Venezuelan Bishops Get Note of Solidarity from Vatican

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 22, 2002 ( The Vatican expressed its solidarity with the bishops of Venezuela as they lead a flock divided over the country’s president, Hugo Chávez.

Archbishop Renato Martino, the new president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, sent a message to the bishops applauding their latest appeal to their countrymen, expressed in the motto: “Let us avoid destruction and build reconciliation.”

The message on behalf of the pontifical council hopes that “the government and Venezuelan people, especially those who are responsible for giving concrete answers and offering alternatives for the solution of the conflict, turn their attention and heart toward Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace, so that they will be able to promote reconciliation and protect Venezuela’s unity.”

Archbishop Martino stressed that “peace requires truth, justice, love and freedom as conditions that can never be given up, and that the problem of peace, properly understood, cannot do without moral principles nor can it be separated from respect for dignity and human rights, in the first place the right to life.”

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