Miércoles 24 de Julio de 2002, Ip nº 20

Faith in times of crisis
In the midst of uncertainty and suffering, people get closer to religion and strengthen their sense of solidarity. The Church strives to satisfy the growing spiritual and material demand. There are not enough priests, but more and more people volunteer.

About 30% more people around the country attends sanctuaries, parishes and chapels looking for hope and strength to carry on.

This phenomenon -that implies a great effort on the part of the Church to give an answer to the diverse demands-, points out two conclusions: the people's profound religious roots and their giving spirit. They share even what they need.

A survey carried out by Gallup had shown, more than a year ago, an increase in religious behavior compared to a certain decrease around the 60s.

Today, about 90% of the population claim to be religious, and 83% are catholics.

Volunteers from Caritas (a charity entity) grew during the last year from 22 thousands to 30 thousands, and they are not enough. It is understandable: during the last year the people organizing Caritas duplicated from one million to two.

Father Castellanos, head of the San Cayetano sanctuary, states he "clearly perceive people's anguish. It would seem that they have less hope".

Gustavo Salce, a vicar, offers a theological explanation for the growing of solidarity: "Since the encounter with Christ, through his mother, man returns to God in his brother and manifest concrete signs of solidarity".

Translation by Carolina Friszman

  15/07/2002. Clarín.com.