LATIN AMERICA: FROM 13TH TO 31ST MAY, IN APARECIDA (BRAZIL), THE V CELAM CONFERENCE. THE POPE’S VISIT AND A GREAT MISSION (2)

A group of 9 experts are working now at the 2,500 pages sent to Bogotà, to develop a summary document that will act as the operating tool for the bishops during the 18 days of the general Conference. The subjects to be discussed by the Latin American Bishops include: cults, the outcasts, poverty, violence, drug dealing, women, the young, political changes. "Many of our devotees are leaving the Church – said Gutiérrez –, so we have to ask why this is happening. The first answer, i.e. that the cults are to blame, does not convince us. The true problem lies in the weakness of our believers, who do not stay firm in their faith". It was the Pope who decided to hold the Conference at Aparecida (Quito and Rome had been nominated as well), one of the most famous sanctuaries in Latin America, where the Black Virgin is visited by over 8 million pilgrims a year. In this village, with a population of 30,000, the Redemptorists run a sanctuary that can host approximately 35,000 people in a celebration hall. The Conference will be held downstairs. At the past conferences, the Pope’s visit had been attended by 2,000 journalists, 500 of whom also followed the rest of the conference. The same figures are expected this year as well.

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