Latin American churches have long tried to mitigate the suffering and pain caused by economic globalisation with pastoral care. Now, they intend to develop a new understanding of the churches' role in relation to economic justice.
To that end, some forty leaders of Latin American and Caribbean churches are attending a continent-wide consultation on "Globalizing the Fullness of Life" taking place from 28 April to 1 May in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The consultation is being organised by the Faith, Economy and Society programme of the Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI), with the support of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and other ecumenical organisations. It aims to share information and analysis of the socio-economic situation and to explore alternatives to neo-liberal globalisation.
Planned initiatives include doing more determined lobbying and advocacy work with the governments of the countries of the north, particularly of the United States of America and Canada, and with the international financial institutions: the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation.
Representatives of the Latin American churches hope to be able to hold talks with these institutions in the second half of this year - continuing a process that began in April 2002, when church leaders met with representatives from the Inter-American Development Bank.