In the wake of the September disappearance of 43 students in Mexico, the country’s bishops pled on Wednesday for an end to the incessant violence entrenching the nation, and called on citizens to help build a society rooted in justice. “The bishops of Mexico say: enough is enough! We don't want any more blood. We don't want any more death. We don't want any more disappearances. We don't want any more pain or anymore shame,” a Nov. 12 statement released by the Mexican bishops' conference read. On Sept. 26, the students disappeared in the town of Iguala, in Guerrero state. They had been protesting in the town, and city police say they intercepted the students on the orders of the mayor, who wanted to prvent them from disrupting a speech being given by his wife. The police reportedly handed the students over to a local drug gang. It is believed the gang killed the students, and burned their bodies. Violent protests have arisen across the country over the disappearances. The bishops' statement addressed the long-standing and deeply-rooted thread of violence that has gripped the nation due to the ongoing drug war, and political corruption. They joined their voices to “the widespread cry for a Mexico in which truth and justice provoke a profound transformation of the institutional, judicial and political order, to ensure that events like this never happen again.” Violence, they said, only serves to damage human relationships, breed mistrust, wound people by poisoning them with resentment, fear and a desire for revenge. It also affects the economy, the bishops noted, as well as the quality of democracy and the establishment of peace. The bishops recognized that the state of the country “has deteriorated, triggering a true national crisis” in which many live in a constant state of fear and mistrust due to the activity of criminal groups and corrupt political leaders. “In our vision of faith, these events make it clear that we have turned away from God,” the statement read, explaining that this is clearly seen in the society’s disregard for truth and human dignity, as well as a growing sense of inequality and disrespect for life. However, the Mexican bishops acknowledged that in spite of the dire situation of the country, many citizens seem to have awoken and taken a stand against the corruption and “complicity” of certain authorities. They called for the current protests surrounding the disappearance of the students to turn into concrete proposals of creating road to peace which “favors dialogue and transparent agreements, without vested interests.” A true democracy that guarantees respect for the law, work and the security of future generations is at stake, they said, explaining that it is up to each citizen to find solutions according to a “new mentality and heart” that seeks a sincere and harmonious coexistence. In order to overcome the current crisis, “an institutional order, laws and justice that generates trust are needed,” as well as the participation of everyone seeking the common good, the bishops said. Otherwise, “power remains in the hands of the few.” The bishops expressed their closeness and solidarity to those suffering due to violence, and reminded citizens that peace comes from Christ, present in the Eucharist and in scripture. “With this certainty, we re-double our promise to form, animate and motivate our diocesan communities to accompany jointly and spiritually the victims of violence across the country.” Collaborative efforts in generating peace and reconciliation, the said, ought to include the establishment of a genuine rule of law in Mexico, as well as preaching the Gospel to families, and accompanying them so as to ensure the stay away from violence. The Mexican bishops also offered their gratitude to Pope Francis for his “proximity and concern” regarding the situation, as he has spoken of the tragic disappearance of the students on two public occasions, one being in yesterday’s general audience. On Dec. 12, which marks the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the bishops of Mexico will hold a day of prayer asking for peace, and for the conversion of all Mexicans, specifically those who commit violent acts. “May Holy Mary of Guadalupe, Mother of the true God for whom we live, who claims her missing children and who prays for peace in Mexico, intercede for us so that a flood of love enable us to reconstruct the damaged society.”
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