31st Youth Pilgrimage to Lujan

Charter for Children

A priests, consecrated, consecrated and faithful of the Archdiocese

Dear brothers and sisters:

The XXXI youth pilgrimage to the Shrine of Luján has the theme “Mother, help us to care for life.” We ask our Mother this grace to help us care for all life and all life. We do it with the cry subsidiary of prayer and confidence that gives us the Virgin. She told Juan Diego: “Am I not here who am your mother”? Knowing that is close to her maternal tenderness gives us strength to keep asking, with hearts of children, “Mother help us care for life.” And, in light of this filial prayer, I want to propose a reflection of you a life problem that affects our city.

In recent years have joined the new realities cityscape: roadblocks, pickets, people living in the villages … A reality, I think the most painful, that has been imposed on the landscape, is starring children. The presence of unfair and risky situations that are victims of our children and teenagers were beaten and stir.

Children and young people on the streets, begging, sleeping in subways and railway stations, in doorways and arcades, sometimes “aspiring” alone or in groups, are common in the everyday realities cityscape.

Children and adolescents cartoneando and scavenging in search perhaps their only daily meal, even in hours of the night tickets.

Children and young people, often under the eye of more than regentean, engaged in various formal and informal jobs, selling, juggling, cleaning windows, opening car doors or handing out prayer cards in the subways.

In the City of Buenos Aires is prohibited “blood drive.” If a cart pulled by a horse pickers can be seized … But there are hundreds of cardboard carts that are everywhere (I see daily in the downtown) and as a horse can not, then often push them boys. Do these guys are not “blood drive”?

On 13 August, the day we learned that a pedophile ring operated in the Chacarita, Floresta, Congress, Recoleta, San Telmo, Montserrat, Nunez, Palermo and Caballito. Boys and girls between 5 and 15 years, maintaining relationships with adults. A few years ago we knew rasgábamos garments when the Sex-Tours organized in Europe to parts of Asia including sex with children … and now we have installed here, even in the menus of some luxurious accommodation.

It is a painful reality the increasing use of children and adolescents in drug trafficking. It also aberrant excessive consumption of alcohol by children and young people, with the connivance of unscrupulous traders. Even sometimes seen as practice alcohol intake in young children.

Moreover, the actual data show us that most of our children are poor and that about 50% of the poor are children. Poverty levels are expressed dramatically today and in our future, with certain consequences from nutritional deficiencies, environmental, poor health, violence and promiscuity naturalized, which affect their growth, problematize their personal relationship and become difficult their social and Community. It is frightening that some tourism companies, as part of tours organized in our city, incorporated in the slums, where children live in extreme poverty or poverty, as observation sites and check for foreign visitors.

Cultural production, especially the television offer, available to our children and youth, as I have pointed prestigious institutions and personalities of our society, where degradation programs and frivolity of sexuality, the devaluation of the family, promotion disvalues ​​makeup of artificially as values ​​and the exaltation of violence, along with an irresponsible freedom “ganic” are constant, providing components of behavior that become paradigmatic for our youth, address the lack of control agencies and funding accomplice companies and institutions.

This reality speaks of a moral degradation increasingly widespread and deep that makes one wonder how to recover the respect for life and for the dignity of our children. So many of them we are robbed of their childhood and we are mortgaged their future and ours: a responsibility, as a society, we share and that weighs more on high power, education and wealth.

And if we look at the religious reality, how many children do not know how to pray!, How many have been taught not to look and see the face of the Heavenly Father, who loves them and prefer! Severe deficiency in the very being of a person.

All these realities confronting us and shake our responsibility as Christians, our duty as citizens, our solidarity as participants in a community that we increasingly humane, more dignified and more in keeping with human dignity and society.

Faced with this reality of our children and adolescents are different reactions that are geared to a gradual habituation growing passivity and indifference, a kind of normality of injustice, or, on the other hand, a false attitude and course rules claiming common good increasing repression and control that goes from the lower age of criminal responsibility to its forced family separation, sometimes unfairly subjecting the judiciary situations of family poverty or promoting abusive discretionary and institutionalization.

