On January 25, 2009 the Bishops issued the “Concluding Statement of the CBCP on the Second National Rural Congress” (NRC – 2).
The NRC consisted of more than 50 Diocesan and 13 Sub-Regional Consultations from November 2007 to March 2008. Then, 5 Regional Rural Congresses were convened in April – June 2008. Consultations led up to the NRC – II on 7-8 July 2008.
In response to the cries of the poor (cf. Ex. 3-7-9) – small farmers and landless workers, fisherfolk, Indigenous people, rural women and rural youth, the Bishops made the following commitments.
• “We continue to put in place venues for dialogue, where the poor can interact with the Bishops and other leaders of the Catholic Church. We shall activate specialized desks within Church Structure that would help the rural poor at the parish, diocesan, regional and national levels”.
• “We shall intensify our engagement with our public officials in the legislation and implementation of social justice measures, as we did with a letter addressed to Congress asking for CARP extension with reform”. (CARPER)
• “We shall encourage our lay faithful to intensify their fight against graft and corruption, and accompany upright public officials in their efforts to serve the people in transparency and truth”.
• “We shall direct Church institution and organizations to be more engaged in works of solidarity, justice and charity for the poor in the rural areas. We shall also call on them to be more actively engaged in protecting and promoting the integrity of creation”.
• Finally, “we shall strive to be faithful to live out our mission as the Church of the Poor – a Church which is both engaged in the work of integral evangelization, as well as in Social Reform. Such actions emanate from the Pauline vision of ‘uniting all things under Christ’ (Eph. 1:10) – – to engage the World as we bear witness to the plight of the poor, through profound conversion and renewal as People of God”.
Source: Communication from the Bishop (No. 517, 01 February 2009)