the
     baptism that they would receive in the Holy Spirit (cf. Ac 1:4s). Indeed, the incredible takes place:
     they receive the gift of the Spirit under the form of tongues of fire, preceded by a violent wind that
     invaded the house, and ―they were all filled with the holy Spirit” (Ac 2:1-4).

175. The do not receive any Spirit, but the Spirit already prefigured in the old covenant: the ―spirit
     of God,‖ hovering above the chaotic waters of the time of creation (Gn 1:2); the ―holy spirit‖ that
     God poured into Moses (Is 63:11-14) and into the prophets (cf. Mic 3:8); that entered into men and
     women moving them to act (cf. 1 Sm 16:13); that that covered dry bones with life (cf. Ez 37:1-10);
     the ―new spirit‖ promised to Israel so that it can know God and do his will (11:19). They receive
     the ―spirit‖ promised to the Anointed One to make present the reign of God (cf. Is 11:1-9). The
     Christian Pentecost is the giving of the ―promised Spirit‖ (Ga 3:14) that –according to the scripture
     – would characterize the messianic times (cf. Jl 3:1-5).

176. In the new covenant, the Spirit is no longer revealed as attribute of God, but as divine Person of
     the same nature as the Father and the Son (cf. Mt 28:19). It is ―power from on high‖ (Lk 24:49)
     which at the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, comes down upon the one sent
     by the Father (cf. Mk 1:9-11). Jesus, anointed by the Spirit of the Father, is the only-begotten Son
     made ―messiah‖ or ―Christ‖ to make the Kingdom present today (cf. Lk 19:9), and to announce to
     the poor and outcast the torrent of living water that springs from the throne of God and of the
     Lamb (cf. Rev 22:1), source of the life of the Kingdom, of life alternative to the values and the life
     of the world (cf. Mt 5:2-12). The Spirit of God will never abandon the Messiah (cf. Lk 4:14),

     endorsing with portents the mandate from the Father (cf. 6:17-19). In baptism and in the life of
     Jesus, the work of salvation is revealed as a Trinitarian work.

               1.2   The church of the Spirit

177. The ascension of Jesus to heaven and his exaltation alongside his Father mark the end of the
     ministry of the Messiah on earth (cf. Ac 3:21) and the beginning of his universal ministry as
     ―Lord‖ and ―Savior‖ (5:31). After Pentecost, the local Churches immediately experience fruitful
     interventions of the Spirit, divine vitality expressed in diverse gifts and charisms (cf. 1 Cor 12:1-
     11) and varied offices that build up the Church and serve for evangelization (cf. 12:28-29).
     Through these gifts of the Spirit, the community extends the saving ministry of the Lord until He
     is again manifested at the end of time (cf. 1:6-7). The Spirit in the Church forges firm and
     courageous missionaries like Peter (cf. Ac 6:5) and Paul (cf. 13:9), indicates the places that must
     be evangelized, and chooses those who must do so (cf. 13:2).

178. The Church, as marked and sealed ―with the Holy Spirit and fire‖ (Mt 3:11), continues the work of
     the Messiah, opening to the believer the gates of salvation (cf. 1 Cor 6:11). Paul says it as follows:
     ―You are letter of Christ, written by our ministry not in ink but by the Spirit of the living God‖ (2
     Cor 3:3). One and the same Spirit guides and strengthens the Church in the proclamation of the
     Word, the celebration of the faith, and the service of charity until the Body of Christ attains the
     stature of its Head (cf. Eph 4:15-16). Thus, through the effective presence of his Spirit, God
     assures his proposal of life for men and women of all the times and places until the parousia.
     Therefore, the Lord today keeps pouring out his life by the labor of the Church which, with ―the
     power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven‖ (1 Pe 1:12), continues the mission that Jesus Christ
     received from his Father (cf. Jn 20:21).

               1.3   The Holy Spirit, new life of the disciples

179. The earliest evangelizers were privileged witnesses of the life that the Spirit aroused in everyone
     who believed in the risen Lord (cf. Rom 5:5). In themselves and in the others they perceived how
     the Spirit ―of Christ‖ (8:9) or ―of the living de God‖ (2 Cor 3:3) really ―gives life‖ (3:6). Today
     this experience is also that of so many Christians and church communities.

180. New life in the Spirit is knowledge of the Father and sharing of the goods that he gives through
     his Son (cf. 1 Cor 2:10-12). It is also the unmerited gift whereby we become, through the merits of
     the Messiah, adoptive children of the Father (cf. Rom 8:14-15). Thanks to this Spirit, we can
     indeed cry: ―Abba,‖ that is, ―Father‖ (8:15). New life means ―the first fruits of the Spirit,‖ which
     explains the deep yearning to some day reach the full life of children, journeying ―according to the
     Spirit,‖ receiving its fruits (Ga 5:22-26), being liberated from our selfish appetites and disordered
     inclinations (cf. 19-21). New life is living reconciled and in peace, because the Spirit makes us
     ―dwelling of God‖ who through the cross of his Son reconciled us (cf. Eph 2:14-22). Thus
     consecrated to God by the Spirit, we have a ―dwelling ... in heaven‖ (2 Cor 5:1), where we will
     forever share in his life as Father, thanks to the surrender of his Son (cf. Rom 6:22-23).

181. Thanks to life in the Spirit, all the Lord’s disciples are “household of God, built upon the
     foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone.‖ (Eph 2:19-20).
     God expects of his household the tribute of a sincere worship which is that ―worship born of the
     Spirit of God‖ (Phl 3:3). One who through the Spirit is identified with Jesus Christ, ―First-born of
     all creation‖ (Col 1:15), becomes ―new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new
     things have come‖ (2 Cor 5:17). This is the new life of the disciple of the Lord who, impelled by
     the Spirit, must testify to the entire world.


               2.1   Missionary disciples

182. During his ministry, Jesus trains his own so that they can proclaim the Kingdom of life and
     transform it into an ever contemporary event. His manner of living the mission of being the
     Father‘s Envoy is Way for those who follow him. Thus he associates them with the charge that
     he has received (cf. Jn 20:1). By living together with Jesus, the disciples are initiated into life in
     communion, and learn how to be ―apostle‖ or ―envoy‖ to bring it about that others may also be
     in their concrete circumstances, disciples of Jesus. Training for mission is not a training different
     from that of being disciple. ―Disciple‖ and ―missionary‖ are two mutually interrelated terms.

183. Through metaphors, Jesus indicates to his own what is entailed in mission. He will make
     them ―fishers of men,‖ to take human beings out of the dominion of sin and make them sharers
     of the Kingdom; ―shepherds of God‘s flock,‖ to guide people and offer them God‘s wisdom, life
     and food; and ―laborers of the harvest,‖ to pick the fruits of the Kingdom that God causes to
     grow. The images accentuate mission as saving actions that bring about the paschal mystery. The
     mission will not be easy, for ―like lambs among wolves‖ (Lk 10:3) they will encounter many
     difficulties, even death. But neither the Risen One nor his Spirit will abandon them.

184. After the ascension of Jesus and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the apostles and
     disciples – driven by the Spirit and favored by providential historic circumstances – took the
     Gospel through the then known world. They evangelized, proclaiming the Word, setting up
     communities, and celebrating the faith in them, particularly in the Eucharist. Their proclamation
     is nourished by the Scripture. The communities are open and missionary, headed by an apostle or
     disciple. In them, the celebration of Baptism and the Eucharist become very central. Soon they
     understand that even though there is only one Gospel of the Father, Jesus Christ, they cannot
     evangelize Jews and gentiles using the same emphases and methods. Nevertheless, to both they
     announce the centrality of the Lord Jesus and the Kingdom. The communities must give witness
     to Him in the societies where they live and act, to transform them into leaven in the dough.

185. Evangelization in the first few centuries, according to the witness of the Fathers of the Church,
     teaches us that pastoral and missionary action must propose, and be evaluated by, its ability to
     lead to encounter with Jesus; by the willingness and generous response that it gives to the
     motions of the Spirit and to the new routes that open for evangelizing, and by accompanying the
     full process of discipleship in the Church for the service of the world.

               2.2   The great models of missionary discipleship

186. The Church has had the blessing of having numerous witnesses in Latin America and the
     Caribbean: the Virgin Mary, the apostles, men and women saints, and especially the saints and
     martyrs who sowed the Gospel in the continent. It also recalls countless disciples and
     missionaries, men and women of simple faith, lay and vowed, adults, youth, and children, whose
     witness is carefully preserved in each particular church. All of them foster encourage with joy, as
     members of the people of God, the beauty of being Christians, they foster the liberating
     encounter with Jesus Christ, they infectiously spread apostolic ardor in the evangelizing mission,
     they are instructive in being in solidarity with the history of the peoples themselves. Especially in
     the patron saints celebration, the Christian community invokes their protection and proposes
     them as models for the following of the Lord and of gospel commitment in building a more just
     and fraternal society. Like them, we Christians today wish to experience the joy of belonging to
     Jesus Christ, within living and holy fraternal communities, committed to the human and spiritual
     development of each person and of all Latin American society.

                     2.2.1   Mary journeys with our Peoples

187. In the life of the Church, the figure of the Virgin Mary stands out, venerated as Mother of Jesus
     and Mother of the Church. Since the beginning of evangelization, countless communities have
     found in her the closest inspiration for learning how to be disciples and missionaries of
     Jesus. We are pleased to see that she has become part of the journey of each of our peoples,
     entering deeply into the fabric of their history and taking on the most noble and significant
     features of the people there. The different titles given her and the shrines spread up and down the
     continent attest to the close presence of Mary to the people, and at the same time, they manifest
     the faith and trust that the devout feel for her. She belongs to them and they feel that she is their
     mother and sister. The history of most of the Marian shrines in the continent, from Guadalupe to
     Aparecida, attest to the special affection of Mary for the lowly and insignificant ones of this
     world. The Marian devotion present in the continent, with its multitude of cultural expressions,
     tells us that the Gospel has been inculturated in the Indian, Creole, black, and mestizo facial
     features with which the Virgin is presented, revealing thereby the compassionate and maternal
     face of God toward his people.

188. John Paul II called her “Mother and Evangelizer of America” (EiA, 11) and called for her to
     be beseeched for ―the strength to courageously proclaim the Word in the task of the new
     evangelization, to bolster hope in the world‖ (EiA, 76). Today also with the Virgin‘s example
     and aid, Latin American Christian communities continue the mission of leading to encounter
     with Christ and hence, they invoke her as Star of evangelization.

     To the eyes and heart of believers she appears as:

     a) Woman of faith

189. She receives the Father‘s plan and makes it her own. With her ―yes‖ she invites to opening the
     heart to trust in God and to confident abandonment to his providential leading. In her we have
     learned to discover the maternal face of God, rich in pity and mercy, and to trust in his fatherly
     love. Mother of Jesus, she shows us the ―blessed fruit of her womb,‖ ―Way, Truth and Life,‖ of
     which we want to be disciples, and, filled with the Holy Spirit, she teaches us to transform the
     various moments of unfolding human events into salvation history.

     b) Woman of service and solidarity

190. With her eyes placed on her children in their needs, as at Cana of Galilee, Mary helps keep alive
     the attitudes of care, service, self-surrender, and gratuity that should distinguish her Son‘s
     disciples. She also indicates what is the pedagogy whereby the poor in each Christian
     community, ―may feel at home‖ (NMI 50).

     c) Woman of hope

191. Alongside the cross of Jesus where she again gave birth to us as children, she continues to
     accompany the pain of our suffering peoples, inviting her Son‘s disciples to travel more
     consistently and more boldly the route of becoming neighbors, to build more justice and
     solidarity, and to unleash a new ―imagination of charity.‖

     d) Mother and former of communities of missionary disciples

192. She creates communion and educates to a style of shared life in fraternity, in care for and
     welcome of the other, especially if poor or in need. Her strong presence in our communities has
     enriched and will keep enriching the material dimension of the Church and its welcoming stance,
     which makes it ―house and school of communion‖ (NMI 43), and spiritual space that prepares for

                     2.2.2   The apostles and the saints

193. The apostles of Jesus have left their imprint on marked the spirituality and the style of life
     of our Churches. Their witness remains in effect and their teachings inspire the being and action
     of the continent‘s Christian communities. Among them, the apostle to whom Jesus entrusted the
     mission of confirming the faith of his brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) helps the churches to tighten the
     bond of communion with the Pope, successor of Peter, and to seek in Jesus the words of eternal
     life (cf. Jn 6:68). Paul, tireless evangelizer, has indicated to them the road of missionary boldness
     and the will to approach each cultural reality with the Good News of salvation. John, the disciple
     loved by the Lord, has revealed to them the transforming power of the new commandment and
     the fruitfulness of remaining in his Love.

194. Our communities carry the seal of the apostles and in addition recognize the Christian witness
     of so many men and women who spread the seeds of the Gospel over our geography,
     courageously living their faith, even spilling their blood. Their example of life and holiness
     constitutes a precious gift for the believing journey of Latin Americans and at the same time, a
     stimulus to emulate their virtues in the new cultural expressions of history. With the passion of
     their love for Jesus Christ, they have been active members and missionaries in their ecclesial
     community; with courage they have persevered in promoting the rights of persons, they were
     acute in critical discernment of reality in the light of the church‘s Social Teaching, and credible
     by the coherent witness of their lives. We Christians of today receive their legacy and we feel
     called to continue the evangelical style of life that they have passed on to us, conscious that
     ―Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to
     teachers, it is because they are witnesses‖ (EN 41).

                     2.2.3   All witnesses at the outset of the third millennium

195. In Latin America we find ourselves with the great challenge of being ready “to give a reason
     for our hope” (1 Pe 3:15). In the gift of being disciples and missionaries, we are strengthened by
     the Word of Jesus: ―But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you
     will be my witnesses . . . to the ends of the earth‖ (Ac 1:8). The history of our particular
     churches attests to the extraordinary fruitfulness of the Spirit in so many difficult situations. In
     the stormy sea of our own time, He also grants us the grace of discovering the saving presence of
     the Risen One and the boldness to proclaim: ―It is the Lord!‖ (Jn 21:7).

196. Called together by Him, in the community of the disciples and missionaries of Jesus, we feel the
     urgency of the Kingdom and the passion of being witnesses and apostles with our own life.
     Hence, it is imperative that each member of the Church be renewed in the grace of Baptism and
     Confirmation that prepares for mission, so that each one may confess that Jesus Christ is the
     Good News of his or her life. Thus, with the power of the Word and the aid of the sacraments,
     and with the boldness of liberating mission, the Christian community fulfills the mission of being
     ―witness of the love of the Father who, in his Son wants to make humankind one family‖ (DCE

197. The Church of Latin America must promote a “true vocational culture” so that all baptized
     persons may discern the gift of their own vocation and make of it the Christian project of their
     own existence, in love for God and service of their brothers and sisters.

               2.3   The disciple’s spirituality of action

198. The Holy Spirit who animates us is the same one who drove Jesus (cf. Rom 8:9-17). Without
     Him, evangelization is impossible. Hence, out of our fear, weariness, and weakness, we implore
     him: ―Come, Father of the poor, come to give us your gifts,‖ ―give us the ardor to announce
     Jesus at the outset of this century.‖

199. When we speak of ―spirituality,‖ we think of the impulse of the Spirit, in his power of life which
     mobilizes and transfigures all the dimensions of existence and does not remain alone in the
     private spaces of devotion. The action of the disciple needs this impulse and this ardor which
     comes from the Spirit, and which we discover in the notes that characterize it.

                     2.3.1   The experience of the love of God awakens missionary ardor

200. In the sadness of loneliness, disillusionment, or suffering, we Christians do not forget that ―God
     is love‖ (1 Jn 4:8). ―He has loved us first and he continues to do so; (....) But this encounter also
     engages our will and our intellect. (...) The love-story between God and man consists in the very
     fact that this communion of will increases in a communion of thought and sentiment‖ (Benedict
     XVI, Deus Caritas est, 17). We have the certainty of being loved and living each day sustained
     and guided by the Father‘s hand. This inner experience and conviction overwhelms us and
     keeps us firm in the midst of a world overflowing with mistrust, instability, and insecurity.
     Although we know we are poor and weak, we are strengthened by the love of God who always
     takes the initiative (cf. 4:10). We have believed in this love (cf. 4:16).

201. The Spirit brings us to an experience of Jesus Christ that enables us to recognize the love of the
     Father near at hand. All evangelization is grateful response, the attempt to give thanks for this
     infinite love that gives life. The experience of the love of God in Jesus Christ, when it is
     authentic and deep, is our treasure and makes us passionate witnesses, convinced that that
     experience is what all need to find the true meaning of their lives.

