2022-09-14 GENERAL HOUSE

September 15: International Day of Democracy

“It is endowed with structures of government that are transparent, simple, effective and flexible.” (XXII General Chapter)

In the 21st century it seems that democracy as a political system is being called into question. We are in a world where populism seems to be gaining strength, where it seems that more and more countries are looking for personalistic leaders, where our politicians seem to be looking more for their own interests than for those of the people they represent….

The world has the experience of political systems that have caused the suffering of millions of people. Let us think of the many dramatic examples of the past 20th century (Nazism, communism, dictators, civil wars…). Humanity seems unwilling to learn from the mistakes of the past, insisting on repeating certain behaviours that led to destruction and suffering. There have been and continue to be policies that call into question respect for fundamental rights, that stifle freedom of expression and of the press, that curb free information, that do not allow association, and the vindication of unjust situations….

In the first call of our last General Chapter, we have a clear invitation to face, as Marists of Champagnat, these situations of instability and risk for the well-being and security of all human beings. We are called to be “beacons of hope in this troubled world”, and beacons that offer a certain light, which is none other than the light of Christ, the expression of his mercy for all his sons and daughters. Are we the face and hands of God’s mercy?

We must be the face and hands of mercy that fights against disinformation, against false news, against the discourse of hatred and separation of certain political leaders, against direct confrontation, against measures that deepen social differentiation (migrants, women, indigenous peoples…).

As Marists of Champagnat we want to work for the transformation of the world, especially on the side of the poorest, supporting political systems where authority is based on the will of the citizens, and not on the will of political groups or economic interests, as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (21.3) points out to us.

Pope Francis himself, in Fratelli Tutti (157) reminds us and warns us of certain pressures that want to eliminate democratic systems of governance, that is, that want to eliminate the “government of the people”.

The Marists of Champagnat face a double challenge. A first challenge towards the interior, heeding the calls of the General Chapter of 2017, which invites us to “put in place and/or strengthen structures where all Marists share leadership and responsibility”. On the other hand, we find a challenge towards the outside that should lead us to help and insert ourselves in our societies, to promote real change, to favor systems that really give participation to all citizens and where the laws protect especially the most disadvantaged of our respective countries.

We invite you to re-read the style of government, “for a new beginning”, that the XXII General Chapter proposes to all Marists of Champagnat, assuming especially a prophetic and servant leadership in our communities and families, as well as in our works. Prophetic because it can announce the Kingdom of God and denounce the injustices of this world. Servant because it is always attentive and ready to respond to the concrete needs around it.


Bro. Ángel Diego García Otaola – Secretariaty of Solidarity


General Council meeting with the directors of...


International Formation Course for Leaders An...