The Argentine Episcopal Conference expressed deep concern on Tuesday about employment, redundancies, closure of factories, as well as with crime and drugs. The Conference's standing committee met with delegates from the different regions to address the pastoral situation and later a review of socio-economic conditions.
Bishops are concerned with employment instability, redundancies, suspensions and the closure of factories, said Jorge Oesterheld, spokesperson for the Conference, adding that the high rates of crime and drugs addiction are also issues that concern.
The meeting was held in anticipation of the Conference's assembly next November when new authorities will be elected. The conference currently has Monsignor Jose Maria Arencedo as president and could be re-elected for another three years.
Employment and redundancies are always issues of the heart for the Church and as the socio-economic situation is beginning to show the signals we are seeing, this creates much concern for social issues in general and the lack of jobs in particular, added Oesterheld.
However the bishop admitted that 'so far' we are working with information published in the media and from the Social Debt Observatory from the Argentine Catholic University, which refers to a scenario a bit outdated, from a year ago, but it already had some indicators to be considered.
Regarding unemployment the bishop said that the Social Pastoral holds regular meetings as well as with different government circumstances: that is where we present the issues but this time I think we are more focused on internal issues.
So no document on the current socio-economic situation can be expected, underlined Oesterheld.
As to crime rates, the bishop said it was a very serious problem of much concern for the whole society and for the bishops since it is in the places of greatest poverty and marginality where the crime and insecurity are highest.
It's hard and unfair to make comparisons in these issues but it is plain clear that the poor are the most vulnerable and punished as crime and insecurity increase.
Oesterheld also underlined that the Church was against decriminalizing drugs and particularly concerned with a bus-clinic in the province of Buenos Aires involved in abortions when doctors refuse to perform them: this is against life and medics who are conscientious objectors.
Finally the bishop said that last Sunday in all churches and parishes following Pope Francis instructions, we prayed for peace in the world, in Gaza and particularly for the situation of Christians in Iraq which is extremely dangerous.