September 22, 2014
BA City ‘slum priests’ call for 'urban integration' 40 years after Father Mugica’s death
The team of priests that work in Buenos Aires City shanty towns asserted that today, in the 40th commemoration of Carlos Mugica’s assassination by by the Triple A paramilitary, the main challenge is the “urban integration” of the poorest neighbourhoods and to guarantee the State’s presence, which they say is “still insufficient and unarticulated”.
The priests praised Mugica as an “icon in the fight for social justice” and discussed the main challenges shanty town inhabitants face today, using Pope Francis’ words from its apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium
“Today, the challenge shanty towns pose is urban integration. In our view, it is a better concept than urbanization, which refers to what a city gives the slum. The concept of urban integration proposes a ‘culture of encounter’ since slums also have a lot to offer”, read a document intitled “In Church, live for God, live for the people” signed by the 25 members of the team.
The document also referred to the State’s presence in the city’s slums and warned not to confuse it with the volunteer work carried out by NGOs and criticised media stigmatization of shanty towns by “talking from the distance” and “associating people who suffer poverty with crime”.