Venezuelan Cardinal Baltazar Porras said during a press conference at the ACN Foundation’s headquarters in Spain that “real changes are always built from the bottom up” and cautioned about “not raising our hopes about so many populisms that are doing so much damage to our continent”.
The Archbishop of Merida and Apostolic Administrator of Caracas has supported the ACN campaign to support the church in this country.
In Venezuela, 30% of children suffer from malnutrition, 60% of families search for food on the street every day, censorship has grown enormously, “85% of the media are confronted with restrictions and the free press is very much threatened,” said the Cardinal. He added that the disappearance of young people is constant and “the repression is enormous”.
However, the Catholic Church in Venezuela “does not lose hope, creativity and constancy” and is completely dedicated to helping the people in this social, political, economic and humanitarian crisis. “The Church works creatively in order to serve others,” he said. “In the most popular districts, the presence of the Church is impressive, involved in all these districts with a joy and a dedication that edifies me”.
The parishes in the dioceses of Venezuela have been transformed into social dining halls and medical dispensaries, the Cardinal explained. “The people unite to give solutions to the common problems” and it is “the simple and humble people who give and give, as in the Gospel, the little that they have”. According to the Venezuelan Cardinal, the work of the priests, religious and laity who are helping others is incredible: “they do not only give food; it is to accompany, to give their time and dedication. The greatest lack now is that of affection”.
Regarding the future of his country, the Archbishop of Merida added that “we want a way out of this situation that is peaceful and democratic, without the language of war, we all need each other. We must do something beyond political beliefs and ideologies, creating deep consciences for the present and for the future”.
The ACN Foundation is supporting priests, men and women religious, lay people, catechists, and seminarians to respond to the crossroads the country is at. In addition to helping in their support and formation, the Holy See’s Foundation has opened humanitarian emergency projects such as supporting parish canteens, building water wells or purchasing electric generators, among other needs.