At General Audience, Pope Appeals for “Sincere Dialogue” in Paraguay

Given the Political, Social and Health Crisis

Pope at General Audience in Library - Copyright: Vatican Media
Pope at General Audience in Library - Copyright: Vatican Media

Pope Francis said that in recent weeks he has been “concerned about the news arriving from Paraguay,” and he appealed  for “sincere dialogue to find adequate solutions to the present difficulties and thus build together the longed for peace.”

At the end of the General Audience in Wednesday, March 17, 2021, the Holy Father reminded that  “violence is always self-destructive, nothing is gained by it, instead, much is lost and sometimes everything.”

Political, Social and Health Crisis

As “Vatican News “ reported last Sunday, March 14, 2021, a series of protests took place the previous week, primarily in Asuncion, the capital, against Mario Abdo Benitez’s Government. They continued but less intensely, after the red health alert given the increase in COVID-19 infections.

The protest movement included students, professionals, employees and citizens dissatisfied with the Authorities’ handling of health issues and the implied governmental corruption. The protests, which began on March 5, witnessed acts of violence and repression.

Statement of the Episcopate

In face of the social and political turmoil, the Paraguayan Episcopal Conference issued a press release in which it called for “listening and peace,” while at the same time condemning the violence that occurred during the popular manifestations.

The Bishops also highlighted the right of citizens to appeal peacefully in matters regarding “gestures, actions and, especially, results in public management, both for the pandemic as well as for the poorest and most vulnerable.