“Invitation to believe in the other” Panamanian Archbishop

by | Nov 6, 2012 | Justice and Peace

“As Church,” the Archbishop of Panama stated, “we have initiated a  program called, “the Panama that we desire”. He calls for people to  “believe in the other”, “believe in freedom” , “the value of truth”  and “plan a future that includes all Panamanians.” As one reads this message celebrating Independence Day in Panama, it is evident how this program applies to more than just Panama.

“Let us begin with social reconciliation among all the sectors of society and with strengthening our ability to enter into dialogue with others.  We must recognize that social reconciliation does not mean that we look at history as though the past never happened.  Rather reconciliation is a process in which individuals who live in confrontational situations put aside the destructive elements of their relationship and together seek new constructive forms that will enable them to repair the past, build the present and prepare for the future.”

These words of exhortation were proclaimed by the Archbishop of Panama, José Domingo Ulloa Mendieta on the occasion of the 109th anniversary of the independence of Panama.

During the Te Deum which was celebrated in the Metropolitan Cathedral, Archbishop Ulloa also stated: another one of our tasks is to once again “believe in the other” and recover this value of trust that allows us to relate with one another, to respect our differences because our relationship is founded on the truth, on a sincere and transparent dialogue.  He then explained that dialogue does not mean we convince another but rather that we seek a consensus in order to achieve the common good.

The Archbishop also said that “it is imperative that we believe in freedom” as an essential dimension of the human person and as an inherent gift that is bestowed on men and women.  This freedom is necessary in order for people to fulfill their transcendent vocation as they journey through history.  This gift of freedom leads to civic participation in society, that is, effective participation in the economic, social and political order.

The Archbishops reflected on “the value of truth” and highlighted the fact that “the trust is essential for justice and for the rebuilding of society.”  This reality is confirmed by Benedict XVI when he stated: where lies and falsehood are sown, suspicion and divisions flourish and the possibility for peaceful social relationships become suffocated. 

The Archbishop also said that “we need a plan for the nation, a plan that reaffirms our common identity, that establishes public policy through consensus and agreement that will endure beyond various changes in government and that will also become reference points for the Nation.”

Therefore” we must look at our past history in order to plan a future that includes all Panamanians.”

As Church, he stated, “we have initiated a  program called, “the Panama that we desire” … this initiative was begun by a group of Catholic professionals that we are accompanying.  This initiative is based on the Christian ideal that is impregnated with a Panamanian perspective.  At the same time this initiative is open to everyone, including non-Christians, because we are convinced that this process will enable us to reinvent ourselves, to rebuild ourselves as a nation and to recover our dreams and find a path that will enable these dreams to become a reality.”

We must all engage in the task of rebuilding Panama.  We have an obligation to engage in this task every day, to engage in this task honestly, giving consideration to the interests of others before our own interests.  This supposes an attitude of heroism so that we do not grow weary, so that in our concrete situation we believe and hope that, with the grace of God, we can give our children a new Panama.  Therefore it is important that we move beyond words and dreams.



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