202. It is out of that serene and joyful conviction that we are missionaries. We have received a good
     that we do not and cannot want to keep to ourselves. When we are courageous and ardent
     witnesses, we experience that evangelizing fills us with happiness and is the joy of the Church,
     which is evangelizing by its nature. Because we are trustees of a treasure that humanizes and
     brings new life, we feel the ardent missionary power of the Church.

                     2.3.2   Docile to the newness of the Spirit

203. Often we have not communicated rightly the Gospel message, because we were attached to
     modes of expression, structures, and methods proper to the old man, or to another era. Rigidity
     and attachment to one‘s own schemes are contrary to the dynamism of the Spirit and to trust in
     Him. We know that it is not only a matter of implementing a better pastoral strategy but rather of
     a spiritual attitude of docility to the action of the Spirit.

204. When we read the Bible, we see how Jesus (cf. Lk 4:1) and the early Christians (cf. Ac 8:39-40)
     let themselves be led by the Spirit. This docility is manifested in a constant willingness to accept
     the changes indicated by Holy Spirit through careful discernment. This will give us the
     sapiential and prophetic gaze that recognizes what God wants for the present time. This
     requires sincere prayer, dialogue, faith-filled reading of the signs of the times, and great inner
     freedom. But it especially demands being convinced that the Spirit knows better than anyone the
     project of the Kingdom for our peoples.

                     2.3.3   Trust and boldness

205. Jesus Christ has triumphed over sin and death. Saint Mark tells us that the first disciples went out
     to preach everywhere, and that the Lord collaborated with them and confirmed the Word (cf. Mk
     16:20). Hence, we continue to seek a more just history, and we encourage one another without
     losing heart. The risen and glorious Christ is the living wellspring of our hope. We believe
     that his help will not be lacking for fulfilling the mission that he entrusts to us. An authentic spirit
     of hope entails generous effort. It is not lamentation, but strength that refuses to be defeated; it
     is not pessimism, but faithful confidence. Faith in God‘s providence is not passivity but
     disinterested commitment to God‘s ways. This same hope helps us to discern and recognize the
     never-failing seeds of the Kingdom in the midst of darkness, and to joyfully discover the
     presence of the Risen One who never disappears.

206. This means recognizing the primacy of the action of grace in the pastoral life, because we
     sow, water, cultivate, and harvest, ―but it is God who causes the growth‖ (1 Cor 3:7). Hence,
     striving for renewed listening to the Word of God in prayer, we are nourished by it in order
     to be its servants. When we pause to meditate on the Word, we rekindle our awareness that in it
     lies what every human being needs to hear, as in the sacraments, God‘s friendship and grace
     which that we need for living. There is no other message or other means better for enlightening
     and giving life to our peoples. This conviction encourages us to be more committed.

207. Out of this trust, if we indeed listen with one ear to the people and with the other to the Gospel,
     there springs a spirit of boldness and strength. We need not cease speaking the truth about
     God, the human being, and the Church, even though that truth does not fit the criteria of many
     mass media and environments in which we move. We cannot allow dehumanizing messages to
     end up permeating the culture of our peoples. Hence we always present Jesus Christ fearlessly
     and without shame, and we seek to be the voice of the voiceless, beyond the interests of sectors
     wielding power in the state or the market.

                    2.3.4   Spirituality of communion

208. Before surrendering to his passion, Jesus ardently prayed to his Father that we might all be
     one so that the world would believe (cf. Jn 17:21). Adhesion to Jesus Christ brings us into the
     very communion of the Triune God and opens to us the grace of communion with our brothers
     and sisters. Relationship with Jesus questions us and calls us to establish bonds, loving one
     another as he has loved us (cf. Jn 15:12). Hence, even before programming concrete pastoral
     actions, a spirituality of communion must be promoted (cf. NMI 43).

209. Out of an authentic conversion toward each brother and sister, we Christians choose to live in
     fraternity when we pray, discuss, and plan. Likewise, when we work together we share
     fraternally and celebrate together. This spirituality enables us to esteem one another and
     appreciate the wealth of our brothers and sisters as images of God. And when we fall into the
     temptation of harming ourselves, we ready ourselves to once more opt for reconciliation. We
     believe in Jesus when he tells us: ―Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there
     am I in the midst of them‖ (Mt 18:20).

210. In a world where individualism tends to prevail and merciless competition is gaining
     strength, sometimes infecting us, we disciples of Jesus Christ feel ourselves called by God to
     opt for an alternative way of living: to journey alongside men and women of good will, to seek
     convergences, to support one another mutually, and to overcome missed encounters in order to
     live as brothers and sisters. Only in this manner can we be witnesses of Jesus Christ and signs of
     the Kingdom of life and which can foster in our peoples a more fraternal and solidarity-oriented
     style of society.

                     2.3.5   Vocation, mission, and holiness

211. The Holy Spirit arouses in each believer a yearning for holiness and a strong desire for personal
     renewal which is expressed in life, work, and everyday mission. Holiness develops and matures
     when we strive to have God‘s life make fruitful the activities and concerns of each day, and
     when we work together so that all dimensions of life are shaped by the Gospel of grace (cf. Eph

212. If the impulse of the Spirit imbues and motivates all areas of life, then it must also penetrate
     and shape one’s own vocation. Thus there develops the specific spirituality of priests, of men
     and women religious, consecrated lay people, parents, business people, catechists, etc. Each of
     the vocations has a specific way of living the spirituality that gives identity and depth to the
     concrete exercise of their tasks. Thus, life in the Spirit converts us into generous and joyful,
     original and creative people, committed to the demands of reality and capable of taking
     initiatives and finding a deep meaning in everything that we are to do for the Church and for the

               2.4   The style of the disciple’s action

213. When the activity of disciples is imbued with the life and impulse of the Spirit, this new
     dynamism also translates into a way of treating others, into a way of looking at them, listening to
     them, speaking to them, serving them, and accompanying them. The Spirit makes Jesus‘ way of
     acting present in us. Thus, the spirituality of action brings about a series of brotherly and
     sisterly attitudes that comprise an evangelizing style.

                     2.4.1   Closeness and solidarity in social life

214. In his public life, we see Jesus close to everyone. He ate and drank with sinners (cf. Mk 2:16), he
     stopped to talk with people (cf. Jn 3-4; Mk 10:17-22) and he was concerned over the blind man
     on the road (cf. Mk 10:49-52). When he talked with someone, he did not endure it with
     reluctance, but gazed with a deep loving care: ―Jesus looked at him with affection‖ (Mk 10:21).
     The style of Jesus invites his disciples, without being of the world to live in it, committed to
     it. Except for those who have received a special vocation to live alone with God and hence
     communion with brothers and sisters in prayer and the offering of their life, we are all to live
     actively integrated into society, sharing life with all, hearing their concerns, collaborating
     materially and spiritually with them in their needs, rejoicing with those who are happy, weeping
     with those who weep, and being committed to building society.

215. The task of evangelization is marked by a sincere love, not only in feelings but is really
     effective, for those who need us. Sometimes it is expressed as silent compassionate company,
     sometimes it is an encouraging word, a consoling embrace, forgiving patience, service that
     brings relief, or willingness to share whatever one has. In this world where we often feel
     unprotected and forgotten, it is imperative that we hear the call of the Spirit to care and sustain
     one another so that no one feels excluded or outcast.

                    2.4.2   Deep respect for different personal and group processes

216. The disciple of Jesus Christ knows that the road to holiness cannot be imposed on anyone,
     although it must be presented to him or her as an attractive ideal, as a journey of maturation in
     faith, always possible with the aid of grace. In proposing this ideal, we want to be alert to the
     particular situations and processes of persons and communities.

217. Nor can we ignore the fragility of people who require a long slow road of liberation and growth.
     Although moral principles must always be proposed clearly, spiritual growth and the
     development of conscience are gradual processes. God‘s grace works with our freedom, which
     is week and full of conditioning factors, but without violating it. Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit
     wants to make us grow in the freedom of the Sons of God. Hence we cannot relinquish the
     duty of forming conscience, with understanding and patience, so that human hearts accept
     and live what the Gospel proposes.

                    2.4.3   Organic ministry as expression of full participation

218. The Church of Jesus Christ is incarnated in each particular Church, where all the elements
     needed for sanctification and mission are found. Within this portion of the Family of God we
     are called to perform tasks in a harmonious and integrated manner in the pastoral project of
     the diocese, not apart from everyone else. This project, which comes out of a journey of varied
     participation, makes collaborative ministry possible.

219. ―Pastoral communion‖ requires an attitude of openness and willingness to participate. Thus it is
     evident that openness to others can enrich and transfigure the exercise of mission itself,
     receiving the gifts of the other and contributing to the good of Church and society the service of
     one‘s own charisms. It also entails constant ascesis, to accept that community times do not fit
     one‘s own projects and personal calculations.

                    2.4.4   Willingness for humble heartfelt service

220. Jesus wanted to share the simple life of his people so much so that they considered him just
     one of the people. Hence they said: ―Is he not the carpenter?‖ (Mk 6:3). He taught us to exercise
     one‘s own mission in humility and service (cf. Mt 20:25-26), so that we would do the same. This
     demands that we give up flaunting titles, dignities, or power (cf. Phl 2:6 f) and positions of
     privilege. In the light of faith, we must deeply appreciate each human being, so as to discover
     that all deserve to receive our humble and heartfelt attention.

221. We want to recognize that each person is worthy of our commitment. Not for their appearance,
     their capacities, or the satisfactions that they provide us, but because he or she is God‘s precious
     work, his creature and child of his forgiveness and grace. He created them in his image, and
     hence they reflect something of his glory. Every human being is object of the Lord‘s infinite
     tenderness, and He himself dwells in his or her life. Jesus Christ gave his blood on the cross for
     all. Hence these persons are immensely sacred and deserve everything. Only out of this
     conviction will we be able to surrender ourselves for them.

                     2.4.5   Creativity and constant renewal

222. Loving others with sincerity and looking on them as Jesus looks on them also means placing
     people first, subordinating our plans, tastes, and customs to the service of others. This entails the
     ability to renew plans, and being willing to change methods, tasks, or expressions, when people‘s
     real situation shows us that they no longer work for evangelizing. Love for brother or sister
     demands constant searching and generous creativity from those who place all their gifts at the
     service of others and accept exercising these charisms, always in a new manner.

223. This attitude is manifested particularly through forms of language that are diverse, change, and
     are constantly modified in contact with others. It is not merely a strategy, but a style, a way of
     going out to meet others, putting ourselves in their place and adopting the expressions that make
     it clear that we are really part of their lives. This is particularly valid for overcoming barriers of
     generation and culture.

                     2.4.6   Permanent option for the poorest

224. In our time, we tend to defend excessively spaces of privacy and enjoyment, and we easily let
     ourselves be infected by individualistic consumerism. Hence our option for the poor runs the
     risk of remaining on a theoretical or merely emotional level, without really affecting our
     behaviors and our decisions. This generic option must be turned into a permanent attitude
     that is reflected in concrete options and gestures (cf. DCE 28. 31). That means first devoting
     time to the poor, giving them friendly attention, listening to them with interest, accompanying
     them in the most difficult moments, choosing them for sharing hours, weeks, and years of our
     life, and seeking, from them, the transformation of their situation. Jesus proposed it with how he
     acted and with his words: ―When you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the
     blind‖ (Lk 14:13).

225. Only the closeness that makes us friends enables to deeply appreciate the values of today‘s poor,
     their legitimate yearnings, and their own way of living the faith. In the light of the Gospel, we
     recognize their immense dignity and their sacred value in the eyes of Christ, poor like them, and
     outcast among them. Out of this believing experience, we will share with them the defense of
     their rights, because our common Father does not want them to live in dire poverty. Thus our
     words on behalf of the poor, as well as the decisions we make to overcome prejudices, change
     customs, and modify regulations that discriminate against them, will be marked by a sincere,
     vigorous, and generous evangelical attitude proper to the disciples of the Kingdom.

               2.5   Diversity of identities in communion and participation

226. The contributions to the Document of Participation of the Bishops Conferences very insistently
     emphasize that the life of the disciples of Jesus Christ is a gift that shows its unity through the
     diversity and multiplicity of peoples, languages, races, and customs. Our particular Churches
     must be seen increasingly as a single vocation made up of many vocations; a single body, in
     the variety of its members (cf. 1 Cor 12:12 ff). Everyone baptized is indeed the bearer of an
     original vocation, which must be developed in unity and complementarity with that of others, so
     as to form the one Body of Christ, surrendered for the life of the world. Practical recognition of
     the organic unity and the diversity of functions will assure greater missionary vitality and a more
     incisive proclamation of the Gospel.

                     2.5.1   Diversity of charisms, ministries, and services

227. With Vatican II, there has grown the awareness that the members of the Church are to go out to
     the whole world to announce the Gospel. To that end, it has been endowed by the Spirit with
     varied charisms and ministries. “The entire church is missionary, the work of evangelization is
     a fundamental duty of the people of God‖ (cf. LG 2. 23). Following the council‘s inspiration, the
     pastoral guidelines of the general conferences of Puebla and Santo Domingo have highlighted
     the significance and pastoral fruitfulness of communion and participation. Today we can
     appreciate that the praxis and spirituality of communion has grown in our communities, and has
     been translated into greater recognition and acceptance of the personal gifts of each baptized
     person, thereby optimizing fraternal life and missionary shared responsibility, especially of lay

228. Especially prominent are groups and communities of catechists, ministers of the Word, servants
     of the sick and animators of many other services, especially in the field of solidarity (social
     ministry, Caritas, fraternal aid, etc.).

229. Nevertheless, in practice, considerable tensions arise between charisms and ministries. They
     must be related to one another fruitfully, renewing the challenge of persevering along the
     journey undertaken, traveling it with greater boldness, and with concrete experiences of ecclesial
     participation. A Church in which the spiritual and institutional dimensions are interconnected
     cannot neglect the most well known and most silent charisms that the Spirit grants in abundance
     to the faithful. There must be greater openness to mutual discovery and appreciation, to
     collaboration and recognition of charisms, ministries and services that He continually arouses.
     Such a stance will make it possible to overcome the temptation to pastoral individualism,
     clericalism, and the self-importance, and self-sufficiency of persons and groups. The church of
     the continent must strengthen and seek new pastoral routes in order to make real the participation
     of all its faithful, out of the diverse vocational responsibilities and talents received. Bishops,
     priests, permanent deacons, men and women religious, and lay people: a single living community
     traveling the same road of discipleship behind the Master, that matures proclaiming him in
     shared responsibility as ―Way, Truth and Life‖ for personal and social existence.

                    2.5.2   Lay movements, associations, and groups

230. The third General Conference, held in Puebla, has defined laypeople as “human beings of the
     Church in the midst of the world, and human beings of the world living within the Church”
     (DP 786). Through them, the cries of our peoples are cries of the Christian community, enabling
     it to make its own the joys and the hopes, the sadness and anguish of the men and women of our
     time, and that nothing truly human is not echoed in the heart of the Church (cf. GS 1). As full
     members of the people of God, personally and in association, lay believers receive gifts and
     charisms of the Holy Spirit, for the building up of the entire body in charity (cf. AA 3).

231. The lay faithful carry out their proper and specific mission within the world, and that mission
     urges them to transform the world according to Christ. Their collaboration with the various
     pastoral activities within the people of God is valuable, but it must not diminish the performance
     of the array of their responsibilities in the midst of the world. Today more than ever they need
     spaces of formation, interchange, and accompaniment so that they never feel alone when they
     carry out their lay mission with personal responsibility, giving witness to Christ and to the
     values of the Kingdom within social, economic, political and cultural life. The lay faithful
     must regain awareness of the Christian and secular character of their identity and mission.
     Whether the Gospel of Christ renews the public life of Latin American nations depends on them.

232. The contributions of the bishops conferences speak a great deal of the need for greater
     participation of lay men and women in the planning of pastoral actions, particularly in
     decision-making circles, not only in their execution (cf. ChL 51). If the Church in Latin
     America today wants to place itself in state of mission, and if in that mission it wants to reach
     everyone specifically where they are, the missionaries can no longer be solely ordained ministers
     and vowed men and women, but must be primarily lay faithful. They will be able to be
     impassioned for mission and give life if they are truly an active and creative part of pastoral
     projects which belong to all.