We could continue with this description, which involves a cry to be aware. We must be aware of the emergency situation of our children and youth. We must face our own personal and social responsibilities to the emergency. We must assume ownership of the constitutional mandates in the field.

We must realize that every guy marginalized, abandoned or homeless, with poor access to benefits of education and health, the full expression is not only an injustice but an institutional failure that includes both the family as also their neighbors, neighborhood institutions, his parish and the various levels of the state in its various expressions. Many of these situations demand an immediate response, but not with the immediacy of sparklers. The search and implementation of responses emparchadoras can not make us forget that we need a change of heart and mind that leads us to recognize and honor the lives of these kids from the womb of his mother until they rest in God the Father, and daily act accordingly.

We must get into the heart of God and begin to hear the voice of the weak, these children and adolescents, and to remember the words of the Lord “Whoever receives one such child in my name, receiveth me it” (Mt . 18: 5), and, “Beware of despising one of these little ones, for I tell you that their angels in heaven are continually in the presence of my Father in heaven” (Mt 18: 10). Both these voices as the word of God should move us in our commitment and our action:

Never abandoned children in our city;
adolescence and never marginalized youth in our city;
no Christian, no church, no authority indolent or indifferent to the ordeal of our families and our children;
any selfishness or self-interest or sectoral effort and waning commitment dilate the unity and coordination necessary for urgent and immediate effort.
I am concerned and saddened by this situation. So I wanted to write this letter. I have discussed the matter with some scholars, with the Episcopal Vicariate of Children, with the Commission for Children and Adolescents at risk, with some judges and legislators. Based on what they thought to do a brief summary to add in ANNEX. This will help us greatly to reflect on this reality and I know that will be useful in the way of the Archdiocesan Assembly. But above all, I want our eyes to adjust to this new landscape citizen who is starring children. I ask, please, that we open our hearts to this painful reality … the Herods of today have many different faces, but the reality is the same: it kills children, kills her smile, it kills hope … are cannon fodder. Let us look with fresh eyes at the children of our city and dare to mourn. Look to the Lady and let us say from our heart’s cry: “Mother, help us to care for life.”

With fatherly and brotherly love

Card. Jorge Mario Bergoglio S.J.

Buenos Aires, October 1, 2005, the Feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, Patroness of the Children of the Archdiocese.
A N E X O
The troubled existence of a state system of care and protection of children and adolescents that can qualify as a “system in crisis” highlights a reality where systematic deficiencies, the breaks or institutional conflicts are common, paying a social imaginary about it and baring our behavior as a society.

This situation arises in a scenario where, despite the recovery of economic growth in our everyday reality remains inequitable distribution of wealth, which so fiercely hit Argentine families in the recent past, continuing his tendency to focus on higher levels of power and wealth without effort raised from government measures to achieve that effect change as a society we humiliates and mortifies us.

State policies should aim to economic growth and a fair distribution of income so that developing countries appear to the quality of life of its inhabitants.

“The true and full protection of children means that they can fully enjoy all their rights, including their economic, social and cultural rights, embodied in various international instruments. The States parties to the international human rights treaties have an obligation to take positive measures to ensure the protection of all the rights of the child “(Inter-American Court of Human Rights by the Advisory Opinion OC-17/2002” Status of Human Rights Child “, August 28, 2002, section 8 of the operative part).

Therefore, state action can not be reduced to achieve reform legislation on children, adapted to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, but should emphasize the effectuation of the Convention through the monitoring of management public policies designed to restore the violated rights (unmet needs). It is not only to make laws but to fulfill them properly through effective management within a framework of redistribution of wealth and job creation.

Recall finally the main conclusion of the Working Committee No. 8 “Children and Youth at Risk” of the Social Pastoral Conference VIII (25 June 2005): “The children and family policy must be state policies being due create, monitor and transform social programs to that end, which in turn should consider strengthening and development of family life, articulating and co-managing public resources with civil society, and strengthening the capacity of family members to face adversity and emerge stronger. ”

Efforts should be made to reassess the culture of the work involved the notes typical effort, sacrifice, conduct and discipline.

