.- As a December 2 referendum on constitutional reform that the bishops of Venezuela have called âmorally unacceptableâ draws near, seminarians have sent a letter to the Venezuelan Bishopsâ Conference expressing their fidelity âin this decisive moment in the history of the country.â
According to Aid to the Church in Need, the seminarians said in their letter that the constitutional reform, in addition to being âmorally unacceptable,â is â"irreconcilable with the Christian Faith and its view of man and society". They thanked the bishops for having warned "emphatically and without hesitation" of this danger.
The seminarians later affirmed that they fear this constitutional reform will lead âto a "curtailment of human dignity and human rights". And as "future pastors and Venezuelans" they speak of their "concern" for the future of the country, a concern in which they are more than ever at one with the bishops. The letter goes on to spell out it out: "We know from history of the tragic fate of countries that have lived under a Socialist regime where the state holds absolute sway over the individual." The letter continues: "We support all those who peacefully uphold their legitimate rights and give public expression to them, in accordance with their consciences. By contrast we regard it as a threat to democracy when violent physical or verbal means are used against those who express their views openly."
The seminarians said they were motivated to write their letter by a spirit of pastoral zealâ and ecclesial conscience.â
Javier Legorreta, an expert on Latin America at Aid to the Church in Need, called it âa hopeful sign to see just how strongly these young seminarians are committed to the future of their country and to the Church. The Church in Venezuela is under attack, but she is strong and courageous."