Denver, Colo., Sep 30, 2010 (CNA) - Last Saturday, September 25, Chiara “Luce” Badano - an Italian teenager whose short life showed extraordinary holiness - was officially beatified in a ceremony outside of Rome. In his latest video for Catholic News Agency, Archdiocese of Denver youth and campus ministry director Chris Stefanick describes the life and witness of “the first member of Generation X” to be considered for sainthood.
Chiara was her parents' only child, a long-awaited daughter born in 1971 after 11 years of their marriage. She and her parents were strongly involved with Focolare, a movement with Catholic roots that promotes world peace.
As a teenager, she took great joy in life, and seemed poised for a promising future. “She had a bright life, a beautiful face - all the boys loved her,” Stefanick recounts. “She would go to coffee shops, she was into mountain climbing and tennis.”
The young woman wanted to work as a flight attendant. Instead, as Stefanick describes, her life took a course that most would consider to be tragic: “One day when she was a teenager she was playing tennis and got an excruciating pain in her shoulder … After that, she was diagnosed with a very rare, painful form of bone cancer.” Her resolve to fight the cancer was contradicted by the results of repeated tests.
Her response to the negative prognosis was to embrace God's will. “Jesus,” she prayed, “If this is what you want, so do I.” The Denver youth minister describes Chiara's response to her progressing disease: “When her beautiful hair fell out, she would hold it up in the air and say: 'For you, Jesus'.”
Stefanick explains in the video that the young woman showed a rare determination to offer her suffering for the good of others, both through prayer and penance – including the refusal of painkillers - and by continuing to perform works of mercy and encourage others while hospitalized.
When friends came “to try to lift up her spirits,” Stefanick notes, they found there was no need, rather, “they would leave all uplifted by her joy.” Despite being told to rest, she counseled other patients who were experiencing difficulty and depression. Her reported response was: “I'll have time to rest later.”
The Archdiocese of Denver's youth director enthusiastically quotes Blessed Chiara's own description of her attitude toward death: “Previously I felt the most I could do was let go. Instead, now I feel enfolded in God's marvelous plan, which is slowly being unveiled to me.” He recounts how “she died on October 7, the feast of the Holy Rosary,” with the words: “Be happy, because I'm happy.”
“What an awesome saint for Generation X,” the youth minister reflects, “a generation that tends to be consumed with materialism, consumed with self … prone to despair.” The demographic group in question, children of the post-war “baby boomers,” have been characterized at times as cynical or adrift, partly due to the profound cultural shifts into which they were born during the years 1961 to 1981.
Stefanick concludes by invoking the intercession of Bl. Chiara Luce Badano. “May many of our generation, follow you to the altars,” he prayed, expressing a hope for his contemporaries to pursue the road to beatification and sainthood.
Buenos Aires, Argentina, Sep 30, 2010 (CNA) - During the Diocesan Assembly of the Laity, Bishop Jorge Jugones of Lomas de Zamora in Argentina stressed the need for more Catholics to be committed to the promotion of the human person and the common good of society.
Bishop Jugones said there is a disconnect between public officials at the local, regional and national level, and society. He called the situation troubling because people do not feel they are represented or understood. “The crises in our institutions have been long coming. It is a crisis of meaning and of programs that have no benefit for the country,” he added.
For this reason, he continued, the laity must have a more “direct and specific presence” in society, in order to show “the face of the local Church: credible because of its closeness, open because of its hospitality and testimonial because of its spirit of sacrifice.”
Bishop Jugones urged lay Catholics to work together with all social, cultural and religious organizations to overcome social inequality and to reach out to those who feel marginalized. They should be “artisans of dialogue, avoiding individualism.”
Holiness is essential, he added, “for the social action of the laity in the world to be effective.”
Front Royal, Va., Sep 30, 2010 (CNA) - Commenting on a recent analysis which shows a jump in the number of cohabitating couples in the U.S., relationship expert and father of seven Anthony Buono said the figures are evidence of “individual selfishness” and a “contraceptive mentality” in our culture. Buono argued in remarks to CNA that those who avoid or postpone marriage while living together fail to experience “true happiness.”
