RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS

Corruption cases discussed at Episcopal Conference

Bishops denounced the perpetrators as "acting out of greed."

The Panamanian Episcopal Conference has issued a statement condemning the acts of corruption from the previous government administration that are currently under investigation.

"These cases have altered the normal development of economic activity in our country to the extent that they have sown distrust in social and government institutions," it said, adding these cases are "derived from human greed."

At the same time, the Catholic Church leaders said that it is imperative that the investigations are carried out in an impartial manner while respecting the presumption of innocence until their conclusion.

The bishops said the justice system needs to do its job properly to "recover the lost confidence" of the people.

It also said that social programs, which benefit the large segments of the population mired in poverty and extreme poverty, need to be carefully managed to ensure the funds are not abused.

"We cannot be passive actors of the sufferings and pains of our people," the statement said.

The bishops also spoke out about marriage, saying it is "necessary to defend marriage according to God's plan."

It said this is especially important at a time "when this fundamental unit of the church and society is under attack from certain ideologies."

"We are obliged to defend the institutions of family and marriage, the fundamental cells of society. This defense is the responsibility of everyone, especially those exercising public power, as well as organizations of civil society, including members of the Catholic Church, and all other religious denominations," it said.

The statement expressed concern about liberal attitudes toward marriage, especially among "so-called Christians, who seem to go with the fashion of the moment."

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