Honduran Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga said Sunday that he condemns the conflict between the United States and Iran and urged leaders to “learn the lifestyle of Jesus.”
“We need to learn the lifestyle of Jesus, learn the meekness, the peace that the Lord brings,” the cardinal told the faithful in his diocese of Tegucigalpa. “Instead, we begin a year with missiles, bombs, deaths, and a downed plane, which contrasts with a God who comes to bring us peace.”
“The world is at the border of another war, when we are far from God, what prevails is death, violence, and blood,” Rodríguez said.
The cardinal, who is a vocal advocate of migrants’ rights, said that humility is needed to begin the new year properly, recognizing our neediness before God. Human beings need His grace because we are all subject to sin, to temptation, to human weakness, he said.
On the last day of 2019, Cardinal Rodríguez denounced the “bloody humiliation” his countrymen face as migrants, insisting that many die attempting to reach happiness.
“This year has to be different,” said the cardinal, who has been nicknamed the “vice-pope” because of his exceptional influence with Pope Francis.
“We call all those who are tempted and who feel they have the right to take the lives of other people, to tell them please abandon that atrocious sin because the blood of their brothers, shed like Abel’s blood, cries out to heaven,” he said.
Honduras is “subjected to violence, organized crime, and deaths every day,” the cardinal said.
The ongoing drama of the migrants and refugees is one of the “greatest human tragedies” in the world today, especially in Central America, and threatens to become one of the “most explosive problems” in the coming decades, Rodríguez said.
“We see emigrations from North Africa to Europe, which today rejects these migrants, and this threatens to become one of the most explosive problems of the next decades,” Rodriguez insisted.
Since the world has become a global village, “migratory flows have become gigantic, because of injustice, violence, wars, lack of social justice, and economic systems that lack equity, based solely on financial speculation, making the poor poorer and the rich richer,” he said.
Last week, the Catholic bishop of Tapachula, Mexico, announced the imminent departure of a new migrant caravan that is gearing up to march from Pedro Sula, Honduras, on January 15 and 16 en route to the United States.
Bishop Jaime Calderón Calderón said the Catholic Church is prepared to provide humanitarian aid to members of the migrant caravan.
“We are on the lookout. We know that a new caravan is coming and we have assembled an emergency team to provide humanitarian aid, so when we are told to come help, we will help,” the bishop said.
Calderón, whose diocese in southwest Mexico is located near the border with Guatemala, said he was informed of the plans for a new migrant caravan because he is in contact with bishops of the Northern Triangle (Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador) on social media. Those preparing to leave the country are fleeing due to problems of violence and a lack of job opportunities, he said.