The Denver Post reported last week that the Census Bureau showed a 13 percent increase in the number of opposite-sex unmarried couples who shared living arrangements. The number rose to 7.5 million couples this year as opposed to a 2 percent decrease between 2008 and 2009. According to the Denver paper, demographers suggested that a suffering economy may be contributing to boyfriends and girlfriends seeking to increase financial help from one another.
In commentsto CNA on Wednesday, father of seven and founder of Ave Maria Singles Anthony Buono said that “more and more couples living together” show how individuals are seeking “to enjoy all the benefits of marriage, without the commitment required of marriage.”
“I’m sure none of us have any illusions of couples having the conviction or strength to live together simply to share expenses in a down economy, or to save money together before marriage, or to get to know each other as people so they can determine if they will work out in the long run,” Buono added.
“Let’s face it, couples living together are fornicating,” he asserted. “Living together falsely legitimizes their ability to have sex whenever they wish.”
“The cohabitation mentality completely includes a contraceptive mentality,” Buono wrote. “It is individual selfishness disguised as a good idea that seems to care about the other.”
“There is so much to be said about how much cohabitation, pre-marital sex, and the use of artificial contraception destroys the person and breaks down society as a whole,” he noted. “It is a historical fact that the family is the heart of society.”
“Getting married and having children is what life is all about for the majority of people. Supporting marriage and the children of marriage is what life is about for the rest. Everything else has its place, but they are secondary to this.”
Buono continued to say that those “avoiding it, preventing it, postponing it, or committed to never do it are really missing the boat to true happiness. Living together has a track record of couples ending their relationship, not getting married.”
“Let me end by sharing a big plug for marriage and children, since there are so many who feel life’s financial struggles make it an excuse for cohabitating,” Buono said. “I am married and have seven children. At tax time, I save a bundle because of all the deductions I have due to all the dependents I have.”
“I know a family with 12 children who don’t even pay income taxes. The large family is the most economical way to go. The older children help take care of the younger children, and the gift of siblings cannot be underestimated.”
“Do yourself and society a favor,” he stated. “Get married and have lots of babies. Become great parents and raise your children to become exceptional adults capable of making a positive difference in the world.”
Washington D.C., Sep 30, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington on Tuesday overturned a federal court’s ban on taxpayer funding for human embryonic stem cell research (ESCR).
In August U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth ruled that the funding of the research by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) should be suspended while its legality was challenged. A coalition of opponents says the funding violates federal law barring funding for research which destroys human embryos.
Government lawyers said dozens of research projects would be ruined if the ban continued, the BBC reports.
Judge Lamberth’s ruling had already been temporarily suspended but Tuesday’s decision overrules it until a final decision is reached.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs praised the three-judge panel’s ruling, saying the "pursuit of groundbreaking treatments and cures” was a top priority of President Obama. Gibbs said the White House was “heartened” that the NIH and their grantees can “continue moving forward while the appeal is resolved.”
Sam Casey, a lawyer for the opposing coalition, said the ruling was disappointing. He said funding opponents were confident in their case and "expect the court will ultimately end taxpayer funding of unlawful, unnecessary and unethical experiments on living human embryos," the BBC says.
Human ESCR investigates the therapeutic possibilities of using embryonic stem cells to treat human diseases. It relies upon stem cells harvested by destroying human embryos.
In an interview last month, the Westchester Institute’s Fr. Thomas Berg addressed the ethical objections to ESCR funding.
The practice is “complicity in the destruction of individual, embryonic human persons,” he said.
“You were once an embryo. That’s a simple matter of scientific and biological facts.”
In his view, Judge Lamberth’s decision correctly interpreted the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, which bars the funding of embryo-destroying research.
However, the case has energized ESCR advocates. In Fr. Berg’s view, the Dickey-Wicker Amendment is “certainly more in danger now than it ever has been.”
After the ruling Rep. Diana Degette (D-Colo.), an advocate of ESCR funding, announced she would reintroduce a bill to lift funding restrictions. One of the bill’s two Republican co-sponsors, Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.), recently lost his state’s Senate primary election to Christine O’Donnell.
A Rasmussen Poll report released in August found that 57 percent of likely voters oppose federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, while only 33 percent support it.
Vatican City, Sep 30, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Holy Father is asking for prayers in the month of October that universities might provide an environment that bears witness to the Gospel message.
Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for October is: "That Catholic Universities may more and more be places where, in the light of the Gospel, it is possible to experience the harmonious unity existing between faith and reason."
His mission intention is: "That the World Mission Day may afford an occasion for understanding that the task of proclaiming Christ is an absolutely necessary service to which the Church is called for the benefit of humanity."
Portland, Ore., Sep 30, 2010 (CNA) - Announcing this year's initiative to protect life in his archdiocese, which will begin October 3 on Respect Life Sunday, Portland Archbishop John Vlazny penned an empathetic plea to all citizens of Oregon. His column in last Tuesday's Catholic Sentinel urged the faithful to consider the dignity and value of all human life, making a “love without measure” their motivation for choosing rightly even in the most difficult dilemmas.
“Sometimes the challenges can be formidable when our sisters and brothers are confronted with life issues,” he acknowledged, describing a number of situations in which individuals must make choices of a life-or-death nature.
“It’s very tempting for a college girl to seek an abortion,” he offered as an example, “when she barely knows the father and he offers to help pay for the abortion but in no way cares to be involved with raising a child.”
Likewise, “busy families with an aging grandparent who slips into a 'persistent vegetative state,'” may be “encouraged, even by physicians, to withdraw the food and water that keep him alive.”
The archbishop described a situation perhaps even more painful, involving a similar choice. “A young couple … suddenly finds they are pregnant again and this time with a little girl. But a second trimester ultrasound reveals that the girl has a genetic abnormality that won’t let her live beyond her first or second birthday.”
“There are no easy answers, but there are indeed some good answers that we know are right,” Archbishop Vlazny wrote. “Undoubtedly,” he continued, “sacrifices are going to be required in each instance. But we know that every human being, at every stage and condition is loved by God.”
He went on to describe how individuals facing those tremendous difficulties made the right choices: “A child was born and adopted. An elderly man died of natural causes and the devotion of the family inspired many. The short life of the little girl strengthened family life and helped parents to be truly thankful for the gifts and graces God had given them.”
“How we deal with these situations reflects the depth of our own humanity,” the archbishop pointed out. He explained that the U.S. bishops' Respect Life Program, conducted every October through Respect Life Sunday, “proclaims a consistent ethic of life, one which embraces a number of life issues” and stresses that “every human life is sacred.”
Highlighting examples of this ethical imperative in action, Archbishop Vlazny pointed to the growing pro-life movement among youth. “Once young people are aware of the gravity of abortion,” he observed, “they are eager to join the campaign to build a 'culture of life.'” He also praised the work of Martha and Mary Ministries, a group of nurses, clergy, doctors and others who help and comfort the terminally ill in Oregon.
“This month,” he proposed, “we Catholic people recommit ourselves in the protection of all human life, from conception to natural death.” He especially urged Catholics in Oregon and across the nation to “pray (the) rosary every day, within the family if possible, for the cause of life.”
“After all,” he concluded, recalling the theme of this year's national Respect Life Program, “The measure of love is to love without measure.”
Madrid, Spain, Sep 30, 2010 (CNA) - The Council of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe will meet September 30 to October 3 in Zagreb, Croatia to reflect on the theme, “Demography and the Family in Europe.” Thirty-six bishops, including many conference presidents, will participate in the meeting.
The council will also study the question of dialogue with the European Union and the Council of Europe, and it will hear reports on the upcoming World Youth Day in Madrid and on the work of the “Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians.”
The second part of the meeting will focus on the service the council provides to the Church in Europe and on the different activities the council’s committees have planned for the next year.
On Friday, October 1, the bishops will meet with Croatian President Ivo Josipovic.
Front Royal, Va., Sep 30, 2010 (CNA) - The Chinese government’s announcement that its “one-child policy” will remain in place will lead the country into a “demographic disaster,” one expert observer has said. He suggested that a coercive euthanasia program could be added to the country’s coercive abortion and birth control campaigns.
Li Ban, head of China’s National Population and Family Planning Commission, said the country “will stick to the family-planning policy in the coming decades," CNN reports.
In response, Joseph Meany, Director of International Coordination at Human Life International (HLI), said the Chinese government’s population control policy is “stubbornly persisting in leading their country into a demographic disaster.”
"It is simply incomprehensible that the Chinese National Population and Family Planning Commission can seriously mean to extend this destructive policy for an unspecified number of decades into the future," said Meaney in a Tuesday press release.