233. This demands putting into practice a change of mindset, already sought in the Santo Domingo
     Conference (cf. SD 96), which is still very insufficiently assimilated and implemented.

234. Accordingly, the strengthening of varied associations, lay apostolic movements, and paths of
     Christian formation, particularly of evangelizing groups, is a hopeful sign. It serves to help
     many of the baptized and many missionary groups to assume their Christian identity with greater
     responsibility, and collaborate more actively in the mission of evangelization. In recent decades,
     their presence and mission has developed with strong leadership. Hence proper discernment,
     encouragement, coordination, and pastoral guidance, especially by the successors of the apostles,
     will help order this gift to the building up of the one Church (cf. Speech of Pope Benedict XVI to
     the Movements, Eve of Pentecost, 2006).

                    2.5.3   Basic Christian communities

235. In the ecclesial experience of Latin America and the Caribbean, the basic Christian communities
     have often been true schools that form disciples and missionaries of the Lord. Firmly united
     to the life of the Church, nourished by its teaching and in union with its pastors, they are places
     of Christian experience and evangelization that seek nourishment in the Word of God, prayer,
     and fraternal sharing, while they increase the awareness and unifying missionary praxis of their

236. Nevertheless, we observe that today in our church context, especially in the cities, the CEBs are
     undergoing a time of difficulty and stagnation. This situation must be suitably examined to
     detect the causes and find new expressions to renew this rich experience of the Latin American

237. Pastoral leadership and paths of formation must care for and develop the positive experience
     of these communities, and devote special attention so that they may strengthen the center of
     their life in the Eucharist, grow in solidarity with those who share their work and life with them,
     feel firmly united to their parish communities, to the entire people of God, and to their
     Shepherds. Thus it will be easy for them to joyfully live all the dimensions of their faith, and
     avoid any impoverishment of it.

                    2.5.4   Communities of consecrated life

238. On the path of missionary discipleship, consecrated life has an irreplaceable value and
     mission. It is a path of special following of Christ, to devote oneself to Him with an undivided
     heart and to place oneself like Him, at the service of God and humankind, assuming the form of
     life that Christ chose to come to this world: a virgin, poor, and obedient life (VC 14, 16 and 18).

239. For the other members of the people of God, it is called to be sign of the future goods
     promised by God, and for the men and women of our time, prophecy of a reconciled humankind,
     called to build shared communion and life on the basis of distinct origins and gifts.

240. In Latin America, as everywhere, the consecrated life has not only ―a glorious history to recall
     and tell; it has a great history to build‖ (VC 110). Its life ―is a gift of God the Father to His
     church through the Spirit‖ (VC 1), placed ―as decisive element for its mission…. and precious
     and necessary gift for the present and the future of the people of God, because it is intimately
     bound up with its life, its holiness, and its mission‖ (VC 3).

241. In our days, communities of consecrated life, along with the whole Church, have been deeply
     affected by the various changes in society and culture. Sometimes they speak of disenchantment,
     crisis, and disorientation. At the same time, the decline in the number of their members causes
     some forms of consecrated life to wonder about their future. Nevertheless, signs of vitality can
     also be perceived indicating the way by which the Spirit is leading: wealth of founding charisms
     placed at the service of the Kingdom in the Church; option to live poorly, committing one‘s best
     for the good of the most afflicted, poor, and despairing, renewed passion for Christ and for
     humankind (mystique and prophecy), and centrality of the Gospel and the Eucharist as criterion
     and central reference point for a courageous renewal of persons and structures.

242. The church of Latin America expects much of the consecrated life, especially the witness and
     contribution from women religious, contemplatives and those in the apostolic life, for alongside
     other male religious, members of secular institutes, and communities of apostolic life, they
     display the maternal face of the Church and its yearning for listening, acceptance, poverty,
     and service.

                    2.5.5   Priesthood and Permanent Deaconate

243. The renewal of our ecclesial communities begins –as shown by the life and the history of the
     Church– by means of a deep renewal of consecrated persons. Christian communities expect of
     their pastors, witnesses of the primacy of God, a closer presence with their people –particularly
     with human groups in a situation of need; their witness as men of prayer; a greater dedication to
     spiritual accompaniment; great consistency with what they preach; a more decided and prophetic
     orientation of the Church and of society; and that they be promoters and sign of unity in the
     framework of a collaborative ministry. Priests have the primary responsibility for assuring
     fraternal communion in their community, because their persons and their mission are intimately
     connected to the Eucharist, which is the sacrament that signifies and realizes the unity of the
     Church (cf. LG 3), and to the Word of God that calls us together and unites us. As promoters
     and signs of unity, the clergy must refrain from participating in commitments that entail
     participating in the exercise of civil power.

244. The contributions of the bishops conferences indicate the following as the three main
     challenges that must be confronted:

245. a) The first has to do with the theological identity of the priestly ministry. Vatican II places
     the ―ministerial priesthood‖ at the service of the ―common priesthood of the faithful,‖ and both
     of them as sharing in the ―one priesthood of Christ.‖ Christ, Eternal High Priest, has redeemed us
     and has shared his divine life with us. In Him we are all children of the same Father and brothers
     and sisters among ourselves; so are priests. Before being a father, the priest is a brother. This
     fraternal ontological dimension should not remain as an abstract ecclesiological assumption, but
     shine through in pastoral practice. This means that the priest must not forget being and appearing
     in the first place, as disciple of Christ, co-disciple with brothers and sisters in the faith, and
     overcome the temptation to authoritarianism that isolates him from the community and from
     working together with other members of the Church.

246. b) The second challenge has to do with culture. The priest is called to be familiar with it in
     order to sow in it the seed of the Gospel, that is, so that the message of Jesus comes to be a valid,
     comprehensible, hopeful challenge to the life of today‘s man and woman, especially to young
     people. This challenge includes the need for adequately empowering the initial and ongoing
     training of presbyters, especially with regard to their intellectual competence.

247. c) The third is of an existential nature. This challenge has to do with the vital and emotional
     aspects, with celibacy and an intense spiritual life based on the experience of God; likewise on
     the cultivation of brotherly relations with other priests, the bishop, and laypeople. In order for
     the priest‘s ministry to be consistent and give witness, he must love and perform his pastoral task
     in communion with the bishop and with his peers. The priestly ministry that springs from Sacred
     Orders has a ―radical communitarian form‖ and can only be developed as a ―collective task‖
     (PDV 17).

248. A diligent response to these challenges will help assure that priests live their being person-
     sacraments of Christ the Shepherd with greater identity, in union with the entire presbyterate of
     the diocese.

249. Permanent deacons deserve special mention. Their number has expanded significantly in our
     Churches, although their development and appreciation for them are uneven. Strengthened as
     most of them are by the double sacramentality of Matrimony and Sacred Orders, they offer a
     significant contribution to evangelization, to liturgical celebrations, to the formation of new
     church communities, especially at geographical and cultural frontier areas, where the Church‘s
     evangelization action ordinarily does not reach. Each permanent deacon must diligently cultivate
     his insertion into the body of deacons, and a close relationship with his bishop, the priests, and
     other members of the people of God.

                     2.5.6   Bishops and Bishops Conferences

250. Bishops, image of the one Good Shepherd, have accepted with faith and hope their calling to
     serve the people of God in their heart. Together with all the faithful and by virtue of Baptism
     they are first of all, disciples and members of the people of God. Like all the baptized, and
     together with them, they want to follow Jesus, Master of life and truth, in the communion of the
     Church. As Pastors, servants of the Gospel, they know that they are called to live out love for the
     church in the intimacy of prayer and giving of themselves to the brothers and sisters over whom
     they preside in charity. They firmly intend to use all means to foster the charity and holiness of
     the faithful, and they strive so that the people of God may grow in grace through the celebration
     of the sacraments. They are called to proclaim the Good News that is source of hope for all, and
     to be an example for their priests, deacons, religious, seminarians, and lay people, especially
     cultivating the bond that links them to their priests. They serve Christ and the Church through
     the discernment the Father‘s will, to reflect the Lord in their manner of thinking, feeling,
     speaking, and behaving in the midst of men.

251. ―Experiences of episcopal communion, more frequent since the Second Vatican Council as a
     result of the growth of Bishops' Conferences, should be seen as encounters with the living
     Christ, present in the brothers gathered in his name” (EiA 37). In the bishops conference,
     expression of communion in feelings and effectiveness of the episcopal college, each bishop can
     find the help in solidarity that he needs and appropriate encouragement for living out his specific
     vocation and pastoral mission, within the Particular Church of which he is pastor, in concern for
     the other Churches, especially those closest (ecclesiastical provinces), with the successor of Peter
     and in fidelity to him.

252. To grow in these attitudes, the bishops must seek constant dialogue with the Lord, cultivate
     the spirituality of communion with all who believe in Christ, and increase the bonds of
     collegiality that unite them to the other bishops of the episcopal conference and the Church,
     particularly with the bishop of Rome.


253. The Church’s missionary spirit develops primarily in the heart of each person, who on the
     basis of living encounter with the Lord is called to conversion, communion, and solidarity,
     through a lifelong process making him or her a disciple of the Lord and missionary of his
     message of salvation.

254. We become and we grow as Christians within the Church in its different expressions: the family,
     domestic church; the parish, community of communities; the diocese or particular church, in
     communion with the Church Universal. This whole process revolves around the Word of God,
     the Sacraments –especially the Eucharist– fraternal communion, and love become service.

255. Like Jesus, the Christian community lives and works for the life of the world, that is, ―so that our
     peoples may have life in Him.‖

               3.1   Major realms of mission

256. The calling to discipleship and to the missionary commission must extend to all persons in each
     of their personal, ecclesial, and social dimensions and situations, and also institutions, especially
     the family, the ecclesial community, and civil society. In each one of these realities we
     discover a deep yearning to know and live the Gospel, the active presence of the Holy Spirit,
     and likewise, new challenges for discerning and obeying his guidance.

257. The Holy Spirit who anointed Jesus and impelled him, from the very beginning of his mission, to
     carry out the work of salvation in obedience to the Father, is the strength and guiding impulse
     that animates the Church in the embodiment of its mission to communicate full life to all, and in
     the task of evangelizing in a preferential manner the following realms (cf. Lk 4:8-19).

                     3.1.1   Personal and family realms

     a) Children

258. Because they are “gift and sign of God‘s presence‖ in our world, because of their ability to grasp
     with simplicity what will be the foundation of their life, and because of the situation of
     vulnerability to which they are exposed, they need Childhood Ministry connecting family,
     school, and society with a twofold thrust: a dedication to them to help their love for Jesus grow,
     and a preventive care to improve their conditions of health, nourishment, integral education with
     quality, affection, and care; along with a specialized attention toward those children who have
     been wounded in their dignity and deprived of their innocence. The church community is called
     to accompany children and their parents toward encounter with Jesus, through the process of
     education in faith and catechesis (cf. EiA 48).

     b) Youth

259. They are life, brimming with vigor, creativity and hope, God‘s gift to Latin American peoples.
     The vast majority of them yearn for guidance and a personal and personalizing pastoral
     accompaniment aimed at their human and Christian formation to offer them the true meaning ―in
     life ... and proper conditions for fulfilling their capacities and aspirations‖ (EiA 47). There is an
     urgent need, as the contributions from the bishops conferences mention, to foster and
     strengthen a Youth and Vocational Ministry to accompany youth and adolescents in their
     process of comprehensive formation, based on the pedagogy of Jesus, the Good Shepherd.
     Educational ministry at the levels of secondary and higher learning need to optimize strategies
     that respond to this challenge on behalf of youth.

     c) Women

260. Their presence in the world, in society, and in the Church today is welcome. It requires the
     recognition of their calling to participate fully in church, family, cultural, social, and economic
     life, creating spaces and structures to favor greater inclusion. They also need to be appreciated
     and rescued from any male chauvinist, exclusionary, and discriminatory vision of their dignity as
     persons. The wisdom of God‘s plan demands that we foster the development of their female
     identity in complementarity and reciprocity to the identity of the male. Hence the Church is
     called to share, guide, and accompany projects for promoting women with already existing social
     organizations, and to recognize the essential spiritual ministry that woman bears within her:
     receiving life, welcoming it, nourishing it, giving birth to it, sustaining it, accompanying it, and
     deploying her being as woman in creating habitable spaces of (personal and family)
     communication, community, and communion. The Church‘s commitment in this realm is
     ethical and deeply evangelical.

     d) Family

261. The family is the value most cherished by our peoples. Culture, overcoming poverty, and
     handing on the faith are dependent on the family more than anything else. The Kingdom of life,
     love, and peace is cradled within the family, in the kindness, faith and wisdom of parents, in
     respect for woman, in the consecration of both to the good of all, and in the solidarity of
     communicating material and spiritual goods. But we must note with sorrow the grave crisis in
     which many families in society live. There is needed a Family Ministry indicating actions to
     proclaim the Gospel of the Family and promote the culture of life against all relativism,
     confusion of models, uncertainties, and ideologies that ignore the centrality and dignity of the
     human person, and the value of the family, based on lifelong marriage between a man and a

262. Hence actions and processes to strengthen the family must be fostered and enhanced, such as
     encouragement and guidance by the bishops of marriage and family movements and of families
     themselves. Pastoral action on behalf of the family and the defense of life must be an objective
     running through all pastoral action, all the more so in the structures of family ministry on the
     national, diocesan, and parish level. Research on the family and life must be accompanied and
     encouraged; and policies and laws favoring life and marriage as the foundation of the family
     must be promoted in dialogue with governments and society. There is a need to foster and
     promote the dimension of love and sexuality in integral education; to care for the family
     community, offering care for children, the handicapped, and older adults. Preparing for marriage
     and family life with a few talks no longer suffices. The full importance of remote as well as
     proximate preparation with pedagogical journeys of faith has now become clear. Promoting
     projects of evangelized and evangelizing families, and offering adequate care for families living
     in difficult and irregular situations is a pastoral obligation.

     e) People with different abilities

263. Each day there is greater awareness in society of the serious situation of those who have been
     considered handicapped, because they do not have spaces for their personal, labor, and
     economic development. The ecclesial community needs to accompany these brothers and sisters
     of ours out of an effective attitude of compassion and solidarity that will lead them to discover
     in Jesus strength in their suffering; to encourage in society equal treatment toward them to
     defend their life from all exploitation and abuse; and likewise to establish dialogue with the state
     in order to reach the point of changing aspects of education and labor laws to foster areas of
     participation, development, and quality of life.

     f) Indigenous and Afrodescendants

264. As indicated by the contributions from the bishops conferences, the process of New
     Evangelization in our peoples requires the imperative of loving the indigenous peoples and
     cultures, and cultivating an attitude of respect for their cultural identities which contain riches
     that God was reserving for our time. It is likewise necessary to foster the inculturation of the
     faith so that the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Church may find their proper
     expression within each cultural realm; to support their aspirations that the dignity of each person
     and of peoples may be appreciated, and the right to land, territory, economic development, and
     access to the social services of health care and education offered by society be respected. Those
     who promote theological and liturgical reflection in the context of their own history and culture,
     want to do a of them along discernment with other theologians and church anthropologists.
     Likewise, in many places they expect a larger and more fraternal pastoral presence of missionary
     disciples to share their life and their faith with the communities.

     g) Migrants

265. With regard to the situation of suffering of our brothers and sisters who leave where they live
     fleeing violence or extreme poverty and therefore migrate to other areas of their homeland, other
     countries, or even to other continents, the Church must be present, accompany with its specific
     pastoral care and raise consciousness about the rights of people on the move. It must likewise
     renew and strengthen its theologico-pastoral commitment to promote and firmly establish a
     universal citizenship in which there is no distinction between persons. It will strive to increase
     the ―Good Samaritan‖ ministry to assure an effective advance toward the realization of a
     fraternal relationship in the human family.

     h) Persons in special situations

266. The Church must accompany married couples who divorce (even more if they have been
     united to another spouse), homosexual persons, same-sex couples, as well as priests who left
     their ministry, with compassionate care and love in their issues and personal history. These
     are situations that challenge the current pastoral action of the Church, for which no situation can
     be a matter of unconcern. Mediations to make present the message of salvation for all are
     needed. There must be ecclesial actions as well as an interdisciplinary work of theology and
     social sciences to shed light on pastoral care and the preparation of specialized pastoral agents
     for accompanying these brothers and sisters.

