January 2, 2023 / 4:49 p.m.
Bishop Fabián González Balsa, Auxiliary Bishop of Río Gallegos, Argentina’s southernmost diocese, referred to the reality that society is living and warned against a “culture of death”.
The Prelate stressed that the city of Las Heras, where he is pastor of the parish of San José, although it is a large population with job opportunities, is also “a city hungry for God”.
“I see a city with great pain, I see a city with a high percentage of drug addiction, people who unfortunately commit suicide; I see the issue of violence as complex, all kinds of violence, it’s sad,” he lamented, in dialogue with FM Las Heras.
By evoking the problem of addictions, he considers that the State must remedy it by taking measures.
“We are not a country that just consumes, but also consumes, sells, exports and produces,” he warned.
First, he said, “we have to come to terms with this reality that we see, as well as the more sociable or ‘permissible’ addictions, like alcohol.”
The second step, he said, is to fix it. “It seems to me that institutions, whatever they are, must accept this reality and not avoid it, understanding that it is a state policy.”
In the province of Santa Cruz, territory of the diocese of Río Gallegos, suicide statistics are the highest in Argentina and triple the national average rate.
Asked about the matter, the bishop admitted that he did not know the reasons, but as a priest he accompanies the families, “because they come to get you when the person has already made his decision” and s is committed suicide.
“I think there are many reasons, and the reasons are also very complex, for example the pressure load, the sadness, the anguish, the deepest part.”
In this sense, he considers that there are areas to improve: “call it the school, the club; call it family, recreation”.
“These are areas that I think need to be supported and helped, so that they are natural areas of containment. But then you have to approach it from a science perspective,” he explained.
(The article continues later)
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“It’s a problem in Argentina, as elsewhere, but beyond the personal or family problem, or the reasons they have, there is often something cultural.”
“Without realizing it, the culture of death, addictions, violence, suicide has taken hold,” lamented the prelate.
“Not taking care of the environment is a culture of death, polluting is a culture of death, the fact that there are no opportunities at work or in studies is a culture of death”, a- he listed.
“There are things that set in and sometimes unfortunately they are steeped in the culture of death, like a release and a way out.”
Bishop González Balsa also referred to the rates of poverty and destitution, which are very high in Argentina. The latest report from the Argentine Catholic University indicated the figure of 18 million poor, or 53% of the population.
The city of Las Heras, he observed, “is not foreign to any reality, neither to indigence, nor to poverty, because one can also have a job, but these are precarious jobs”.
Even with work, he observed, people can be “below the poverty line because of the inflation we have.”
“In a rich country, with such high poverty rates, this is serious,” he warned.