Cardinal Urosa on Attacks From Hugo Chávez

«Bishops, Just as All Christians, Are Builders of Peace»

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ROME, JULY 9, 2010 ( Here is a translation of the statement issued Wednesday by Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, archbishop of Caracas, in response to the recent attacks leveled against him by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.
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1. In Rome, where I am fulfilling my functions as cardinal to attend a meeting convoked several months ago, I learned of the attacks of President Chávez against the Venezuelan episcopate and my person on July 5.
2. The first thing I must say is that the president does not have license to insult, defame or abuse any Venezuelan. He has attacked me verbally on several occasions, exposing me unjustly to public ridicule. I totally reject these aggressions, which are unbecoming to the one who does them.
3. Today I respond to the attacks proffered against the bishops of Venezuela and against me, because beyond rejecting offenses it is a question of denouncing the danger that is threatening our beloved homeland. Without pressures of any sector, and without anyone ordering me to say anything, but obeying only the voice of my conscience as a Venezuelan and as archbishop of Caracas, given the reality that we are experiencing, I have issued statements reported in some means of social communication. Sadly, the president, instead of reflecting and pondering the arguments presented, and rectifying his line of conduct, limits himself to discredit and to offend.
4. Going beyond the National Constitution, the president and his government want to lead the country on the path of Marxist Socialism, which monopolizes all spaces, is totalitarian, and leads to a dictatorship, not even of the proletariat, but of the leadership that governs. Going against the popular will, which on Dec. 2, 2007, rejected the proposal of nationalizing and socialist reform of the national Constitution, through unconstitutional laws, there is an attempt to implant in Venezuela a Marxist regime, as the president has openly proclaimed on repeated occasions. Such conduct is unconstitutional and illegal but, above all, it attempts against the human, civil and political rights of Venezuelans. The failure of Marxist Socialism in other countries is more than evident.
5. Moreover, the pretension to monopolize all productive activities through, for example, the progressive monopolization of importation, distribution and commercialization of foods, is in the line of dismantling the national productive apparatus so that we will all depend on the government even to eat. Who does this benefit? Not the Venezuelan producers, peasants and workers, but those of other countries and, together with the progressive indebtedness of the country, leads to the ruin of our economy as well as to a foreign dependence, totally contrary to the necessary food sovereignty.
6. Concerned about installing a Marxist Socialist system, the government neglects its primary constitutional tasks: to protect the security of the people hit especially in the poorest sectors by violence and delinquency; to promote better care in the field of health, to build and maintain the infrastructure of highways and means of transport, etc.
7. On the other hand, and touching upon another topic alluded to by the president, the appointment of all the bishops of Venezuela and of the world is in the hands of the Church and, specifically, in the hands of the Holy Father, after serious consultations with the ecclesial community. Thank God it is not in the hands of politicians. So was my appointment as archbishop of Caracas and later as cardinal of the Holy Roman Church. Moreover, we Venezuelan bishops are solidly united in the task of serving the people as witnesses and ambassadors of Jesus Christ, and pastors of the People of God in Venezuela.
8. The bishops, just as all Christians, are builders of peace. Because of this, without pretending to assume quotas of power or becoming political operators, we claim our right to pronounce ourselves on everything that has to do with the life and future of the Venezuelan people. We want the good, coexistence and progress of Venezuela, with opportunities for all, without exclusions or injustices or intolerance, with longings for unity, well-being, progress and peace. We work for this from the social point of view, and to do so we extend our hand to dialogue and meeting.
9. To conclude, I thank the Venezuelan episcopate, the priestly council of the Archdiocese of Caracas, and all the persons and sectors that in this difficult moment have manifested their solidarity to me. And I encourage all men and women of good will to work ceaselessly and fearlessly, in the framework of the National Constitution, so that fraternity and solidarity, liberty, justice and peace will reign in Venezuela.

[Translation by ZENIT]
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