                    3.1.2   Ecclesial realms

     a) The Particular Church

267. Maturation in following Jesus and passion for proclaiming him requires that the Particular
     Church be continually renewed in its life and in its missionary ardor, and be, for all the
     baptized, a house and school of communion, participation, and solidarity. In this environment
     disciples goes out to meet the living Jesus Christ, bring their Christian vocation to maturity, and
     discover the riches and grace entailed in being a member of the Catholic Church. The diocese,
     under the encouragement of its bishop and others in charge of pastoral action, is called to
     energize Christian life in its territory, through organic pastoral projects suited to the cultural
     situation and to the age and circumstances of the faithful. Each diocese is especially called to
     enhance its missionary awareness, going out to meet all the baptized who do not participate in
     the life of the Christian communities, and of those who still do not believe in Christ within the
     area of the particular church itself, within the country or far from its borders, and respond
     adequately to the great questions and problems of the territory in which it is inserted. To that
     end it should organize systematic formation programs for all its members, with a special care for
     the ministers and lay people most committed to its pastoral action. To strengthen the sense of
     belonging, communion, and of unity around the bishop, it must foster diocesan moments of

     celebration, pastoral planning and discernment, and shared fraternal life and sending out on

     b) Parishes

268. Parishes are the privileged place where the faithful can have a concrete experience of the Church
     close at hand (cf. EiA 41). The Synod for America and the contributions for the bishops
     conferences to the Participation Document encourage a valiant action for renewal of the parishes
     so that they may really be places ―of Christian initiation, of education in and celebration of the
     faith, open to the full range of charisms, services and ministries, organized in a communal and
     responsible way, capable of utilizing existing movements of the apostolate, attentive to the
     cultural diversity of the people, open to pastoral projects which go beyond the individual parish,
     and alert to the world in which they live‖ (idem). This renewal is clearly even more necessary
     given the phenomenon of urbanization that has changed the parameters of life and human
     relations. In this sense, the urgency of journeying toward parish communities more
     contemplative of God’s plan in history, more receptive and open to communion and
     collaboration between charisms and ministries, and more participatory and integrating of
     all the vocations present in them is indicated. Mentioned as aspects to be privileged are the
     eucharistic celebration, especially on Sunday, work of encouraging vocations, particularly to the
     priesthood, missionary concern for those who are afar, and the stance of mercy toward those who
     live in difficult situations or marginalized from the church.

269. The parish is also the first place of Christian initiation. In view of the growing number of
     youth and adults who did not receive the gift of baptism as children, and faced with the weak
     convictions of many of the faithful, there is clearly a need for broader and deeper catechetical
     formation, high-quality training of catechists, the implementation of formation processes and
     paths more in keeping with the reality of the individual persons and also a more vigorous
     presence of the pastor and priests in this task.

270. The parish community must be an essentially eucharistic community. In it Christians are
     prepared to live the Lord‘s Supper with all their heart, because the parish is place of forgiveness,
     welcome, and reconciliation with brothers and sisters. When the community participates in
     Sunday mass, it celebrates the central mystery of the faith, renewing the new covenant in the
     blood of Christ and uniting itself in thanksgiving with the entire Church universal through the
     Lord‘s Resurrection. As the Church is born from the Eucharist whenever the parish community
     meets in eucharistic celebration, it is called by God to pass into life by the way of the cross.
     Likewise in the Mass, after hearing its Master, it renews and strengthens its new life in Christ,
     who nourishes it with the Bread of eternal life. With the community thus strengthened by
     communion with God and with the brothers and sisters, Sunday becomes for it a school of
     Christian life, summit and source of the life of the disciples, and on the day of the sending on
     mission, as happened on the first Pentecost Sunday, by virtue of the strength of the Holy Spirit.
     In the Sunday Eucharist and in the responsibility for evangelizing that it receives, with the Virgin
     Mary and with all the saints, the Christian community ‗remains‘ in the Lord and prepares to
     ‗give fruits‘ to remain for the life of the world.

271. Renewal of the parish demands of pastors, priests, and laypeople renewed in their human,
     spiritual, theological, and pastoral maturity that they live out their evangelizing
     responsibility as ―a service of Love‖ rooted in pastoral charity. Priests who accept the challenge
     of collaborative ministry, who encourage the participation of the faithful, who encourage the
     welcoming of all, especially those seeking the faith or wanting to be reconciled with God, and
     who welcome from their heart the offerings they receive of collaboration, beyond the juridical
     boundaries of their parishes. It also seeks a courageous renewal of parish structures.

     c) Ecclesial movements and other apostolic groups

272. In the past and present of the Church, there have arisen communities and movements that have
     formed disciples and missionaries starting from particular spiritualities and routes of formation.
     With the variety and charismatic riches of their own, they are present in our communities,
     witnesses to the attraction of Jesus Christ and his Church, and to the transforming power of the
     Gospel in the world. In a superficial, indifferent, and ever more agnostic society, alongside other
     lay people, the members of the movements seek to make the faith the factor that structures
     their life and witness in service to the world.

273. The living presence of these movements and groups presents a double challenge: on the one
     hand, the ecclesial community must discern and welcome their birth, growth, and original
     contribution to the life and mission of the Church as a gift of God for our time; on the other
     hand, for the movements and new communities the challenge lies in a fuller integration into the
     community ecclesial and its collaborative ministry.

     d) Shrines

274. Scattered throughout Latin America are many shrines dedicated to Our Lord, the Virgin Mary,
     and the saints. The faithful go on pilgrimage to them to be with the Lord, especially in the
     sacraments, and with his friends, the saints, to give thanks for benefits obtained, entrust their
     personal and family life to the care of the Virgin Mary or the saints, and renew their belonging
     and fidelity to the Church. They are places of encounter with God, of penance and conversion, of
     integration and communion. Life in Christ is expressed there through manifold
     manifestations of popular piety, which tends to be expressed with great inner depth and
     sometimes with remarkable exuberance, rich in prayers, songs, dances, and other ritual

275. While recognizing the evangelizing value of shrines, their place in the collaborative pastoral
     work of the particular churches must be optimized, caring for the dimension of the proclamation
     of the Word, the celebration of the sacraments -especially Reconciliation and the Eucharist- and
     the festive encounter that strengthens the meaning of belonging to the Catholic community.

     e) Training centers

276. To live the Christian vocation deeply, the disciples and missionaries of Jesus must make real the
     values and gospel attitudes in everyday existence, through a lifelong process of conversion,
     commitment and formation.

277. The older and newer study centers that have sprung up throughout the continent, are called to
     provide their valuable help for the initial and ongoing formation of consecrated and lay people.
     In many ways and through many initiatives, they must offer all the faithful suitable
     formation programs encompassing the human, personal, and social dimension, the spirituality
     proper to the missionary disciple, theological and pastoral competence, and suitable

                     3.1.3   Social realms

278. Contemporary society, which is so complex, multiple, and increasingly globalized, can only be
     reached and transformed by the Gospel values in each of its varied sectors, through the witness
     and evangelizing activity of lay Catholic men and women. It is they who in the family, at work,
     in culture, in sports and in social and political life, are called by the Lord to join life with the
     Gospel existentially, thereby manifesting that Christian and Catholic faith is a fully valid
     response to the questions, anxiety, problems, and expectations of our times (cf. ChL 34).

279. The lay faithful fulfill their Christian vocation primarily in their secular endeavors. For the
     lay faithful it is a grave omission to refrain from being an effective Christian presence in the
     environment in which they carry out their lives. They cannot elude the commitment to affirm
     coherently and responsibly at all times the truths and values that derive from reason and faith.

     a) Politics and civil society

280. We want to encourage in all possible ways, the participation of laypeople in politics and in the
     various organizations of civil society. While prophetic denunciation by the hierarchy and lay
     people sometimes becomes absolutely necessary, the transformation of society especially
     requires that many people be deeply involved in social life and have an impact on it in
     their everyday endeavor. Hence ―the lay faithful are never to relinquish their participation in
     ‗public life.‘ that is, in the many different economic, social, legislative, administrative and
     cultural areas, which are intended to promote organically and institutionally the common good.‖
     (ChL 42). Even those who work in church institutions must maintain their duty of participating in
     the public sphere. Hope placed in strongmen [caudillos] who come to solve everything
     magically, without the vigorous and constant building of better democratic institutions, is one
     more way of being childishly and massively dependent, rather than being involved with
     creativity and constancy.

281. This primarily requires that lay people be honest, responsible and efficient in their work. It
     also entails a specialized doctrinal formation to make it possible to say authorized words that
     can be heard and respected even in skeptical circles. Furthermore, in view of the contemporary
     crisis of values, we believe that adequate participation in the public realm requires an ongoing
     development of the social virtues that translates into clear witness. In this area, the church‘s
     educational work, preaching, catechesis, and spiritual accompaniment have much to offer,
     contributing ethical formation, development of citizen awareness, and strong encouragement in
     building democracy.

282. The contribution of Christians in these public realms should always be situated in the
     context of a constant “interchange,” because we can all be enriched and pose to ourselves new
     challenges with their way of seeing things, from their perspective, from their experience. When
     someone places himself or herself in the position of the sole master or savior, he or she obviously
     has few chances of success in his or her endeavors. In a pluralist society, the most suitable way
     to help recognize that which should always be affirmed and respected and that is beyond
     consensus is dialogue that brings convictions with the attraction of the beauty of truth. But this
     dialogue needs to be enriched and enlightened by rational arguments. Taking easy way out in
     the search for truth makes us weak, and we are exposed to letting ourselves be dominated by a
     mindset that prevails as more efficient or that offers an immediate and pragmatic way out for
     particular situations.

283. Furthermore, the great difficulties experienced by people in holding onto their convictions in an
     adverse context, indicate that Christians who work in the political realm must create spaces
     for mutual support, dialogue, reflection, and also prayer in common. Thus, beyond the
     legitimate diversity of their personal options, they will be able to help sustain their fidelity to the
     Gospel and their consistency of life. Lack of communication, lack of dialogue in the search for
     the common good, and aversions between Catholics who are active in different political parties,
     are a true scandal because they thus deny with facts their fraternal calling in Christ. It must be
     kept in mind, that all the vices of which public persons are accused, and ―the common opinion
     that participating in politics is an absolute moral danger, does not in the least justify either
     skepticism or an absence on the part of Christians in public life‖ (ChL 42).

     b) Education

284. Latin America is experiencing a particular and delicate educational emergence. In most of
     our countries deep educational reforms are underway that denote a clear anthropological
     reductionism that leads to conceiving education as an activity at the service of production, the
     market, and competitiveness.

285. The church is called to promote an education centered on the human person who is capable
     of living in community, contributing what is his or hers for its good. In the face of social
     exclusion, the Church must foster quality formal and non-formal education for all, especially for
     the poorest; an education that offers children, young people, and adults the encounter with the
     cultural values of their own country, discovering or integrating the religious and transcendent
     dimension in them. For that we need a dynamic and incisive Educational Ministry to accompany
     education processes that can be a voice that legitimates and safeguards freedom of education vis-
     à-vis the state and the right of the most dispossessed to a quality education.
     c) The Catholic School

286. The Catholic school is called to a deep renewal. With its identity as starting point, it requires a
     courageous and bold missionary impulse, so it will come to be a prophetic option embodied in
     participatory educational projects. Such projects must promote the comprehensive formation of
     the person, having their foundation in Christ; their ecclesial and cultural identity, with academic
     quality and excellence; in addition bring about solidarity and charity with the poorest. The
     accompaniment of educational processes, participation in them by parents and the training of
     teachers is a primary priority task of educational ministry. The church also needs to have a
     presence with its message of life in the space of the public school.

     d) The Catholic University

287. There must be an energetic reaffirmation of the mission of Catholic universities, called by
     vocation to promote the commitment to truth and to foster the synthesis of knowledge,
     aided especially by theological and pastoral reflection. It is also the mission of higher centers of
     learning to foster a new humanism out of a Christian anthropology and to offer signs of solidarity
     with those most in need. The university must continually be renewed in its task of scientific
     research and technological advance; of promoting human and Christian values through projects,
     plans, and programs, and providing formation for living in and for the community, thus
     counteracting some tendencies in the kind of globalization that is expanding, that has become
     centered around production, competitiveness, and the market. The Catholic university must offer
     excellent education based on teachers whose Christian witness is convincing, and who are well
     trained in their respective disciplines and in the anthropological and ethical contents that
     manifest the reasonability of the Christian proposal. Catholic universities must develop their
     Christian specificity, because they have gospel responsibilities that institutions of another kind
     are not obliged to fulfill. They are especially the place for the dialogue between culture-and-
     faith, work with the Church’s Social Doctrine, commitment in solidarity to the community,
     and the formation of professional people committed to the newness represented by
     Christianity in the life of Latin American societies. There must be a university ministry to
     accompany the life and journey of all members of the university community, promoting a
     personal committed encounter with Jesus Christ, and numerous initiatives in solidarity and
     mission. There must also be close and presence in dialogue with members of other public
     universities and centers of learning.

     e) Work

288. An important task of the Church, in addition to denouncing indecent working conditions and
     the different injustices in the realm of labor, is communicating the positive value of work as
     experience transforming the world, human beings themselves, and as a space of
     sanctification. A false notion of justice leads many to try to live without working, at the
     expense of the state or institutions. The culture of complaint always finds excuses to justify
     laziness and unconcern for effort, fueling a defeatist spirit. We are called to always keep in mind
     that work is not a mere appendage to life, but that ―it constitutes a fundamental dimension of the
     existence of humans on earth‖ (LE 4), by which ―they are fulfilled as human beings‖ (LE 9). The
     fact that Jesus worked in the carpentry shop of his father Joseph has given dignity to work. For
     that very reason, the Church does not foster work understood solely as a sacrifice or as an effort
     of the will, as a denial of oneself, let alone as a kind of self-immolation. It values work as the
     fulfillment of the human vocation insofar as it facilitates the fulfillment of the person and enables
     him or her to also have possibilities of autonomy, personal development, family life, and
     recreation. For ―work is for the sake of the human being, the human being is not for the sake of
     work‖ (LE 6).

289. However, the situation of millions of Latin Americans who are unemployed or who do not find a
     job that brings them dignity is reason for concern. The situation of unemployment deeply affects
     people who still have vitality and capabilities but who see themselves as useless because they
     have been despised or treated unjustly. The people of God, today as formerly, will have to
     reactivate their militant commitment to creating sources of jobs. The spread of the Church‘s
     Social Teaching, especially when it is propelled by Catholic business people, is certainly a very
     suitable means for promoting an entrepreneurial dynamic that fosters the creation of more
     decent jobs with social security. At the same time, from within Christian institutions we
     ourselves can foster, support, or sustain, as the case may be, workshops for training to prevent
     the poor from being excluded from the realm of labor. In order to foster the culture of work, the
     development of capacities must be fostered in different ways. The aim here is not simply at
     solving particular problems but also encouraging excellence at all levels. When a talent is
     socially recognized and is given space where it can expand to offer its contribution to the
     common good, excellence is wonderfully stimulated. This entails developing all in accordance
     with their capacities and encouraging their development. The aim is not to promote only those
     who are naturally more endowed. Today efficacy is highly prized and people are rated well if
     they are very efficient, while those in whom these capabilities are less developed must be
     resigned to being left on the margin and begging for the dregs. Even though they produce less,
     the handicapped also have a right to a job that will allow them to develop broadly as persons.

290. Income distribution in our countries is unquestionably very unjust and unequal, a pending
     task that no government or economic policy resolves. We want to denounce a naive trust in the –
     always unequal—powers of the market, which some consider a completely autonomous and
     infallible machine, which by itself would pour out the fruits of macroeconomic growth justly
     over all. We defend the just involvement of government and private enterprise to protect the
     weakest and guarantee the wage level. For a just wage is no doubt a factor that contributes to
     assuring authentic conditions of development and a decent life (cf. CDSI 302-303).

     f) Science, Technology, and Ecology

291. We are witnessing extraordinary scientific and technological development but it lacks an ethic to
     sustain it. We are concerned about the use made of it. The Church must be present in this
     realm of knowledge in the knowledge society, accompanying persons, communities, and
     groups devoted to research with ethical criteria and principles to guide and conduct this
     knowledge on behalf of life, particularly by encouraging lay professionals to collaborate in
     national and international scientific and technological projects at the service of humankind, and
     promoting in the particular churches specific commissions devoted to strengthening this area, in
     scientific and technological development. When human persons and their fundamental demands
     do not function as normative parameter, science and technology turn against human beings. The
     aim above all is to assure the centrality of the human person, by preventing the advance of
     science and technology by itself from legitimizing all kinds of applications of knowledge, as if
     everything that is possible were thereby ethically acceptable.