The work is an obligation but also a right exemplary for children: children to see their parents laboring displayed its possible development, growth and maturation.

While in times of economic crisis, where unemployment grows, states tend to spend subsidizing employment or plans to help the livelihoods of men, these policies should be temporary tools and should not become state policy.

If states do not have a strong policy of industrial growth, employment will not grow, one way to ensure that the inhabitants of a nation commutative justice.

Hence, measuring the level of education, health, justice, culture, sport, strengthening families, growth and development of children, care of the elderly.

It is necessary to protect the work of man. How is it protected? Educating man culturalizándolo, training him, giving legal protection worthy, giving rest, place for recreation, ensuring decent conditions for their old age, providing a health system that adequately protects their labor woes.

Workers are not “instruments bipeds, without freedom, without morals, which have only recently winning hands and soul intent” as hold up the Abbe Sieyes, who was one of the instigators of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen .

With the promotion and strengthening of the work of adults achieve avoid work guys. It is very difficult for a guy out to look for work if their parents have a decent job that gives you the satisfaction of the needs of the family.

Moreover, the children and adolescents tend to attend and stay in schools, doing their duty and right which is essentially the study.

We need to develop programs to promote access and retention in school, where teachers must be committed, families and children themselves.

The school is the main mechanism of inclusion. Those who leave school and lose all hope that school is the place where kids can develop a life plan and start forming their identity. Currently, truancy often leads to no income to work but leads the young to the field of social exclusion: the dropout seems to mean the recruitment, especially teenagers, to a world in which increases their vulnerability in relation to urban violence, abuse and addiction to drugs or alcohol. While the school can not manage to avoid these problems, it seems to be the last frontier in the State, families and adults are in charge of youth, in which they work, sometimes with difficulty, values ​​and norms related humanity and citizenship and in which the future is not yet dead.

The essential function of the school is to train citizens free and able to defend their rights and fulfill their obligations. However, to keep the child or adolescent in school must be emptied of its contents. The constitutional right that is guaranteed is the right to education, not the right to schooling. Not just opening schools, delivering useful books or how that will be accomplished to fulfill this right. This will require a joint effort of the entire school community. This effort on the one hand axis shall be the motivation of the young, not only to stay in school but to train and learn, and secondly should seek to strengthen and enhance the role of the teacher so that he can face the new realities are presented in the classroom.

To understand the causes of school failure and dropout keep in mind is an important variable that child malnutrition. Childhood is the period characterized by body growth, which requires a certain amount of nutrients to synthesize new tissues or completion milestones as neurodevelopment.

The deficient diet from conception in the womb of the mother to the three years in which the nervous system develops, produces physical or psychological injuries that affect them for life. It is essential to keep track of the children from the time the pregnant mom starts monitoring at hospitals to reduce the risk of babies born with low birth weight and lower infant mortality rates.

The problem of child malnutrition in our city is not resolved delivering food boxes, that reduces the phenomenon of malnutrition at a biological level and ignores social, economic, and cultural anthropology. We must educate and create good eating habits to prevent developmental problems in our children.

Moreover, the improvement of the situation of children in regard to poverty, can not be away from general public policies aimed at the whole society. Precisely distributionist policies embodied in the 50s in Latin America, helped reduce the “institutionalization” of children, when there was no legislation to conceptualize children as subjects of law.

It disvalioso for society as a whole, and primarily for teachers and students, the school turns out to be in fact primarily a place to feed assists, desnaturalizandose the essential concept of teaching.

Schools should be containment of students learning status, training and in no way are intended to replace the families in one of the primary functions of which is to feed their children.

The most significant problems relating to the child and adolescent population, as we have discussed, are malnutrition, school dropouts and early entry into the world of work. These problems are deepened when we talk about teen pregnancy.

You need to work with accompanying adolescence in this process, strengthening their self-esteem, sense of responsibility, health care and enabling the design of alternative projects for their lives.

