News 12 Dec 2023

Fighting Political Corruption in Latin America

Supported by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), the Academy of Catholic Leaders seeks to equip individuals for undertaking political responsibilities. The year 2023 has left a lasting impact on the future of Latin American politics. The electoral calendar encompassed general elections in Paraguay, Argentina, and Guatemala, along with legislative elections in Chile and Peru. In democratic nations, elections bear significant implications for citizens' economy, security, social justice, and human rights. Nevertheless, in numerous regions globally, Christians shun political involvement, displaying reluctance to engage both politically and economically within society.

Jose Antonio Rosas, the Director-General of the Academy of Catholic Leaders, asserts that there exists a misunderstanding of the Faith among many Catholics. They often retreat from the world, viewing it as a source of insurmountable problems. He elucidated this point during a visit to the ACN headquarters. According to him, the misconception that politics is corrupt has resulted in a dearth of politicians reflecting Christian values, even in countries with a substantial Catholic population, such as in the Americas.

"Politics does indeed sometimes corrupt, but this necessitates committed politicians with a Christian sense of responsibility. If we desire results, we must participate, we must engage in the game," Rosas contends. Nevertheless, the 47-year-old Mexican asserts that a good Christian must also be a good citizen, and politics serves as the ideal instrument to advance the common good of the entire community.

The region of Latin America grapples with several problems, as per the Academy's Director. Numerous demonstrations across the region indicate a deeper social crisis. However, Christian leaders are notably scarce. Rosas laments this absence and notes that politicians with a more atheistic inclination often fare better during social upheavals, which may eventually devolve into anarchy.

The Academy of Catholic Leaders endeavors to rectify this lack of commitment by training individuals dedicated to Christian values, capable of positively influencing society. "Active participation in politics is the sole means by which we can effect positive change in society," he emphasizes.

Training in Catholic Social Doctrine proves pivotal for Catholic leaders. Rosas underscores that this training extends beyond theoretical study; it involves shaping consciences to transform individuals into Good Samaritans. He states, "Manuals can be invaluable tools, but in the face of human suffering, compassion is indispensable." According to Rosas, compassion is the key to bringing about change.

The Academy of Catholic Leaders strives to emphasize the consequences of fostering a personal relationship with Jesus, without imposing any specific ideology or moral code. "Lay Catholics must engage in politics with a strength derived from prayer. Only then can they confront the sacrifice of stepping out of their comfort zones and dedicating their lives to an ideal, to faith, without losing that faith," asserts Rosas. He acknowledges, however, that because politics may lead to isolation, community support is crucial to avoid manipulation.

Rosas expresses gratitude to ACN for its support of this project, particularly in assisting 12 training schools with the basic program. "This training holds particular significance for those in remote and peripheral areas, where we aim to foster social involvement. Thanks to the Academy, many individuals have chosen to enter politics and contribute to the greater good of the community.

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