292. Ecology is no longer a concern of tiny groups. Today a greater appreciation of nature has
     spread, at the same time as we see more clearly how many ways humans are jeopardizing and
     even destroying their ―habitat.‖ To ignore the mutual relationships and balance that God himself
     established between created realities is an offense against the Creator, an assault on biodiversity,
     and indeed against life. The human being, to whom God entrusted creation, must learn how
     to contemplate it, care for it, and use it but always respecting the order that the Creator
     gave it. Starting from the convictions that flow from the doctrine of creation, we believe that a
     deep appreciation of the world that the Lord has entrusted to us must be better incorporated into
     teaching, catechesis, and preaching. Care for things, austerity and concern for improving human
     environments, that is, for ―human ecology,‖ the original core of which is the family, are precious
     manifestations of the fraternal love that Christ taught us.


293. The difficulties and misunderstandings that the lay faithful experience when giving public
     witness to the faith in the major realms of mission are part of the way of sanctification that Jesus
     Christ proposed to them when he invited them to follow him. Indeed, the lay faithful should see
     in the building up the family, the Church and society, and accordingly also in participation in
     social and political life, an arduous but privileged path to their own sanctification.


294. Formation is an absolute necessity in the life of human beings. Through it their potentialities are
     fostered so as to establish bonds of identity, qualify them in their responsibilities, and achieve the
     other objectives of the group to which they belong. The more complex and demanding the task
     is, the more formation acquires imperatives of depth and efficiency. The calling and the
     commitment of being disciples and missionaries of Jesus Christ in Latin America and the
     Caribbean today requires a clear and firm option for the formation of the members of our
     communities, particularly of those who have received the task of accompanying the faith
     journey of their brothers and sisters as catechists, educators, pastoral agents or ministers.

295. In the light of these convictions, we look to the Master who personally trained his apostles and
     disciples. With steady patience and wisdom he invited them to follow him, he introduced them
     into the mystery of the Kingdom, and after his death and resurrection he sent them to preach the
     Good News in the strength of his Spirit. His concern and style become emblematic for those
     doing formation, and take on special relevance when we think of the patient task of formation
     that the church must undertake in the new cultural context of Latin America.

               4.1   Dynamism of inspiration

296. The formative journey of the follower of Jesus sinks its roots in the dynamic nature of the
     person, and of love and of faith, and in the personal call of Jesus Christ, who calls his own by
     their name, and they follow him because they know his voice (cf. Jn 10:3s). It draws inspiration
     from the original practice of the Church of the early centuries; and it is achieved in the changing
     situation that the Christian communities of the continent are undergoing. At its core lie five
     interdependent realities of great theological, spiritual and pastoral density: Encounter with
     Jesus Christ, Conversion, Discipleship, Communion, and Mission. Conversion places in
     existential relationship with Jesus those who opt for Him as Way, Truth and Life, and thus with
     the fundamental values that give a new meaning to life and the perspective needed to view life
     from him. Discipleship introduces them into the following of Christ, into his style of life and
     into his Passover, that is, into his manifold attitudes, relationships, words and deeds, with which
     he loved us to the end, with which they announce the Good News to men and women, with a
     preference for the weak and the outcast, and incorporates them into the community of the
     disciples and into the liturgy of the Church. Mission situates them in the dimension of the
     diaconia that generates initiatives of social and ecclesial services, inspired and fostered by the
     Spirit, who arouses new and renewing life in our peoples, in accordance with the Father‘s plan.

297. Out of this common legacy, each sector of the people of God seeks to be accompanied and
     formed in accordance with the particular vocation and ministry to which it has been called:
     the bishop in the ministry of presiding which builds up the community, priests in the exercise of
     pastoral charity at the service of the common priesthood of the faithful; permanent deacons in
     life-giving, humble, and persevering service, consecrated men and women in the radical
     following of the Master, and lay men and women in the evangelizing responsibility of forming
     Christian communities and building the Kingdom in secularity, with due consideration for the
     proper autonomy of temporal realities.

               4.2   General criteria

298. The following reflections do not seek to take up the formative processes and journeys proper to
     each ecclesial calling. Their aim is only to offer some utterly necessary and useful criteria for
     growing as evangelized and evangelizing church. We highlight them below.

                     4.2.1   A comprehensive, ongoing and kerygmatic formation

299. The primary mission of formation is to help the members of the Church to always be with
     Christ, and thus to recognize, accept, internalize, and develop the experience and the values that
     constitute the proper Christian identity and mission in the world. Hence, formation is subject to a
     comprehensive process, that is, one that includes human, intellectual, spiritual, and pastoral
     dimensions, all harmonized among themselves in vital unity. At the same time, it is permanent
     and dynamic in accordance with the development of persons and the service that they are called
     to provide in the midst of the demands of history.

                     4.2.2   A formation attentive to different dimensions

300. Formation encompasses different dimensions that must be integrated harmonically throughout
     the entire formation process. It involves the human, spiritual, intellectual, communitarian, and
     pastoral dimension.

     a) The human and communitarian dimension

301. It tends to prepare strong, free personalities, vocationally identified with Jesus Christ and
     his Gospel in the community in which they live, particularly in the family, in their Christian
     community, and in the realm of labor, capable of being and living as Christians in a manifold
     and sometimes adverse world, with equilibrium, strength, serenity, and missionary ardor.

     b) The spiritual dimension

302. It is the formative dimension that grounds being Christian in the experience of God manifested
     in Jesus and of the guidance of his Spirit over the paths of the world. It roots the person in
     the style of life and service proposed by Christ, adhering in heart like the Virgin Mary to the
     joyful, luminous, painful and glorious paths of their Master and Lord.

     c) The intellectual dimension

303. It is expressed in a serious reflection, continually updated through study, which opens the
     intelligence with the light of faith, to the truth and that trains for discernment, critical judgment,
     and dialogue on reality and culture. It particularly assures biblical and theological knowledge and
     that of the human sciences, in order to acquire the necessary doctrinal competence for the
     ecclesial services required and for adequate presence in secular life.

     d) The evangelizing dimension

304. It projects toward the mission of forming disciples and missionaries at the service of the
     world; it prepares for proposing attractive projects and styles of Christian life, with organic
     interventions and fraternal collaboration with all the members of the community. It especially
     contributes toward integrating evangelization and pedagogy, giving life to pastoral routes with
     the Christian maturity, age and other conditions proper to persons or groups, and to awakening
     the responsibility of laypeople in the world for building the Kingdom of God.

                     4.2.3 A formation respectful of processes

305. Reaching the full stature of the new life in Christ, deeply being identified with Him (cf. EN 19)
     and his mission, is a long journey, requiring diversified routes, respectful of the personal
     processes and of the ongoing gradual community rhythms. The central core must be a
     comprehensive formation plan, drawn up by the competent diocesan agencies, that offers the
     overall vision and the convergence of the various initiatives. It also requires suitably prepared
     formation teams to assure the effectiveness of the process itself and to accompany people with
     dynamic, active, and open pedagogies. The presence and contribution of lay men and women in
     formation teams contributes an original wealth, for out of their experiences and competencies
     they offer valuable criteria, contents, and testimonies to those who are being formed.

                     4.2.4   Some accents in the formation of priests

306. The quality and holiness of priests depend largely on their qualified formation which must also
     be comprehensive and ongoing, human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral, centered on personal
     adhesion to Jesus Christ; By sacramental ordination priests are sign-persons of him, called to
     live and act ―in persona Christi‖ and on behalf of people. Through the formation process, and in
     particular through the seminary, young seminarians must know, love, and follow ever more
     firmly Jesus Christ, Good News of the Father, Priest and Shepherd.

307. Following the guidelines from the Apostolic See and the bishops conferences, Seminaries and
     Centers that prepare for the priestly life must be true schools of missionary disciples, and
     offer serious formation in accordance with the pastoral needs of our peoples. However, the
     change of the culture of which the youth who aspire to the priestly life are a part requires
     emphasizing some aspects.

308. Special attention should be given to the process of human formation toward maturity, so that
     the vocation to the ministerial priesthood of the candidates becomes in each of them a stable and
     definitive life project, in the midst of a culture that exalts the disposable and the provisional. The
     same should be said of education toward maturity of emotions and sexuality, which leads to
     better understanding the gospel meaning of consecrated celibacy, and living it with serenity and
     with the proper ascesis in a community journey, as commitment to God and to human beings
     with a full and undivided heart.

309. In the entire formation process, the seminary environment and formative pedagogy must
     assure a climate of healthy freedom and personal responsibility, and avoid creating artificial
     environments or imposed paths. The candidate‘s option for priestly life and ministry must mature
     and be based on true and authentic, free and personal motivation. Pastoral experiences, with
     discernment and accompaniment in the formation process, should corroborate the authenticity of
     motivations in the candidate and help him assume the ministry as a true and generous service.

310. At the same time, the seminary must offer a serious and deep intellectual formation, in the
     field of philosophy, the human sciences, and especially theology, so that the future priest may
     learn and proclaim the faith in all its integrity, alert to the cultural context of our time, and to the
     great currents of thought and behavior that he will have to evangelize. Finally there must be a
     deep community-oriented and spiritual formation, to motivate the candidate to a permanent
     and renewed option for Christ, the Church, and the Kingdom, assumed in the communion of the

               4.3   Catechesis, key experience in the formation of the missionary disciple

311. Catechesis has occupied a prominent place in the history of the faith in Latin America. Since the
     beginning it has contributed not only to setting up the Church, but also to the maturing of the
     faith of Christian communities. The Gospel has gradually permeated the continent‘s cultures and
     has transformed them, thanks to this ministry essential to the Church‘s mission, and many
     thousands of catechists who with their life and their generosity have built up the Kingdom
     God in our peoples.

312. Nevertheless, in our contemporary community contexts we observe that often, the process of
     Christian initiation has almost not taken place or has been weak and fragmentary, in adults
     as well as in children and youth. Hence, there is a strong feeling that a renewed catechesis is
     called for, one that will be concerned also with the first proclamation and that will lead people to
     open their heart to Christ so they may reach personal adhesion and public confession of faith in
     the person and the message of Jesus.

313. It is therefore absolutely necessary to recover the experience of Christian initiation as
     starting point for the journey of faith; that means emphasizing the kerygmatic
     proclamation of the risen Lord which invites to an encounter with him and to conversion, and
     assuming the process method, in the style of the catechumenate of the early Church. Catechesis
     is a process extended over time and not simply immediate preparation for receiving the
     sacraments. In it people are invited to receive the gospel teaching, to conform their own life to
     that of Jesus, to become fully a part of the community, to participate with it in the Eucharist, and
     to live in an attitude of service to others. In Latin America we need to deepen in the theological
     sources–not simply in methodologies – that give identity to the ministry of catechesis, so that it
     may continue contributing to the growth of the faith in the believing community.

314. The foregoing asks of catechesis an ability to forge disciples and missionaries “personally
     committed to Christ, capable of participation and communion within the Church, and dedicated
     to serving the world in a salvific way‖ (DP 1000). Hence, in the current circumstances of Latin
     America, catechesis needs to promote mature communities aimed at transforming the reality
     where they travel their journey of faith.

315. It is also imperative that processes be established for forming catechists, combining the
     human, theological, and practical sciences and focusing on the dimension of the person and
     the missionary disciple; processes that are embodied in formation projects where the existential
     and the biblical, the doctrinal and the ethical, the celebratory, the pedagogical and the
     communicative, are integrated. Today catechists are also needed who are experts in the art of the
     catechesis of adults and of special situations and environments; catechists able to educate for
     community life and for commitment to history and society. Parents should be invited into this
     formation process so they may be the first catechists of their children.

316. Analogously to what is said here about formation of catechists, these principles must be
     considered for the formation of lay people committed in other tasks of the Church, as for
     example, in the accompaniment of young people in youth ministry, in ministry of the sick, in
     social ministry, etc.

               4.4   The need for pastoral pedagogy

317. Every initiative and every pastoral plan in the Church must be mindful of the action of the Holy
     Spirit. We work together with Him. Hence, it is not enough to recognize what is missing and
     deduce from it new pastoral interventions. Even before elaborating new pastoral plans, there
     is a need to contemplate and discern the initiatives that the Holy Spirit has taken or is
     taking. He is the first imperative of any plan and of any pastoral pedagogy. The persons and
     communities, and the evangelizing initiatives through which the Spirit is already working must
     be sought out, as well as the charisms that He sowed and is sowing in the people of God. The
     baptized, when they think about their evangelizing action, must trust that they are not starting
     from zero. Someone, the Holy Spirit, was already working before them and invites them to
     collaborate with Him, taking as starting point the life and initiatives that already exist and that
     await encouragement, support, guidance, and integration to be fully fruitful and give all their

318. But the foregoing does not exempt from training in pastoral pedagogy. On the contrary, it calls
     for it, in order to act according to what God wants. Serious gaps are found in this area. This
     situation shows the need for offering missionary disciples, especially lay people, a good
     formation in systematic and current pastoral pedagogy, to enable them to carry out the
     proclamation of the Good News, using all the advances on formation from the human sciences.
     With them they will enhance their formation, providing people and groups an accompaniment
     that fosters processes of maturation in the faith.

319. Application of these pedagogical aspects will contribute to reducing the limitations and
     deficiencies in pastoral action, such as improvisation, superficiality, disorder, dispersion,
     centralization, and pastoral rigidity.

320. Based on the analysis offered by the bishops conferences, some pedagogical proposals useful for
     a more coherent and effective formation process are suggested.

                    4.4.1   A pedagogy for the integral growth of persons

321. Discipleship is lived in the process of human development which leads persons toward
     maturity in Christ in accordance with one‘s stage of evolution. Therefore formation processes
     must be promoted with attention centered on persons, to empower their capabilities, lead them
     to maturity, and prepare them for communion and service in the community.

                    4.4.2   A methodology to educate in missionary discipleship

322. Methodology and pedagogy are called to foster in the missionary disciple searching and effort to
     reach the truth; the formation of upright conscience; and the decision to choose to adhere to what
     God wants. It also seeks to train in personal and community discernment which, in the light of
     God‘s Truth (as found in the nature of created things and in the Scripture and in openness to the
     action of the Spirit), develops responsibility toward options and decision making. Adequate and
     complementary use of the inductive and deductive method will support these goals.

323. Education to missionary discipleship must also be translated into a pedagogical journey with
     well defined stages, carried out within a suitable time and often revised in the light of the Word,
     the guidelines of the Magisterium, and people‘s concrete situations. The methodology offered by
     Santo Domingo -- ―See, judge, act, review and celebrate‖ (cf. SD 119) – may be very useful for
     doing so.

                    4.4.3   A technology at the service of the Gospel

324. Evangelizing methodology must also take advantage of the advance of science and the use of
     technical means, especially communications, to transmit the Christian experience more
     effectively, and to respond to pastoral organization with a clear mission and a future vision.

325. The communities need to formulate and update their formation plans, on the basis of
     participatory pastoral planning methods in which the objectives, stages, resources, the activity
     itself, monitoring and evaluation of their plans take shape with the active and committed
     participation of those involved in it.

326. Planning should include the main networks of relations with persons, groups, and institutions so
     that it takes into account other pastoral experiences and encompasses social and cultural,
     especially Latin American, forces, so that the Gospel may reach extend to the full reality.

                     4.4.4   Teamwork

327. Teamwork is an expression of ecclesial communion and participation. Educating for
     teamwork and experiencing it in the shared responsibility of the disciples of Christ in community
     life is a concrete way of recognizing that we have been called as a team, as it were, by God
     himself, and to recognize the God-given talents of each and put them at the service of the one
     project of evangelization.

328. Missionary disciples are asked to learn to appreciate and develop knowledge, attitudes,
     abilities, and competencies in order to be constructing evangelizing projects in ―communion and
     participation‖ (DP 211).

329. Finally, participating in a team means enrichment and entails obligations. It gives identity and
     sense of belonging to the Body of Christ; helps overcome individualism and the tendency to
     narcissism, because in group work one must share one‘s time, offer others understanding and
     empathy, and establish relations while being concerned for the interests of others.

