Friday, December 30, 2011

Paraguay and the Vatican, the “case” is solved

The Paraguay riddle has been solved 

In the Curia it seems a repetition, in a South America key, of the “French case”, when an embarrassing diplomatic “black out” took place between Paris and the Holy See, over the name of the new Ambassador.  

Sarkozy could not obtain the Vatican’s approval of the names proposed. Esteban Kriskovich, however, had been appointed a year ago by his own government and immediately placed by the Curia in the list of Ambassadors, but he needed an unusual amount of time to present his credentials to the pontiff. 

In fact, at the origin of the long “impasse” there are the eight months required by the Parliament of Paraguay to ratify the appointment of the canon, a lawyer with the Paraguayan Metropolitan Church of Canon Law.

Esteban Kriskovich is also President of the Directive Commission of the “Tomás Moro" Institute” at the Faculty of Legal Sciences of the Catholic University of Asunción.  He is also the author of numerous publications on law, ethics and legal ethics, including the Legal Code of Ethics of the Republic of Paraguay.  

After an all but smooth process the new Ambassador of Paraguay to the Holy See was received in audience by Pope Benedict XVI on December 19th at the presentation of his credentials. Esteban Kriskovich was born in Asunción on July 14, 1971. A graduate in legal and diplomatic sciences at the Catholic University of Asunción, he obtained a doctorate in juridical science at the same university, with the thesis: “Conscientious objection as a fundamental right with regards to bioethics and the Biolaw”.   

Specialized in ethics training at the department of theology and pastoral action with the Catholic University of Asuncion, he has held important positions: assistant and speaker for the Supreme Court until 2003; Professor of Labor Law at the Autonomous University of Asuncion and Canon law, professional ethics and legal ethics at the Catholic University of Asunción, from 1997 to 2009.  

Until 2005 he was also Secretary General of the Supreme Court of Justice and, subsequently, Director of Legal Ethics of the same Court and Delegate to the Pontifical Council for Culture to Catholic cultural centers of the Southern Cone in Paraguay.

The South American country has been at the center of one of the biggest events of the pontificate of Benedict XVI. The Society of Jesus and the World Youth Day (WYD), in fact, have worked together for months at an exhibition on " Jesuit Reducciones" (Missions) in Paraguay. The exhibition speaks of the past and present, of how the Jesuits have been and are “sent to the frontiers, under the Roman Pontiff”.

The "reducciones" of Paraguay (1609-1769) were settlements of Guarani Indians promoted by the fathers of the Society of Jesus in the lands conquered by Portugal and Spain, with the desire to preserve their identity as people and vassals of the Crown.  

The Indians, who lived according to their ancient customs, in the mountains, in small very distant groups, , came together through the initiative of the Jesuits to form settlements of about 5,000 people each.

“Many will remember the “reducciones” in the film “Mission”, directed by Roland Joffe (1986), starring Robert De Niro and Jeremy Irons”, observes the Catholic news agency Zenit.

Thereducciones” have a complex context which during their exposure is analyzed in greater detail.  It has to do with the '"encomienda", a colonizing system which often disguised slavery, and the strong desire of evangelizing missionaries and collaborators who, in their mission, were not always able to respect the identity of the Guaraní, but managed to defend their freedom and dignity, because on many occasions “reducciones” were the only way to safeguard them.  

Up to 30 “reducciones” of Guaraní peoples exited, stretching between the Parana and Uruguay rivers, in a vast territory that included regions that today are part of Paraguay and also Argentina, the south and south-east of Brazil, the south-east of Bolivia and Uruguay. The Jesuit “reducciones” did not stop with the Guaraní, because there were also people like the Moxos (1682) and Chiquitos (1691) of Bolivia, the Maynas (1637) of Ecuador and Peru and the Orinoco (1730) of Venezuela.

There were also “reducciones” in Chile.  The Society of Jesus and the GMG have worked for months on this exhibition, which was one of the great exhibits offered to the young people who in August went to Madrid to meet the Pope. 

The title was “The Jesuit Reducciones of Paraguay, a fascinating adventure that will continue in time”,  the exhibition explained how the passion for conveying the Good News of Jesus that drove the Jesuit missionaries of the seventeenth and eighteenth century is still alive today in the Society Jesus and in the whole Church.  The Jesuits were and are sent to the frontiers, as Benedict XVI did recently, in their General Congregation of 2008.

The Reducciones are seen as an exciting moment in a missionary’s calling, which in nearly 160 years (1609-1769) has generated fruitful evangelization among the Guarani people. The Jesuit parish of San Francisco de Borja has welcomed the exposure, the origin of which must be sought in what originated Father Aldo Trento of the fraternity of St. Charles Borromeo and missionary in Paraguay, at the Meeting of Rimini in 2009, organized by Communion and Liberation.  

The Cardinal Archbishop of Madrid, Antonio María Rouco, present in Rimini and impressed by the testimonial strength of the exhibit, wanted to bring to the WYD. « Some of the elements of the exhibition in Rimini, but the Society of Jesus took on much of the organization, introducing many new features: new physical layouts, new panels and an intense presence of Jesuit music both among the Guarani of Paraguay and among the Chiquitos and Moxos (currently Bolivia), points out Zenit.  

We then counted on the help of the Jesuits of Paraguay and the Embassy of Paraguay in Madrid, as well as the patronage of the Endesa Foundation, which promotes research, cooperation for economic and social development and environmental protection, the lighting of historical-artistic monuments, and cultural activities in areas where it operates internationally, especially in Latin America.