"China's population is currently projected to start shrinking in absolute numbers by 2026, but the coerced low fertility of Chinese women means that the Peoples' Republic of China is one of the fastest ageing societies in the world."
Noting that there are often four grandparents for each child as a result of the policy, Meaney asked how the Chinese government plans to pay the pensions of hundreds of millions of elderly.
"One shudders to think what draconian measures will be implemented by the Chinese government once it becomes fully apparent that they cannot financially support the millions of disabled and elderly persons who are no longer seen as contributing to society. Coercive euthanasia cannot be far behind their renewed commitment to coercive abortion and birth control."
Rome, Italy, Sep 30, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Archbishop Velasio De Paolis, Pontifical Delegate to the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ, announced today in Rome the names of the four counselors who will assist him in fulfilling his duties in the reorganization of the Mexican-born congregation. He also announced the apostolic visitor to Regnum Christi, the lay movement associated with the Legion.
The counselors to Archbishop De Paolis will be Bishop Brian Farrell, LC, Msgr. Mario Marchesi, Father Gianfranco Ghirlanda, SJ, Father Agostino Montan, SC.
The visitor to Regnum Christi will be Archbishop Ricardo Blazquez of Valladolid, Spain.
Vatican Radio, which made the announcement in its Italian edition, recalled that, "according to the decree signed on July 9 by the Secretary of State, (Cardinal) Tarcisio Bertone, Archbishop De Paolis "will have four personal advisors to aid him in carrying out his work, according to the circumstances and possibilities.
“These aides may be assigned specific tasks, particularly visits 'ad referendum.' With their help, the papal delegate will identify, discuss, and clarify the principal topics as they arise during the process he is called to lead."
The main task of the counselors will be to help Archbishop De Paolis revise the constitutions of the Legion of Christ.
Bishop Farrell, 66, is the Dublin-born secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and a consultor for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He was ordained a priest for the Legion in 1969, then served from 1970 to 1976 as director of the Legion of Christ’s novitiate in Connecticut.
Msgr. Marchesi is currently the vicar general for the Italian Diocese of Cremona, but in the past has worked in the Vatican as undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts and director of the law office of the Italian Bishops' Conference. He has also taught canon law at the Legion-owned Pontifical University "Regina Apostolorum" in Rome.
Fr. Ghirlanda only recently stepped down from his post as rector of the Jesuit's Pontifical Gregorian University, where he served for the last six years. A doctor of Canon Law, he taught for 30 years before being promoted to the head of the university.
Fr. Montan, a member of the Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, is the current head of the Office for Consecrated Life in the Diocese of Rome and a professor of canon law at the Pontifical Lateran University in the same city. He is also a consultor to the Vatican Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
Archbishop De Paolis, as coordinator of the visitation to the Regnum Christi movement, will be in charge of naming the movement's visitor.
Archbishop Ricardo Blazquez, 68, was one of the five apostolic visitors of the Legion of Christ who completed their duties last March. He was responsible for the visitation in Spain and Western Europe, excluding Italy.
Archbishop Blazquez served as president of the Spanish Bishops' Conference from 2005 to 2008.
Regnum Christi claims some 70,000 members in 18 countries. The movement includes a branch of consecrated persons, mostly women, whose canonical status will be one of the topics of the visitation.
Vernon, Fla., Sep 30, 2010 (CNA) - A Florida man has asked a city council to end a Pee Wee football game’s pregame prayer tradition, claiming that the four-year-old custom violates his and his son’s First Amendment rights because the games are played on public land.
On Monday Louie Fromm, an assistant coach for the Holmes County Pee Wee Football Association, formally asked the Vernon, Florida City Council to end the practice, Fox News reports.
League officials say they are a private organization that takes no government money and so the city council has no right to demand an end to the prayer. Fromm contends that because the field on which the football games are played is public property, the city must order the prayers to stop.
City officials are waiting on the city attorney’s opinion before taking action.
The 400-player league’s president Debbie Gunter has said a petition with nearly 500 signatures has been circulating in support of continuing the prayer.
Gunter told Fox News that the association has been saying prayers for four years and Fromm “started complaining last year.”
