Venezuelan Catholics Hear "Anguished Appeal" to Overcome Violence

Bishops’ Conference Warns of National Deterioration

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

CARACAS, Venezuela, OCT. 21, 2002 ( The Venezuelan bishops’ conference made an «anguished appeal» to their countrymen, to overcome the mounting tensions in the nation.

A message from the bishops, entitled «Let Us Understand One Another to Survive,» was read in all the country’s churches on Sunday.

«At present we see that the situation has worsened dramatically,» the message stated. «We have a very broken country, wounded by confrontations and manifest institutional deterioration; an anguished population lacerated by poverty and unemployment, and a coexistence threatened by armed confrontation.»

In essence, the message was «an anguished appeal for survival, calling for a peaceful solution.»

«What must we do at present to overcome the national crisis positively?» the bishops asked.

«Above all, it is necessary to say a round No to violence, hatred and ideological exasperations, to lies and intolerance, to mutual exclusion, to material and moral impoverishment, to death,» they said. «Violence neither wins nor convinces.»

Likewise, Venezuelans must say «a determined Yes: to life, to recognition of the other, to the complete exercise of the state of law and the autonomy of institutions; to truth and liberty, to justice and solidarity, to reconciliation and fraternity,» they added.

At the height of the debate between those who support President Hugo Chávez’s continuing in power and those who call for early elections, the bishops reaffirmed «the imperative to avoid all violence, with its fatal consequences, and to take positive steps toward understanding and agreements that will make coexistence possible.»

«At the same time, it must be remembered that there is a right to give one’s opinion, to associate, and to protest freely,» they stated. «It is the responsibility of the government and the entities in charge of ensuring public security and maintaining order, as well as to the armed forces, to carry out the inescapable and urgent task to guarantee such rights in the framework of peace.

«Among other things, this presupposes magnanimity, responsibility and creativity, putting aside legitimate interests and positions for the sake of the good of all, especially the poorest.»

Presenting the document Friday, Archbishop Baltazar Porras of Merida, president of the episcopal conference, said: «Every democracy is endangered when the people cannot express themselves without fear, and without these outbreaks of violence.»

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation