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Most Reverend Marcos McGrath
Archbishop of Panama
President, Episcopal Conference of Panama
Av. Mexico, No. 2485
Dear Archbishop McGrath:
During our celebration of the Paschal mystery in which the attention of all Christians is directed to the suffering, death and resurrection of our Savior, I write to express our full support and ecclesial solidarity with you, your fellow bishops, and all the suffering people of Panama.
Last November, the bishops of our conference publicly commended the "repeated calls of the Panamanian bishops for full and effective promotion of civil rights and the democratic process," with particular concern for the rights and well-being of the poorest. Your conference of bishops and the Archdiocese of Panama have continued in the months since to press those same concerns with still more urgent statements and actions.
The voice of the Church in Panama has been clear and consistent, denouncing the instances of civic corruption and state violence that have tragically become so much a part of recent news reports. Your most recent statements are further demonstrations of courageous pastoral leadership in the midst of great turmoil. We share your concerns and stand with the bishops of Panama in your defense of human rights and social justice.
You have also warned against the danger of foreign intervention. In our November statement we also called on our own government to be "fully respectful of Panama's national sovereignty and the 1977 Torrijos-Carter treaties, while stressing respect for and promotion of human and social rights and the democratic process." We continue to urge our own national leaders to exercise the greatest care in balancing pursuit of legitimate U.S. interests in the region with the essential quest for a peaceful and just settlement of this crisis, truly respecting national sovereignty, and seeking the widest cooperation of the other American states.
The suffering of these days, we know in faith, will give way to joy. As we celebrate the Lord's Resurrection, let me assure you that the people of Panama, especially those whose suffering is today the greatest, will be very much in our prayers. May the triumph of the Paschal mystery serve to strengthen us all.
Fraternally yours in Christ,
Most Reverend John L. May
Archbishop of St. Louis
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