Here is a translation of the Message that Pope Francis sent to Venezuela through Apostolic Nuncio Monsignor Aldo Giordano, on the occasion of the initial meeting of the process of dialogue between the government and the opposition.
To His Excellency President Nicolas Maduros Moros,
To the Honorable Members of the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,
To the Honorable Representatives of the Democratic Union and
To the Honorable Foreign Ministers of UNASUR
I wish, first of all, to thank you for the invitation you addressed to the Holy See, to participate in the process of dialogue and peace for your beloved country. I wish to assure each one of you, first of all, of my prayers so that the meeting and the process you are beginning will bear the desired fruits of national reconciliation and peace, gifts that we invoke from God for all the Venezuelan people.
I am conscious of the anxiety and grief lived by so many persons and, while I manifest my concern for what is happening, I renew my affection for all Venezuelans, in particular for the victims of violence and their families. I am utterly convinced that violence will never bring peace and well-being to a country, as it generates always and only violence. On the contrary, through dialogue you can rediscover the common and shared basis which leads to surmounting the present moment of conflict and polarization that wounds Venezuela so profoundly, to find ways of collaboration. The common good will be fostered by respecting and acknowledging the differences that exist between the parties. All of you, in fact, share love for your country and its people, as well as the grave concerns connected with the economic crisis, the violence and criminality. All of you bear in your heart the future of your children and the desire for peace that characterizes Venezuelans. All of you have in common faith in God and the will to defend the dignity of the human person.
Precisely this brings you together and urges you to undertake the dialogue that begins today, on whose basis must be a genuine culture of encounter, which is conscious that unity must always prevail over conflict. Therefore, I invite you to not concentrate on the circumstances of the conflict, but to open yourselves to one another to become and to be genuine peacemakers. At the center of every sincere dialogue is, first of all, recognition and respect for the other. Above all is the “heroism” of forgiveness and mercy, which rescue us from resentment and hatred and opens a really new way. It is a long and difficult path, which calls for patience and courage, but it is the only one that can lead to peace and justice. For the good of the whole nation and for the future of your children, I beg you to have this.
With these sentiments I accompany the whole beloved Venezuelan nation and impart to each one from my heart the Apostolic Blessing, invoking the Lord’s help.
Vatican, April 10, 2014, the second of my Pontificate.
FRANCISCUS[Original text: Spanish] [Translation by ZENIT]