                     4.4.5   Accompaniment and leadership

330. Accompanying the integral growth and the maturing of the faith of people today requires that
     those responsible for evangelization exercise spiritual leadership, which is not measured with
     the categories of the leaderships of the world, because it is based on witness, service, and
     commitment, reflecting Jesus, the Good Shepherd. The fruitfulness of this task will depend on
     the human, spiritual, pastoral, and professional maturity of those responsible for the
     communities. The quality of their leadership under the motion of the Holy Spirit will be decisive
     in groups with regard to achievement in the great ideals such as ―communion,‖ ―participation,‖
     and the road to ―holiness.‖

331. A challenge for the Church in this field is the formation of persons who exercise gospel
     leadership and accompany Christian communities out of the “pedagogy of encounter.” This
     pedagogy seeks to create a space of freedom where there can occur this encounter of the
     disciples with Jesus and with those who are his images, that unleashes the drive of love for Him:
     conversion, communion, and solidarity. Among other means of great value, the frequent practice
     of ―lectio divina‖ is a privileged and transforming path of encounter with God, with oneself, and
     with the brothers and sisters.

332. This pedagogical model has its source in the ―pedagogy of encounter‖ that we find in the
     Scriptures and that God carries out with each human being. In the OT, assuring his presence ―I
     will make a covenant with you‖ (Gn 17:2), and in the NT with the witness of Jesus that being
     accompanied by the Father (cf. Jn 16:32), he accompanies and guides the group of disciples in
     their slow conversion process, in the steps that they are taking to change their style of life, their
     way of thinking and feeling, and in changing the criteria for analyzing the situation that they had
     to live.
333. More than ever, women and men of our time call for people close at hand and trained to
     accompany them: masters who guide them over the ways of the Gospel according to their
     human and Christian vocation of specific service in the people of God. Unless the number of
     those who offer trained spiritual accompaniment according to God‘s heart grows, improving the
     quality of vocational ministry will not be possible.

                     4.4.6   Culture of Evaluation

334. Evaluation is a necessary stage of the formation process of the person and of groups.
     Experience shows that it is often ignored, thereby weakening evangelization processes.
     Throughout the evaluation process it must not be forgotten that grace has its own dynamism that
     surpasses any evaluation, but yet this fact is no excuse for not seriously analyzing the ecclesial
     mediations that affect the mission of evangelization.

335. In this sense, evaluation represents a moment of reflection for persons and communities, in
     which what is done rightly and wrongly in pastoral practice is noted in order to do a fresh
     diagnosis and cast the nets again in the name of the Lord.


               5.1   Evangelization of culture

336. In our peoples, especially in their large cities, a culture centered on the individual is tending
     to prevail. We recognize in it the value of freedom and its yearnings for justice and peace,
     whose Christian roots must not be ignored. But we also recognize an atrophied incomplete
     humanism that subjects the human person to the imperatives of productivity and profit, to
     striving for material goods and pleasure. With it human beings become enclosed in themselves
     and do not enter into communion with others and with God. This fact is one of the main reasons
     for the ills that we witness in our nations: hunger, disease, war, social inequality, corruption, and
     the fragility of human and emotional relations.

337. The cultural space of our existence is a gift and a task that we have received from God. The
     message of life present in the Gospel and proclaimed by the Church cannot ignore contemporary
     culture. Human beings always believe, hope, and love on the basis of what they are, of the
     understanding that they have of themselves, of life, of society, and of history. This
     understanding and the practices that flow from it are often given to them by their sociocultural
     context. Thus the yearnings, hopes, values, guiding traits, and even the insufficiencies, and gaps
     present in contemporary culture must be known, appraised and in a certain sense assumed by the
     Church in its saving activity. Only in that way will it be using a language understood by our
     contemporaries. Only in that way will it be able to appear to their eyes as a relevant and
     meaningful sign of salvation. Only in that way will Christian faith be more easily understood as
     the complete fulfillment of the human being (cf. GS 22). The Father‘s project of life will thus
     sensitize humankind as a whole, and the Church will be starting from people in their
     sociocultural and historic reality, as did the Master of Nazareth.

338. But since the culture presents lights and shadows, values and anti-values, factors of life and
     death, elements of solidarity and selfishness, it must be confronted with the light of reason and of
     the Gospel, so that it can shed light on the signs of life and hope, and unmask the dehumanizing
     darkness (cf. Jn 3:20). This enriching and yet critical process, carried out within contemporary
     culture evangelizes culture. Ultimately, the aim is to assume, purify, and elevate culture, by
     bringing us close to Christ and his Gospel, source of life, cornerstone for the whole building,
     invitation to take up the cross and to be resurrected in Him. In this manner, Christian faith,
     already within the family, becomes seed of new cultural traits, enriching and opening
     contemporary culture to transcendent realities. Today this process is enormously important
     because of the difficulties that the Church experiences in passing on the faith to the new

339. Nevertheless, this evangelizing process will only take place if the Gospel is deeply incarnated in
     the sociocultural context where it is proclaimed. This means not only expressing the gospel in the
     language of that context, but accepting it and living it in relation to the deep values, vital
     aspirations, and the symbols of the surroundings. This means accepting the riches of each people
     in the life of the Church (cf. RM 53). ―A faith that does not become culture is a faith that has not
     been fully received, not entirely thought out, not faithfully lived‖ (John Paul II, Speech to
     participants in the World Congress of the General Movement of Cultural Action, January 16,
     1982). The task of inculturating the faith falls to the entire community, guided by its shepherds.
     Criticizing the shortcomings of contemporary culture is not enough. Our faith must foster a
     new cultural creativity so that we Christians may show in a proactive and not purely
     reactive way that we contribute to the good of society. Christians who have received talents
     for it, must take their place again in the front lines of art, science, and technology, in creating
     renewed institutions that allow our cultural identity, strongly marked by the faith, not only to
     point back to past history, but also to have a capacity at work in the present and future of our

340. The evangelization of culture must take place in all sectors of social and cultural life. This fact
     by itself shows the need for all members of the Church to be involved, albeit in different ways.
     Faith must become culture in each person. All must be light of Christ in their family, in their
     work environment, among their friends, in their professional careers, in their participation in the
     world of culture, of politics, of public opinion. Thus a Christian vision of reality may be
     achieved, one that offers our contemporaries guidance, customs, and practices of life in Christ.

341. Thus we see that contemporary culture must be approached with understanding. Precisely
     because we are Christians, we must look on it positively and with empathy, but also critically.
     Furthermore, the difficulty that we experience in contemporary society in transmitting the faith,
     calls not only for it to be adequately inculturated, but also centering ourselves not so much on
     external forms, but on that which is source of life and culture, primarily on the person of
     Jesus Christ, his life and his message, the core of which is charity (cf. DCE 1). We will thereby
     be promoting the life and dignity of men and women and creating a culture of solidarity.

               5.2   More particular concerns

                     5.2.1   Of a cultural nature

     a) Evangelizing the world of the media

342. The influence of the mass media which strongly shape the mindset of our contemporaries, often
     in opposition to gospel values, requires special attention from the Church in this sector,
     especially because of the current astonishing cultural globalization.

     b) The challenge of ministry in the city

343. Most of the Latin American population lives in cities within an urban culture with its own
     unprecedented characteristics. Urban ministry must therefore be renewed in its language,
     practices, and structures. It is not a specialized ministry, but a new style of doing ministry.

                     5.2.2   Of a social nature

     a) Promoting the dignity of the human person

344. The yearnings for life, peace, fraternity, and happiness that go unanswered in the midst of the
     idols of profit and efficiency, the lack of religious freedom, insensitivity to the suffering of
     others, corruption of the ruling classes, attacks on life in the womb, and all the modalities of
     violence indicate the importance of the struggle for life and for the dignity and the integrity
     of the human person. Likewise, there must be access for all to quality education, to housing,
     work and health care. Hence, Christians must collaborate in promoting and defending not only
     individual rights, but also in the broad terrain of economic, social, and cultural rights.

     b) Rebuilding the social fabric

345. We note the fragmentation of contemporary society, the devaluing of the common good, the
     prevailing neoliberalism, disenchantment with the world of politics, the lack of a civic education,
     and the effects of the overvaluing of the masculine in our communal life. In order to reconstitute
     the social fabric there must therefore be a greater publicizing of the church‘s social doctrine,
     education for citizenship, the strengthening of family bonds, greater social participation, broad
     acceptance of the contributions of the ―feminine genius,‖ an integration of the various social
     sectors, especially the indigenous and Afrodescendants, and fostering of Latin American

     c) Renew and consolidate the option for the poor

346. In many Latin American nations most of Catholic population is made up of poor people who
     live excluded from the material, cultural, and social riches present in our countries. The
     preferential option for the poor distinguished the Church of this region and was influential in
     other Churches. Today this option faces new challenges that demand its renewal, so that it may
     manifest its the fullness of its evangelical roots, its urgency, and its gospel riches.

                    5.2.3   Of an ecclesial nature

     a) Responding to the spiritual yearnings of our contemporaries

347. We note a pursuit of spiritual values with new characteristics. This religious awakening
     requires appropriate discernment, and the proclamation of the Gospel as response, brimming
     with hope and life, to legitimate yearnings. The example of Christ also asks from us a respectful
     relationship with our brothers and sisters in other Christian communities and with those who
     follow other religions.

     b) The expansion of the sects

348. The expansion of the sects in Latin America constitutes a serious concern of the Church,
     particularly since most of those who move to these religious groups are Catholics. Some of the
     reasons for this phenomenon are shortage of pastoral agents, inadequate evangelization in the
     past, deficient pastoral care for the poor and alienated, and lack of pastoral plans for those
     baptized who no longer participate in our communities. A serious reflection by the Church and a
     corresponding pastoral action are needed.

     c) Promote a more active laity

349. The whole Church is missionary. What is needed for this truth to become reality is that lay
     people be trained, the Christian and secular character of their vocation be promoted actively
     without fear, room be made for them in the church, they be respected in their opinions and
     initiatives, and that room be opened for them to participate in the decisions of the community;
     in short that they be treated as adults in a line of communion and participation (cf. PG 11),
     as is proper to their baptismal vocation which they subsequently confirmed sacramentally.


350. The complexity of the new cultural situations and the great challenge of incarnating the Lord‘s
     liberating message in them, and the frailty of our communities and means can never be a reason
     for discouragement. Rather they invite us to renew hope in Him who is the true Shepherd of the
     sheep, Jesus Christ, the Lord. Smallness leads to great promises; the mustard seed of the Gospel
     indicates that the impossible is possible (cf. Mk 4:31; Mt 17:20; Lk 17:6). The difficulties that
     we encounter constitute a challenge that the Lord himself has willed to entrust to our human

 mediation and ecclesial responsibility. Giving form to the new face of Church that is holy and
deeply set within Latin American society, as missionary leaven of new life for our peoples
depends on grace and likewise on us.

                                     GENERAL CONCLUSION

351. The church that lives its faith in the Latin American continent journeys to meet the risen Lord so
     that our peoples may have life in Him. Throughout its history, Jesus himself aroused many
     experiences of encounters with Him that were paschal events.

352. Today our Church feels called to renew its encounter with the Risen One, reliving the experience
     of the two disciples of Emmaus (cf. Lk 24:13-35). Like them, it journeys amidst difficulties and
     pain. Just like them, it yearns to let itself meet and be transformed by the risen Lord, in order to
     offer Him as life to the world by the witness of its faith and effective commitment to its mission.


353. We have begun our reflection by letting ourselves be questioned by Jesus ever present implicitly
     or explicitly in the reality of our peoples. He asks us today as he did the two from Emmaus:
     ―What are you discussing as you walk along?‖ What has happened to you? (Lk 24:17,19). And
     walking with us he invites us to say what is happening with us. So we speak to him out of our
     Latin American originality, from our particular values, from the weakness of faith in God, who
     makes himself felt forcefully in our society and out of the situations of pain and despair that
     mark so many brothers and sisters in the continent. We tell him that we are undergoing a change
     of era that inspires some and disorients others, and that in this change of era, we his Church want
     to witness with new ardor and new methods ―the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth Son of God‖ (EN

354. We want our gaze to be one of empathy toward reality, accepting it and without being
     discouraged by what is happening. But we also want it to be deeply critical, not only to perceive
     the phenomena, but to apprehend their causes, and above all we want it to be patient and bold, in
     order to accompany the rhythms of the world in which we live and to contribute the
     transforming power of the message of Jesus and the new life in Him. Hope in a full life is
     growing within us, because we are moved by the certainty that Jesus, who has gone out and
     continues to go out on the journey of our history as risen Lord, already overcame death and asks
     us not to be afraid (cf. Jn 16:33).

355. We have countless signs of the fruitfulness of the paschal mystery in our particular Churches.
     We find it, for example, in the awakening of so many communities, in the generosity and the
     commitment of countless catechists, in liturgical celebrations, in communal effort, in all the
     schools of disciples growing among us, whether as ecclesial movements or in other ways, and in
     all the baptized who seek and find the Lord and are transformed into living presence of Christ for
     the life of the world.


356. Jesus looks at us with love and also with concern (cf. Lk 24:25) for the times that we do not
     discern the ways of his Father and we dilute the response to the impulses of his Spirit. In order to
     shed light on our journey, the Lord becomes our prophetic and sapiential memory, and in the
     light of the Scriptures, he becomes present in the Father‘s saving plan. He shows that our deep
     vocation is to be called children of God and brothers and sisters to one another. He invites us to
     accept the urgent challenge and the creative commitment to care for and appreciate all human
     life. He then makes present his life and the meaning of his paschal mystery. He asks us to discern
     reality as believing pastors who denounce the signs of death in the light of the proclamation of
     the Father‘s plan, proposal for a worthy and happy life for all, especially the dispossessed. He
     invites us to discern as Church, community of his own, called to be sign of the Kingdom in the
     world, fraternal place of celebration of the faith and of missionary commission.

357. We can do nothing without the Lord. Like the disciples of Emmaus, we cry: ―Stay with us‖ (Lk
     24:29). Stay with us because the journey often becomes dark and the task burdensome, because
     without You our vitality declines and our ardor withers. And Jesus Christ, Head of his Church,
     not only stays with us, but ―in us‖ (MND 19). Every Sunday, ―Day of the Lord and of the
     Church,‖ the people of God celebrate the Eucharist as memorial of the paschal mystery of Him
     who offered his life to transform our life and society. The Eucharist, celebrated with and by the
     people of God, is source and epiphany of communion, sacrament that educates and creates
     filiation and fraternity and accordingly, impetus and project of mission.

358. When we listen to the Risen One in wonder and celebrate the breaking of the bread, we want to
     live as disciples and missionaries. Nourished by the twofold table of Bread and Word, we seek to
     be above all a ―disciple Church‖; a Church that with ―disciple‘s eyes‖ and ―ears‖ carefully
     follows the dynamism of history, placing its finger on the pulse of the times and its ear on God‘s
     heart; a Church that with ―disciple‘s heart‖ may arouse wonder and vital communion with the
     Lord, and that with ―disciple‘s hands and feet‖ can strive with renewed enthusiasm in
     transforming the realities of death, so that our peoples may have life in Him.

           3. A CHURCH SENT BY JESUS

359. The proximity and pedagogy of that Pilgrim who set out to journey with us (cf. Lk 24:15) makes
     our heart burn and gives our eyes a new vision. The company of the Risen One is again the
     motivation for the journey, but now not for one on the way to Emmaus, but for the one who goes
     out to encounter brothers and sisters in the faith and share the event of recognizing the Lord
     when ―we were going on the road‖ (24:35). Now it will be from Jerusalem, place of the paschal
     mystery, of the in-breaking of the Holy Spirit and of the apostolic community, that witness goes
     out to the transforming presence today of the Lord of life. The new people of God, by virtue of
     the Son‘s obedience, becomes people ever in state of mission, because the Holy Spirit who is
     given to it does not weary or fail. In the people of God, every believer is both disciple and
     missionary or is not an authentic follower of Christ.

360. This insertion into the world, from the community and with the impulse of the Spirit, demands of
     us a spirituality and a way of life marked by kerygmatic and missionary proclamation. It also
     asks that we value and foster the pluralism of the Church in its diverse communities, rich in
     charisms and ministries. The plan of the Father, the saving event of the Son, and the mission to
     which the Spirit impels us lead us to look with renewed hope toward the building of the
     Kingdom in our continent.