We believe the importance of strengthening family ties to prevent children from reaching the end homeless or institutionalized.

While there is a strong social demand for institutionalization, treatments with long imprisonment have not achieved good results. This is shown as eight out of ten adult prisoners passed through youth custody. It is also worrying that while four out of ten guys entrants criminal cases admitted for reasons other assistance, because his family can not care for them or because they are victims of violence.

These events are closely linked to the lack of updating legislation on the subject, where the persistence of the law, known as Act Agote, progressive in his time and does not reflect changes in our society and looks based on the child and the young as a legal entity. This new look is fully expressed by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted by our country reserves by law 23,849, is part of the constitutional plexus from de1994 constitutional reform.

The Convention on Human Rights treaty ratification has increased among member states of the United Nations system, including the Vatican State is not only a commitment of the signatories from the international point of view, but fundamentally redefines the obligations insurmountable public policy regarding childhood, adolescence, youth and families.

The preamble notes, as supporters of the need items and force of the Convention, among other statements: “… Convinced that the family, as the fundamental group of society and the natural environment for the growth and well-being of all its members, and in particularly children, should receive the necessary protection and assistance to fully assume its responsibilities within the community, “adding” recognizing that the child for the full and harmonious development of his personality, should grow up in a family in an environment of love, happiness and understanding. ”

Improving socio-economic conditions of childhood is not unrelated to what happens to each family, which represents the cultural and psychosocial support growth of any child. They have warned recently only children programs, as if it could improve the situation of children without families. By the way remember that: “The family is the primary context for children’s development and exercise of their rights. Therefore, the State must support and strengthen the family, through various measures it requires to best fulfill its natural role in this field “(Inter-American Court of Human Rights by OC-17/2002 Advisory Opinion” Status and Human Rights of the Child “, August 28, 2002, section 4. of the decision).

Assume the Convention involves establishing a relationship between the state and citizens, children and youth with defining a worldview between the state and community members. It should not create a new rhetoric, nor be placed only within an ethical framework. Assume the Convention involves overcoming a traditional perspective identified needs to propose a rights approach where universality, comprehensiveness and enforceability are the tripod that defines the state’s relationship with children and adolescents.

For this purpose the State shall direct all available resources, through plans, programs and actions from the perspective generated by this new law.

Faced with this reality, Christians and people of good will can not remain inactive or disorganized in individual or group actions, although valuable specimens lack the effectiveness and impact necessary to transform reality.

We must not forget the many examples of selflessness, solidarity, responsibility and witness that every day we provide families and youth institutions in the daily effort to survive, resist and in the task of building a more just society.

The path is arduous but the mandate delegated. Time to take our own responsibilities towards children and young people, as Christians, as citizens, as men and women of good will. It is time that the institutions concerned with children and young people are heard and taken into account. It is time that the State, as Guarantor of the Commons to take responsibility and obligation, in the defense of life, the protection of its growth and development in human and social development of individuals, families and institutions.

Quickly implement State policies aimed at developing low-income families.

The City budget should consider awarding priority special items intended to promote employment and economic growth in a way that people get their work and that value is worth to them.

The leaders, both leading the destinies of the city government as the opposition, shall develop a plan to abolish all child labor practices and all forms of exploitation of children.

At the same time these leaders should agree and implement policies quickly applied to public education so that teachers receive a salary according to their needs, they can devote to comprehensive training, education and motivation of children to effect these discover the essential values ​​of life. Thus teaching will find the essential principles of its existence.

Those same leaders should quickly agree and implement a plan aimed at protecting sanitary systematized to low-income families, so that children from conception in the womb are treated medically and continued its evolution and growth.

A society that boasts of such can not ignore the values ​​that lead to the full realization of man in all its development. And among those values ​​included the religious dimension. Man is the image of God and called to communion with Him

The policies implemented to date have produced severe damage to the two extremes of life, precisely to the most vulnerable in this society: children and the elderly.

No posterguemos for future compliance with these debts, the day and time is now or never.

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Posted in 2005

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