"He has a problem with prayer, but while I don't have a problem with his non-beliefs, he shouldn't have a problem with ours."
She said the two-minute prayer stresses good sportsmanship and faith.
Fromm has said his son has been the target of isolation and ridicule from other players because he does not participate in the prayer. Trying to counter the idea the change would “appease a single upset individual,” he told the city council that they had been “grossly misinformed and blinded by a small group of religious fundamentalists.”
According to Fox News, he claimed that the right to religious freedom was endangered by others and had “already been hijacked by that very same group.”
Washington D.C., Sep 30, 2010 (CNA) - Marking the 100th anniversary of Catholic Charities USA, leaders from the organization met with President Obama last week, who congratulated the group and recognized their decades of service to communities across the nation.
On Sept. 21, Fr. Larry Snyder, president and CEO of Catholic Charities USA, accompanied by executive leadership, members of the board of trustees, and diocesan directors joined President Obama for a private meeting in the Oval Office.
According to a Catholic Charities USA press release, President Obama recognized the organization for their 100 years of service, congratulated them on their centennial anniversary and discussed with them their bipartisan legislative effort aimed at poverty relief.
Greg Kepferle, CEO of Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County in California told the local Morgan Hill Times that the “president was very engaging, warm, thoughtful and genuine.”
“I had the opportunity to talk about the needs of families in San Jose, the creative anti-poverty work of Catholic Charities and of our partnership initiatives,” he added.
The charitable organization celebrated their centennial Sept. 25-28 in Washington, D.C. with several noted events. An opening Mass was presided over by U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops president Cardinal Francis George, and a keynote address was given by president of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum” Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes.
On Sunday, Sept. 26, Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York. Following the liturgy, the prelate delivered a speech on the work of Monsignor William Kerby, pioneer of the Catholic Charities Movement.
Other events during the centennial celebrations included a national leadership summit with talks from international Catholic leaders, a gala concert and a day spent on Capitol Hill in dialogue with congressional district staff.
Denver, Colo., Sep 30, 2010 (CNA) - Dawn Eden's thesis critiquing Christopher West's approach to presenting the teachings of John Paul II's Theology of the Body is continuing to generate debate. On Wednesday, professor Dr. Janet Smith weighed in on the issue, calling Eden's thesis “seriously flawed” after which author Steve Kellmeyer criticized Smith for unleashing “disjointed” attacks.
Eden’s thesis – which gained public attention in June when she published her official defense on her blog – has sparked controversy among some Catholics, as it critically examines popular speaker Christopher West’s presentation of John Paul II’s teachings.
Among the assertions made by West that she faulted was his claim that the Church’s liturgy “is modeled on the union of spouses,” which he supports by saying the Easter Candle is “truly” intended to be a phallic symbol. Eden countered this by citing documentation from the Consilium – the body of experts charged with revising the liturgy following Vatican II – showing that theologians appointed by the Magisterium had rejected the phallic interpretation of the candle.
Eden’s thesis also noted that West, in telling engaged couples that they should not marry until they attain a complete victory over lust, forgets that only the sacrament of matrimony can enable a couple to move from the imperfect virtue of continence into the perfect virtue of marital chastity. As a result, Eden claimed, he unwittingly promotes “a semi-Pelagian ideal of human-powered self-control.”
The author successfully defended her master’s thesis this past May 19 at the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C.
In an article on Catholic Exchange posted on Sept. 29, Dr. Janet Smith – who holds the Father Michael J. McGivney Chair of Life Ethics at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit – offered a critique of Dawn Eden's thesis, saying she believed it to be “seriously flawed and may potentially do much harm.”
“Dawn Eden hopes someday to teach at a Catholic college, I am sure, because of a desire to serve the Church,” Smith wrote. “She, of course, is to be lauded for her desire to do so and for her clear desire to protect the Catholic faithful from representations of the faith in the work of Christopher West that she finds inaccurate and even dangerous.”
However, “I fear some people have taken a mere glance at her thesis, and since they are predisposed to accept her conclusions, they are dazzled by the number of quotations and footnotes into thinking that she has provided a worthy critique West’s work,” Smith continued.
“Go to the sources that she cites and see if her representation of West’s views is accurate,” the professor said. “I think they will discover that Eden regularly distorts what West says.”