361. We know that we are charged with the urgent task of forming ourselves as missionary disciples.
     No one in the Church can remain apart from formation or from mission. Taking on the history of
     our peoples we yearn to pass on that hope that does not disappoint (cf. Rom 5:5): in encounter
     with the Risen One, as for those of Emmaus, there can be a new human being and a new world,
     because at the dawn of the twenty-first century, a new Pentecost of abundant life is possible


362. Mary, mother of missionary disciples, also journeys with us. She does so as disciple, because
     she has firmly believed that what was proclaimed by the Lord will be fulfilled. She does so as
     missionary, because –unlike the apostles who proclaim the Word- she gives birth to Jesus, Word
     of God, content of the apostolic proclamation. She journeys with us as woman of solidarity,
     because she offers her being, her intercession, and her shrines for meeting our needs. She
     journeys as new Arc of the Covenant, dwelt in by the living Word of God, and as servant of the
     Lord, who by her listening and obedience bears the experience of great things that the Almighty
     does in her and with her. She is above all model of the missionary disciple who opens her life to
     the Trinitarian saving event.

363. Mary, the mother of the Church, accompanies apostles and disciples at Pentecost. With them she
     awaits the full light that comes from the Spirit (cf. Jn 14:25; 16:13). Like them, she embodies the
     characteristic process of a faith that grows in the comprehension and practice of the Father‘s
     saving plan (cf. Lk 8:15.21).

364. May the Immaculate Conception whom we venerate at Aparecida, who first conceived Jesus
     Christ in her heart and then in her womb, be mother and model of fruitful missionary disciples
     and of significant pastoral and spiritual journeys so that all our peoples, who so venerate their
     Mother, may have life in Jesus Christ.


AA    =   VATICAN COUNCIL II, Decree Apostolicam Actuositatem, Nov. 18, 1965
AG    =   VATICAN COUNCIL II, Decree Ad Gentes, Dec. 7,1965
          Social Doctrine of the Church. June 29,2004
CCE   =   JOHN PAUL II, Catechism of the Catholic Church, October 11,1992
CHL =     JOHN PAUL II, Post-Synod Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici, Dec. 30,
DCE =     BENEDICT XVI, Encyclical Letter Deus Caritas Est, Dec. 25, 2005
DP    =   Document of the Third General Conference of Latin American Bishops held in
          Puebla, Mexico, 1979
DV    =   VATICAN COUNCIL II, Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum, Nov. 18, 1965
EiA   =   JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in America, Jan. 22, 1999
EN    =   PAUL VI, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, Dec. 8, 1975
GS    =   VATICAN COUNCIL II, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, Dec. 7, 1965
LE    =   JOHN PAUL II, Encyclical Letter Laborem Exercens, Sept. 14, 1981
LG    =   VATICAN COUNCIL II, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, Nov. 21, 1964
MND =     JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Letter Mane Nobiscum Domine, October 7,2004
NMI   =   JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte, January 1,2001
PCAL =    Pontifical Commission for Latin America, Pastoral Recommendations of the
          Plenary Meeting ―Sunday Mass, center of Christian life in Latin America,‖ January
PDV =     JOHN PAUL II, Post-synod Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis
PG    =   JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Gregis, Oct. 16, 2003
RM    =   JOHN PAUL II, Encyclical Redemptoris Missio, Dec. 7, 1990
SD    =   Document of the Fifth Conference General of Latin American Bishops held in
          Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Oct. 29, 1992
VC    =   JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata, March 25, 1996

                                   THEMATIC INDEX

Accompaniment                      79 231 243 259 266 281 286 316 318 330 333
Accompany                          29 185 258 260 262 263 265 294 330 354
Affectivity                        308
Afrodescendant(s)                  50 119 263 345
Anthropology                       287
Aparecida                          Pres. 187 364
Apostle(s)                         33 148 150 158 160 162 181 182 184 186 193 194
                                   196 234 295 362 363
Ardor                              Pres. 26 79 186 198 199 200 267 301 353 357
Art                                13 105 159 315 339
Ascesis                            219 308
Association(s)                     230 234
Baptism                            6 148 154 158 174 176 184 196 250 269
Baptized, the                      146 157 197 226 227 234 250 267 348 355
Bishop(s)                          Pres. 12 26 151 229 247 249 250 251 252 262 267
                                   Pres. 226 232 244 250 251 252 264 268 307 320
Bishops Conference (s)
Boldness                           4 39 80 191 193 195 196 205 207 229
Caribbean                          Pres. 1 16 78 186 235 253 294
Catechesis                         6 258 281 292 311 312 313 314 315
Catholic School                    286
Catholic university(ies)           287
Change of era                      31 56 74 145 353
Catholic faith                     5 6 11 120
Celebration                        17 26 32 153 157 178 184 250 267 268 270 275
                                   313 356
Celibacy                           247 308
Charity                            6 38 60 79 146 178 191 230 250 271 286 297 341
Charism(s)                         133 149 158 177 219 222 227 229 230 241 268 317
Child (children)                   52 121 186 258 262 269 285 312
Childhood ministry                 258
Christian community(ies)           Pres. 14 16 54 150 152 157 186 188 190 193 196
                                   230 243 255 267 270 296 297 311 331 347
Christian faith                    58 65 78 150 156 278 337 338
Christian identity                 101 170 234
Christian life                     Pres. 26 103 156 157 267 270 304
City, Cities                       68 69 153 336 343
Citizen                            69
Civil society                      71 256 280
Collaborative ministry [organic]   218 243 271 273 275
Collegiality                       Pres. 252
Competency                         66 210 246 277 303 305 328
Commitment                        Pres. 1 14 21 43 61 65 79 82 104 124 139 186 205
                                  260 265 276 279 287 289 294 315 352 356
Common good                       63 71 73 280 283 289 345
Communication                     59 65 72 159 207 260 261 324 342
Communion                         1 4 11 13 16 18 19 22 26 32 33 39 42 45 77 79 94
                                  100 106 112 114 117 118 133 134 140 146 147 150
                                  151 152 157 164 167 182 192 193 200 207 208 214
                                  219 225 227 239 243 247 250 251 252 253 254 260
                                  267 268 270 274 296 310 314 321 327 328 330 331
                                  336 349 357 358
Community, communities            Pres. 3 28 50 99 141 143 147 148 149 150 151 154
                                  157 158 160 167 168 177 184 186 187 192 194 216
                                  227 228 229 237 238 241 242 243 245 254 260 262
                                  264 268 270 272 273 275 285 287 291 294 297 301
                                  304 313 314 317 321 325 330 335 339 348 349 350
                                  355 356 359 360
Community of disciples            81 137 140 141 142 143 192 196 296
Confidence (trust)                1 3 13 155 187 189 200 203 205 207 290 317
Confirmation                      158 196
Consecrated /contemplative life   Pres. 238 240 241 242
Continent                         Pres. 4 5 6 11 13 17 19 26 34 40 59 68 81 153 186
                                  187 193 229 265 277 296 311 351 353 360
Continuity                        Pres. 23 24
Core(s)                           Pres. 27 156 292 341
Creativity                        222 259 280 339
Crisis                            65 72 118 241 261 281
Criterion / criteria              22 32 35 62 63 84 86 131 163 164 167 170 207 241
                                  291 298 305 332
Culture                           6 10 11 22 23 50 57 60 61 62 64 65 68 74 76 78 79
                                  105 119 147 150 151 159 197 207 241 246 261 264
                                  278 287 288 289 303 307 308 311 334 336 337 338
                                  339 340 341 343
Death                             5 41 42 47 48 64 66 76 86 93 96 116 117 122 123
                                  124 132 133 141 154 156 167 183 205 295 338 354
                                  356 358
Deficiency(ies) (flaws)           6 13 79 319 339
Democracy                         61 72 73 79 281
Depersonalization                 68 119 127
Development                       10 21 37 50 59 122 124 171 186 217 249 260 263
                                  264 281 289 290 291 299 321
Dialogue                          4 54 65 82 118 131 143 145 152 204 252 262 263
                                  282 283 287 303
Didactics (pedagogy)              322
Dignity                           6 7 22 30 37 44 50 51 57 58 62 67 71 76 104 119
                                  123 128 148 220 225 258 260 261 264 341 344
Diocese                           Pres. 151 218 248 254 267
Disabled (handicapped)            52 119 262 289
Discernment                Pres. 4 32 35 39 74 81 86 116 168 194 204 234 250
                           264 267 303 322 347 356
Disciple (s)               Pres. 15 32 33 58 81 93 96 98 99 100 101 106 118
                           119 125 128 135 137 139 140 141 142 143 146 156
                           157 161 166 167 168 172 173 174 179 181 182 184
                           189 190 191 193 198 199 205 210 213 214 216 225
                           226 245 250 267 270 295 296 327 331 332 352 355
                           357 358 363
Discrimination             79
Diversity                  149 150 151 152 158 167 226 227 268 283
Docility                   79 203 204
Dynamism                   40 91 120 130 133 145 147 169 203 213 296 331
                           334 358
Earthly goods              115
Ecclesial                  Pres. 4 17 19 21 22 25 26 28 33 35 77 79 80 118
                           133 151 159 167 168 169 170 179 194 229 235 236
                           243 249 256 258 260 263 266 267 268 271 273 280
                           286 296 298 303 327 334 347 350 355
Ecclesial community /ies   4 19 21 77 170 179 194 235 243 249 256 258 263
Ecclesial identity         22 28 286
Ecology                    291 292
Economy                    52 61 63 72 124 159
Education                  51 76 159 258 259 262 263 264 268 284 285 287
                           308 323 344 345
Education ministry         259 285 286
Educator                   282 294
Encounter                  Pres. 4 6 15 19 26 77 90 96 104 119 134 154 155
                           166 172 185 186 188 200 223 251 253 258 267 274
                           275 285 287 296 313 331 332 351 352 361
Episcopacy                 Pres. 17 34
Era(s)                     2 31 56 70 74 145 203 224 353
Eucharist                  13 32 103 146 150 154 156 157 184 237 241 243
                           254 270 275 313 357
Evaluation                 325 334 335
Evolutionary state         321
Evangelization             Pres. 6 9 11 14 18 19 21 22 23 24 25 79 82 140 158
                           162 165 166 171 174 177 185 187 188 198 201 227
                           235 249 264 304 330 336 340 348
Event(s)                   Pres. 11 15 19 26 37 44 93 94 105 134 136 138 139
                           182 351 359 360 362
Experience                 4 16 17 21 39 42 43 45 59 61 88 96 117 153 155
                           166 179 200 201 225 229 235 236 237 247 251 268
                           282 288 299 302 305 309 311 313 324 326 334 351
                           352 362
Face(s)                    31 49 52 53 55 68 104 113 187 189 242 350
Family                     1 51 55 65 67 70 73 76 77 157 159 161 181 196 212
                        218 254 256 258 261 262 265 277 286 292 293 301
                        315 338 340
Family ministry         65 261 262
Faith                   Pres. 3 8 13 16 20 26 32 35 39 44 51 64 88 89 103
                        110 113 136 146 147 150 152 154 157 161 178 186
                        187 193 205 220 250 258 261 264 271 272 293 294
                        310 311 312 313 330 338 339 340 351 352 353 356
                        359 363
Father                  Pres. 12 17 113 185 212 245 258 261 286 288 315
Fidelity                Pres. 2 4 46 55 81 104 118 138 144 149 151 251
                        274 283
Following               143 156 166 186 238 267 293 295 296 297 325
Formation               20 33 74 77 82 143 182 231 234 246 249 259 267
                        269 276 277 281 286 287 294 299 300 305 306 307
                        308 310 311 315 316 318 322 325 331 361
Formation centers       276 277 307
Formation process       33 294 308 315
Fraternity              8 10 55 92 153 157 192 209 344 357
Freedom                 43 45 46 55 57 58 66 72 74 75 107 127 130 173 204
                        217 285 309 331 336 344
Friendship              55 102 109 118 165 206
Gaze                    1 31 36 80 83 84 110 132 204 341 354
General Conference(s)   Pres. 17 18 20 21 22 23 24 27 34 78 83 227 230 233
Gender                  66
Globalization           10 59 60 61 287 342
God the Father          29 35 36 41 42 91 97 240
Gospel                  Pres. 2 4 11 23 79 84 111 129 130 148 164 165 168
                        169 173 184 186 187 194 203 207 211 217 225 226
                        227 231 241 246 250 256 261 264 272 278 283 301
                        311 324 326 333 337 338 339 347 350
Government(s)           70 73 262 290
Group(s)                Pres. 64 71 79 82 98 126 147 228 229 230 234 243
                        272 291 292 294 304 318 326 329 330 332 334 348
Growth                  55 65 68 124 145 217 273 290 313 321 330
Happiness               11 47 53 55 109 115 344
Hedonism                65
Hegemony                62
Holiness                2 42 84 88 139 145 157 173 194 211 216 240 250
                        306 330
Hope (s)                4 5 6 8 14 29 39 54 55 84 115 116 118 132 146 153
                        188 190 195 205 230 250 259 280 337 338 347 350
                        354 360 361
Holy Spirit             33 35 38 76 113 114 141 146 151 152 160 174 178
                        184 189 198 204 211 217 256 257 330 359
Human being             22 41 44 45 46 47 57 62 64 78 85 91 113 119 121
                        125 128 171 173 183 206 207 220 221 288 292 332
                        336 337 361
Human development            37 186 321
Human development            21 23
Humanism                     66 287 336
Human person                 4 7 11 24 58 71 124 147 261 285 291 336 344
Human rights                 60 71 120
Humility                     220

Identity(ies)                1 6 7 16 19 22 28 33 58 82 88 89 101 115 127 128
                             129 140 170 212 226 231 234 245 248 260 264 286
                             294 299 313 329 339
Inequality(ies) Inequity     61 63 336
Idolatry                     115
Impulse                      Pres. 19 199 212 213 257 286 356 357 360
Inculturation                6 264 339 341
Indigenous                   6 50 119 264 345
Individualism                62 117 210 229 329
Injustice                    116 288
Insertion                    35 120 249 360
Inspiration                  Pres. 140 187 227
Intellectual                 246 299 300 303 306 310
Interdisciplinary            266
Interpretation               81
Jesus Christ                 Pres. 1 3 22 23 24 26 27 28 32 35 37 41 58 77 79 82
                             83 84 85 86 90 91 96 97 98 99 102 104 108 111 112
                             116 117 123 127 131 133 134 135 136 141 142 143
                             146 147 149 158 160 161 164 165 166 168 170 171
                             173 178 181 184 186 194 196 201 205 207 208 210
                             216 218 221 226 264 267 272 287 293 294 296 301
                             306 341 350 357 364
Journey(s) (routes)          1 77 216 229 234 237 262 269 272 296 298 304 305
                             309 313 323 364
Joy                          9 102 109 110 115 147 157 186 202 237
Kerygmatic                   299 313 360
Kingdom                      32 55 84 87 88 90 91 123 124 132 136 144 145 148
                             169 170 176 182 183 184 196 205 225 231 241 253
                             295 297 310 356 360
Kingdom of God               40 88 90 91 92 133 141 304 311
Kingdom of life              86 88 101 122 133 141 145 147 149 173 182 210
Latin America                Pres. 1 3 5 9 10 16 17 18 19 21 22 23 25 26 64 67
                             70 71 72 76 78 120 126 163 186 195 197 232 235
                             240 242 253 274 284 294 295 311 313 314 348
Latin American               Pres. 3 6 9 13 17 20 34 67 153 194 289 351
Latin American integration   345
Latin American people(s)     5 6 15 76 120 162 259
Language(s)                  13 22 57 64 68 72 79 169 223 337 339 343
Lay people                      12 21 77 79 82 159 186 227 229 230 231 232 247
                                250 267 271 272 277 278 279 280 281 291 293 297
                                304 305 316 318 349
Leadership (active involvement) 124 234
Liberation                      21 29 41 42 43 44 47 55 82 120 139 165 217
Life of the Trinity             112 113 114 118
Life, style of                  13 72 79 98 192 193 296 302 304 332 360
Listening                       43 138 140 145 206 213 270
Leadership                      330 331
Love                            2 5 8 9 11 13 14 17 29 36 41 44 46 54 55 64 81 82
                                84 85 88 91 92 95 100 102 108 109 110 111 112
                                114 118 123 128 133 134 135 141 142 143 146
                                164 189 193 194 196 197 200 201 214 215 222 250
                                254 258 261 262 266 271 292 296 331 356
Market                          61 62 63 115 207 284 287 290
Marriage (matrimony)            54 65 67 249 261 262
Mary                            33 49 161 162 174 186 187 190 192 270 274 302
                                362 363 364
Master                          89 98 138 156 157 166 229 250 270 295 297 302
                                333 337
Maturity                        271 304 308 321 330
Method(s)                       31 34 35 36 37 39 79 169 184 203 222 313 322 325
Methodology                     277 313 322 324
Migrants                        52 119 265
Mindset                         59 68 131 233 282 342
Ministry(ies)                   17 21 54 133 143 149 158 176 177 178 182 227 229
                                245 247 260 265 266 268 297 309 311 313 360
Mission                         Pres. 3 12 22 25 26 30 32 33 34 77 81 89 90 98 101
                                129 139 140 141 142 144 147 149 156 158 167 170
                                172 178 182 183 186 188 192 193 196 205 211 218
                                219 220 231 232 234 238 240 243 251 256 257 261
                                273 287 293 296 299 304 305 311 324 334 352 357
                                359 360 361
Missionary(ies)                 Pres. 1 11 12 24 26 27 28 29 33 35 54 81 83 101
                                107 137 149 158 163 167 170 172 177 182 186 187
                                192 194 195 196 200 202 232 234 235 238 253 256
                                264 267 270 272 276 277 286 294 301 304 307 311
                                314 315 318 322 323 328 350 356 358 359 360 361
                                362 364
Missionary disciple (s)         Pres. 1 24 27 28 29 33 35 54 83 101 137 156 170
                                172 182 167 186 187 192 195 196 235 238 264 272
                                276 277 294 304 307 311 314 315 318 322 323328
                                358 359 361 362 364
Model(s)                        57 65 156 186 261 332 362 364
Movement(s)                     77 147 230 234 262 268 272 273 355
Multiplicity (pluralidad)       68 133 226 260

