Diaspora

Haiti's Catholic bishops launch cry of alarm before Christmas – La Croix International

Archbishop Max Leroy Mesidor of Port-au-Prince, October 31, 2021. (Photo by ADREES LATIF/REUTERS)
The Catholic bishops of Haiti have appealed to the international community and Haitian politicians to urgently find solutions to the institutional, economic and social chaos affecting their impoverished Caribbean nation.
“We cannot remain indifferent to the tragic events of the last few months,” the bishops say in a pre-Christmas message published on December 18.
“Shouldn’t such a situation of socio-economic and political chaos challenge the conscience of those who have responsibilities in the international community, and bring them to work in synergy, to help us heal this wound and promote respect for universal rights?” the Catholic prelates ask.
“And our political leaders, do they not also feel more worried than ever because of this chaotic and catastrophic situation which shows no sign of slowing down?” they continue.
The situation in Haiti has been out of control for years, and in recent months it has worsened after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse on July 7 and an earthquake last August.
Since the beginning of 2021, there have been no fewer than 1,000 kidnappings in the country.
The bishops appeal to the personal and collective conscience to make “a moral and patriotic leap”.
“As we show our solidarity with the pain of all those who are victims of kidnappings, rapes and violence of all kinds, we entrust to God’s mercy the souls of our innocent brothers and sisters who have fallen under the bullets of heavily armed groups,” the bishops write.
They strongly condemn “these fratricidal acts” and demand that “truth, order and justice be restored with the authority of the State”.
On the night of December 13-14, an oil tanker exploded in the north of the country, in Cap-Haitien, killing approximately 75 people.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, Pope Francis called for prayers for the Haitian people.
“They are good people, religious people, but they are suffering so much,” he said during his Wednesday General Audience on December 25.
In their pre-Christmas message, the Haitian bishops also recall the pope’s words following the Sunday Angelus prayer on October 31.
“I am also thinking of the people of Haiti who are living in extreme conditions,” the pope said. “I ask the leaders of nations to help this country, not to leave it on its own.”
“Many of our compatriots are forced to leave the country, thinking that they can find the well-being to which they aspire elsewhere. Unfortunately, they are very often victims of abuse and discrimination,” the Haitian bishops note.
The Church leaders insist that “the principles related to the respect for human dignity be applied to all”.
(Additional reporting from the Italian Catholic news service SIR.)

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