Smith added that in her opinion, it was unfortunate that Eden's thesis is “being used to attempt to thwart the work of Christopher West.”
“I am sorry that Eden’s academic career has been launched with the publication of this thesis,” she stated. “I believe she is an intelligent and talented person, but to serve the Church well, she will need to do much more careful work than is exhibited in her thesis.”
“When Eden’s work exhibits the care that West’s does, and when she exhibits his fairness, humility and docility, she will have a great deal to offer the Church.”
Reacting to Smith's post on Thursday, however, Catholic author and lecturer Steve Kellmeyer expressed dismay at the professor's Catholic Exchange piece.
In Sept. 30 post on his blog The Fifth Column, Kellmeyer wrote that “Janet Smith has unleashed one of the most disjointed, unscholarly attacks of her career.”
“Smith, who has zero formal education in theology, who has never even done undergraduate work in the discipline, much less gone through the rigorous examination of a graduate degree in theology, believes Dawn Eden's master's thesis is seriously flawed,” Kellmeyer said, adding that a “classical languages scholar, now informs us that she has become the standard to which graduate theology programs must submit themselves.”
“Keep in mind that by saying this, Smith not only denigrates Eden, she directly denigrates the entire board of theologians who judged Eden's thesis and found it acceptable, and indirectly denigrates the entire teaching institution which gave Eden her degree,” he asserted.
In her article, Kellmeyer argues, Smith “presents an immature, non-theological, virtually incoherent defense of Chris West. Her essay is almost entirely ad hominem, infrequently buttressed by very few and grossly misunderstood passages from John Paul II's general audiences.”
Additionally, said the author, “Smith has decided to go after a 'soft' target, a freshly-minted MA in theology – someone who has exactly the same credentials Chris West has, with the obvious exception that none of Eden's instructors have publicly condemned Eden's work.”
Rome, Italy, Sep 30, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - For World Communications Day 2011, Pope Benedict will emphasize that truth and authentic human experience must remain at the core of communication even in the digital age. Although technology might change the means of communication, the truth "must remain the firm and unchanging point of reference of new media and the digital world."
The theme of "Truth, proclamation and authenticity of life in the digital age" was chosen by the Holy Father for the 45th World Communications Day to be celebrated next year. A statement from the Holy See's Press Office explained that this theme "is to be understood as focusing on the human person who is at the heart of all communicative processes.
"Even in an age that is largely dominated, and at times conditioned, by new technologies, the value of personal witness remains essential," the statement continues. "To approach the truth and to take on the task of sharing it requires the 'guarantee' of an authenticity of life from those who work in the media, and especially from Catholic journalists; an authenticity of life that is no less required in a digital age."
The statement highlighted that "(t)echnology, on its own, cannot establish or enhance a communicator’s credibility, nor can it serve as a source of the values which guide communication. The truth must remain the firm and unchanging point of reference of new media and the digital world, opening up new horizons of information and knowledge."
Pursuing the truth, the statement concluded, is ideally the "fundamental objective of all those who work in the media."
On the feast of the patron of journalists, St. Francis de Sales, on Jan. 24 of next year, the full text of Pope Benedict XVI's message for World Communications Day 2011 will be released.
Rome, Italy, Sep 30, 2010 (CNA) - Archbishop Roberto Luckert of Coro said this week that the 65 congressional seats gained by a minority party in last Sunday’s elections means that the Venezuelan Congress is no longer “just one color,” but is now democratic.
Speaking to Vatican Radio, the archbishop said Venezuelans are full of “joy and satisfaction because once again Venezuela has been an example of democratic civility by getting out to vote.”
He praised Venezuelans for the cordial and optimistic atmosphere surrounding the elections. “There were no confrontations, thanks be to God. The system worked,” he said.
However, the archbishop criticized the long delay in releasing the results at 2 a.m. on Monday morning, despite the “supposedly automated system that should have given us the results in the matter of minutes.”
“In any case,” he continued, “right now the big loser is the president, who tried hard to sell his candidates, and although they won 99 congressional seats, the big loser was Chavez because he was hoping to gain an absolute majority and he didn’t.”
“As of now the Venezuelan Congress is no longer just one color, it is no longer fearful ... It is a truly democratic congress in which laws are going to be studied and worked in to the benefit of all Venezuelans and not just one political party.”