The auxiliary bishops and clergy of the Archdiocese of Caracas have expressed their solidarity with Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino in response to the repeated insults and attacks leveled against him by President Hugo Chavez, saying the Venezuelan leader must “change his attitude” and behavior that are “offending Catholics and the entire nation.”
In a statement issued on Monday, the bishops and clergy expressed their support for the cardinal, who has been in Rome this month for the Consistory of Cardinals, and their concern over the level of violence and lack of harmony in the country at a time in which there should be “a climate of reflection” in preparation for the December 2 referendum on constitutional reform.
The statement noted that the Venezuelan bishops have expressed their thoughtful opinions and have fulfilled their duty to call on all citizens to “participate and contribute” with their own points of view. “Expression of a reasoned opinion is not a crime, but rather a pastoral duty for any Bishop of the Catholic Church, when what is at risk is the common good.”
The attacks against the Archbishop of Caracas, “who has never offended or showed disrespect to the President or to any member of the national government,” the statement continues, “are not only a disgrace to the presidency but also offend Catholics and all Venezuelans who are respectful of man’s dignity and his inherent rights.”
While they expressed their willingness to forgive, the bishops and priests said they felt it their duty “to exhort and demand a change of attitude.”