Meeting of the Bishops of America

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Meeting of the Bishops of America
February 12-14, 2001
Clearwater, FL United States of America

For Immediate Release

A Call for Increased cooperation on Addressing the Issue of Migration in the Hemisphere

Over the last two days, bishops from Latin America, Canada and the United States held their annual meeting to discuss matters of critical concern for Church and society in the Western hemisphere. The meeting was the third since the publication of Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in America calling for the development of closer links among people of this hemisphere in the new millennium. Last year’s meeting, whose principal theme was international debt, was held in Vancouver, Canada.

The group was pleased by the success of the Church’s advocacy in reducing the international debt. This was acknowledged by Pope John Paul II in his most recent Apostolic letter Novo Millennio Ineunte when he stated:

I am happy to note that recently the Parliaments of many creditor States have voted a substantial remission of the bilateral debt of the poorest and most indebted countries… The question of multilateral debt contracted by poorer countries with international financial organizations has shown itself to be a rather more problematic issue.

At this year’s meeting, representative bishops from the Consejo Episcopal Latinoamericano (CELAM, the Latin American Bishops’ Council), the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), and the USA National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) made reports on the issue of migration in the Western hemisphere. The bishops gave particular attention to the causes, effects and pastoral responses to the phenomenon of migration in the continent.

The issues of economic globalization and the effect it has as a causative factor on migration were central to their discussions. They endorsed the “globalization of solidarity”, a phrase often used by the Holy Father, and called for greater efforts to assure that human rights and responsibilities remain at the centre of concerns for economic, political and social development.

The bishops pledged themselves to find new means of cooperation for the pastoral care of those who exercise the basic right to migrate. They also addressed the issues of undocumented migration and the drain of human resources from the countries of Latin America. At the same time, they called for greater cooperation to promote economic development in the South.

Acknowledging the recent meeting between Prime Minister Jean Chrétien of Canada and the newly elected President of the United Sates, as well as the forthcoming encounter between Presidents George W. Bush and Vincente Fox of Mexico, the bishops expressed the hope that these leaders include in their discussions on international cooperation the need to humanize economic globalization by taking more fully into account the challenges of migration.

For More information Contact:
Deacon William Kokesch
Director, Communications Service


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