Nearness                            91 94 104 214 225 359
Neoliberalism                       345
New life                            4 85 91 93 96 98 102 107 179 180 181 202 270 296
                                    305 350 354
NGO                                 67
Objetive(s)                         Pres. 262 294 298 325
Option                              58 74 241 286 294 309 310
Option for the poor                 21 79 82 165 224 346
Originality                         5 127 134 353
Parish(es)                          254 268 269 270 271
Participation                       Pres. 14 22 32 33 51 60 63 75 76 77 98 99 103 114
                                    124 145 146 148 180 218 226 227 229 232 245 263
                                    267 268 271 280 281 286 293 314 325 327 328 330
                                    340 345 349
Paschal mystery                     3 32 78 93 95 154 156 183 355 356 357 359
Pastoral (ministry)                 Pres. 4 17 19 22 24 33 34 74 77 82 144 185 203 206
                                    218 219 227 228 234 237 245 247 251 259 262 264
                                    265 266 267 268 271 277 287 296 297 300 306 316
                                    317 318 319 324 325 330 335 343 348
Pedagogy                            33 190 259 304 309 317 318 321 331 332 359
Pentecost                           96 160 175 177 184 234 270 361 363
Pilgrim                             359
People (s)                          Pres. 4 5 6 7 9 10 12 23 37 39 40 42 46 48 50 57 59
                                    68 83 93 95 119 123 141 148 152 153 155 157 158
                                    171 172 186 187 207 220 226 243 264 339 359
People of God                       Pres. 25 32 33 81 141 143 146 154 182 186 227 230
                                    231 237 239 240 249 250 289 297 317 333 357 359
Person                              21 44 48 54 57 77 86 91 98 117 119 137 143 176
                                    186 221 253 260 264 286 288 296 302 312 315 321
                                    334 337 340
Person of Jesus Christ              32 82 86 160 341
Philosophy                          310
Plan(s)                             108 222 260 317 325 348 356
Planning                            325
Pluralism, cultural and religious   74
Politics (policies)                 53 63 68 70 145 159 231 262 278 280 283 290 293
                                    340 345
Popular religiosity                 13 21 77 155
Presbyterate                        243 248 310
Presence                            1 2 4 10 13 21 32 40 49 50 67 94 96 103 104 106
                                    133 145 150 151 168 170 178 187 192 195 205 234
                                    243 249 256 258 260 264 269 279 287 303 305 332
                                    355 359
Process(es)                         3 14 63 72 81 168 185 216 217 253 254 258 259
                                    262 264 269 276 285 286 298 299 300 305 306 309
                                    312 313 318 320 321 332 334 338 339 363
Prophet(s)                          126 134 175 181
                               208 267 277 287
Project(s) (plan)              17 36 37 41 65 80 109 111 123 128 136 165 197
                               218 219 222 232 260 262 267 268 286 287 291 304
                               305 315 325 327 328 356 357 363
Project of life                42 138 158 308 337
Project (plan), the Father‘s   31 40 174 189 296 360
Project of the Kingdom         133 168 204
Quality                        130 258 263 285 286 294 306 330 333 344
Reconciliation                 1 32 72 85 103 147 161 211 270 275
Relation(ship)                 1 28 98 99 102 108 117 118 122 127152 208 245
                               249 266 283 296 339 347
Renewal                        4 14 21 22 32 77 78 79 81 133 144 145 166 169 211
                               222 241 243 268 271 286 287 346
Respect                        9 216 261 264
Road (journey)                 Pres. 4 8 10 12 16 19 25 26 27 48 54 86 95 96 103
                               107 108 110 118 125 144 163 165 170 173 182 185
                               189 191 193 194 205 214 216 217 218 229 238 241
                               270 282 293 294 296 302 305 308 314 330 331 333
                               354 356 357 359
Sacrament                      32 48 54 77 103 133 157 243 357
Sacred                         43 64 121 225 247 249
Salvation                      12 21 42 95 137 138 141 146 156 161 176 178 189
                               193 253 257 266 337
Saint(s)                       Pres. 13 15 17 19 23 24 33 35 38 76 106 112 113
                               114 140 141 146 151 152 160 172 174 175 178 179
                               184 186 189 193 195 198 204 211 217 227 230 233
                               256 257 270 274 317 323 330 359
Sanctuary(ies)                 155 187 274 275 362
Science                        59 124 159 266 291 303 310 315 318 324 339
Scripture – Bible              96 109 135 137 140 175 184 204 322 332 356
Search                         1 18 39 43 62 64 65 82 155 222 282 283 322 336
Seminary(ies)                  Pres. 306 307 309 310
Service(s)                     2 8 29 32 44 61 63 76 79 84 92 93 129 133 138 140
                               141 149 157 178 182 185 190 197 215 219 220 222
                               227 228 229 238 241 242 245 254 264 268 271 272
                               284 291 296 297 299 302 303 304 309 313 314 321
                               324 327 330 333
Sexuality                      109 262 308
Sign(s)                        4 7 8 13 39 81 94 109 133 141 145 165 210 234 239
                               241 243 258 287 306 337 338 355 356
Signs of the times             3 40 68 204
Sin                            41 46 47 48 49 79 85 96 117 122 124 142 165 183
Skills                         328
Social life                    51 62 70 72 73 165 166 170 214 231 278 280 293

Solidarity               1 6 8 9 10 26 29 52 60 77 149 191 214 228 237 253
                         261 286 287 331 338 341
Spirituality             33 64 79 82 144 193 198 199 208 209 212 213 227
                         252 277 360
State (s)                53 72 207 263 285 288
Structure (e)            23 52 53 73 80 122 123 124 149 167 169 203 241
                         260 262 271 343
Subjectivity             57 58 75
Task(s)                  Pres. 79 81 84 101 160 188 212 215 218 222 247
                         257 269 279 281 286 287 288 294 295 316 330 337
                         339 357 361
Team                     Pres. 305 327 329
Technique (technology)   61 124 324
Technology               57 287 291 339
Theology                 77 82 266 310
Testimony (witness)      26 46 50 77 82 103 104 120 164 184 185 186 193
                         194 231 242 243 273 278 281 287 293 330 332 352
Transformation           21 79 91 169 224 280 288 314
Transcendence            8 64 105 142
Trinity                  112 113 114 118 123 143 146 147 166
Truth                    Pres. 4 11 22 27 39 42 43 48 58 72 79 81 82 84 86
                         96 105 108 131 138 168 171 173 180 189 207 229
                         250 268 282 287 296 303 322 349
Unity                    6 10 27 54 58 147 150 151 226 243 267 299
Urban                    68 236
Value(s)                 Pres. 10 62 66 82 84 86 115 176 225 231 238 261
                         275 276 278 279 281 285 287 288 296 299 331 336
Violence                 52 53 69 72 265 344
Vocation                 Pres. 2 26 34 45 47 48 74 101 127 140 172 197 211
                         212 214 226 250 251 256 260 267 276 279 283 287
                         288 294 297 298 308 333 349 356
Vocational ministry      259 333
Voices of God            81
Vulnerability            258
Well-being               62 65 69
Witness(es)              93 96 101 137 179 186 195 196 201 202 210 243
Woman (women)            4 39 44 47 51 55 69 79 90 119 142 172 175 178 186
                         189 190 191 194 210 230 239 246 260 261 296 333
                         341 362
Word                     32 43 86 87 100 103 134 135 136 137 138 139 140
                         143 152 161 168 178 184 188 196 205 206 228 275
                         323 358 362
Word of God      14 77 115 117 134 136 139 206 235 243 254 362
Work             Pres. 22 34 52 81 159 211 237 263 266 278 287 288
                 289 327 329 340 344
World            3 16 22 37 41 46 48 56 57 78 82 92 96 97 105 113
                 114 115 116 119 122 123 126 127 131 133 135 140
                 142 143 145 147 150 159 167 168 172 173 176 181
                 184 185 187 188 200 208 210 212 214 215 226 227
                 230 231 238 255 258 260 270 272 288 292 299 301
                 302 304 314 330 340 342 345 352 354 355 356 360
Worthy life      52 84 108 111 119 120 121 124 164 290 356
Youth            52 55 65 186 246 259 269 285 306 307 312 316
Youth ministry   259 316

                               TABLE OF CONTENTS

                                                               #       Page
INTRODUCTION                                                   1-39

   1. Toward a Church of disciples and missionaries            1-4

   2. Our Latin American originality
        2.1 A continent of hope                                5-10
        2.2 Dedication to evangelization                       11-15

   3. In communion with the Universal Church
         3.1 Mutual enrichment on the journey of faith      16-17
         3.2 The four General Conferences and the Synod for 18-26

   4. The Path of the Fifth Conference                         27-39
        4.1 Core themes                                        27-30
        4.2 Content and method of this document                31-39


   1. God the Father‘s Plan of Love                            41
        1.1 God, source of life and liberation for Israel      42-43
        1.2 God creates man and woman so that they may live    44-45
        1.3 Sin, negation of the life intended by God          46-48

   2. Faces that Question Us                                   49-55

   3. Change of Era and challenges                             56
        3.1 Pluralism and emergence of subjectivity            57-58
        3.2 Impact of globalization                            59-61
        3.3 Hegemony of the economic and techno-scientific     62-63
        3.4 Entry of the sacred and search for transcendence   64
        3.5 Crisis of the family                               65-67
        3.6 Urban culture                                      68-69
        3.7 The exercise of power in Latin America             70-73

   4. The Church in this change of era
        4.1 A Church questioned                                74-75
        4.2 The rich vitality of the Church                    76-78
        4.3 Deficiencies to correct                            79

   Conclusion                                                  80-83

   1. Jesus Christ, new life of the Father                          85-86
         1.1 Life is Jesus                                          87-95
               1.1.1 The God of the life becomes present in Jesus
               of Nazareth
               1.1.2 Jesus of Nazareth reveals the Kingdom of his
               1.1.3 The paschal mystery, source of new life
         1.2 The new life in the encounter with the Risen One       96-107
               1.2.1 Jesus Christ, new life
               1.2.2 Disciples through the new life of Jesus Christ
               1.2.3 Different presences of Jesus Christ alive

   2. Jesus Christ calls to a worthy and happy life
         2.1 In relationship with God                                  108-116
               2.1.1 In the face of a meaningless life, Jesus opens
               to us the life of the Trinity
               2.1.2 In the face of the idolatry of earthly goods,
               Jesus presents life in God as supreme value
         2.2 In relationship with others                               117-121
               2.2.1 In the face of individualism, Jesus calls to
               living and journeying together
               2.2.2 In the face of exclusion, Jesus defends the
               rights of the weak and a worthy life for every
               human being
         2.3 In relationship with the world                            122-126
               2.3.1 In the face of structures of death, Jesus makes
               present his Kingdom of life
               2.3.2 In the face of nature in jeopardy, Jesus calls
               to caring for the earth
         2.4 In relation to oneself                                    127-132
               2.4.1 In the face of depersonalization, Jesus helps
               build integrated identities
               2.4.2 In the face of hedonistic subjectivism, Jesus
               proposes surrendering life to gain it

   3. The Church, sacrament of the Kingdom of life, in constant 133-162
        3.1 The Church poised to hear the Word                  134-140
             3.1.1 Jesus Christ, living Word of God
             3.1.2 The Church, disciple and messenger of the
        3.2 The Church at the service of the Kingdom            141-145
             3.2.1 The Church, people of God, makes present
             the mission of Jesus Christ
              3.2.2 The Church is constantly renewed in dialogue
              with the world
        3.3 The Church, people of God in communion and 146-152
              3.3.1 Communion of men and women disciples
              3.3.2 Participation in an organic community
              3.3.3 Unity in diversity
        3.4 The Church, space of celebration                     153-157
              3.4.1 Celebration of life
              3.4.2 The Eucharist, core of Christian life
        3.5 The Church, missionary community                     158-162
              3.5.1 The missionary Church
              3.5.2 Mary, mother, disciple, and missionary

   4. Some major criteria                                          163-171
        4.1 Christological criteria                                164-166
        4.2 Ecclesial criteria                                     167-169
        4.3 Missionary criteria                                    170-171


   1. The Spirit animates the Church‘s evangelization              174-181
        1.1 The Spirit of God in the Father‘s Plan                 174-176
        1.2 The Church of the Spirit                               177-178
        1.3 The Holy Spirit, new life of the disciples             179-181

   2. The missionary people of God at the service of the Kingdom   182-252
        2.1 Missionary disciples                                   182-185
        2.2 The great models of missionary discipleship            186-197
              2.2.1 Mary journeys with our Peoples
              2.2.2 The apostles and the saints
              2.2.3 All witnesses at the outset of the third
        2.3 The disciple‘s spirituality of action                  198-212
              2.3.1 The experience of the love of God awakens
              missionary ardor
              2.3.2 Docile to the newness of the Spirit
              2.3.3 Trust and boldness
              2.3.4 Spirituality of communion
              2.3.5 Vocation, mission, and holiness
        2.4 The style of the disciple‘s action                     213-225
              2.4.1 Closeness and solidarity in social life
              2.4.2 Deep respect for different personal and
              group processes
              2.4.3 Organic ministry as expression of full
              2.4.4 Willingness for humble heartfelt service
             2.4.5 Constant creativity and renewal
             2.4.6 Permanent option for the poorest
       2.5 Diversity of identities in communion and 226-252
             2.5.1 Diversity of charisms, ministries, and services
             2.5.2 Lay movements, associations, and groups
             2.5.3 Basic Christian communities
             2.5.4 Communities of consecrated life
             2.5.5 Priesthood and permanent deaconate
             2.5.6 Bishops and Bishops Conferences

  3. Building the Kingdom in Latin America and the Caribbean       253-293
       3.1 Major realms of mission                                 256-293
             3.1.1 Personal and family realms
             3.1.2 Ecclesial realms
             3.1.3 Social realms

  4. The process of formation of missionary disciples              294-310
       4.1 Dynamism of inspiration                                 296-297
       4.2 General criteria                                        298-310
             4.2.1 A comprehensive, ongoing and kerygmatic
             4.2.2 A formation attentive to different dimensions
             4.2.3 A formation respectful of persons
             4.2.4 Some accents in the formation of priests
       4.3 Catechesis, key experience in the formation of the      311-316
       disciple missionary
       4.4 The need for pastoral pedagogy                          317-335
             4.4.1 A pedagogy for the integral growth of persons
             4.4.2 A methodology to educate in missionary
             4.4.3 A technology at the service of the Gospel
             4.4.4 Teamwork
             4.4.5 Accompaniment and leadership
             4.4.6 Culture of evaluation

  5. Our fundamental concerns                                      336-349
       5.1 Evangelization of culture                               336-341
       5.2 More particular concerns                                342-349
             5.2.1 Of a cultural nature
             5.2.2 Of a social nature
             5.2.3 Of an ecclesial nature

  Conclusion                                                       350

GENERAL CONCLUSION                                                 351-364

  1. A Church questioned by Jesus                                  353-355
    2. A Church invited to discernment and nourished by Jesus   356-358

    3. A Church sent by Jesus                                   359-361

    4. A Church that has the Mother of Jesus as model           362-364

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