At the close of their 89th Ordinary Assembly, the Bishops’ Conference of Venezuela issued a statement calling on political and social leaders to enter a new stage of national reconciliation.
“We bishops feel the best service we can offer the country in these times of antagonism between Venezuelans is to keep us united, to be faithful in proclaiming to the country the Gospel of Reconciliation, to establish bridges of understanding and to contribute values and ethical principles for the building of a culture of peace and of solidarity,” the statement indicated.
The bishops said they hope that “a social and political conscience is awakened in young people, animated by authentic desires of freedom, truth, justice and solidarity.”
“We must seek out the common good of the country, promote dialogue and unity.” “In order to rebuild good relations between sectors and groups that are in conflict with each other, we need to return to a frank, good-natured, trustworthy and prudent [dialogue],” the bishops said.
They also warned, “If we want to achieve a stable and lasting peace, it is essential that we are all willing to listen to each other, to dialogue, to work together for the common good.”
In order to advance along the path of dialogue and reconciliation, they continued, “Insults, discrediting and aggression towards persons and institutions, both civil and ecclesial, must be avoided.”
“We reiterate our conviction that the motto ‘Homeland, Socialism or death’ and other similar ones that are contrary to the value of life contribute nothing to the urgent task of bringing together all Venezuelans.”
“We Venezuelans want to advance along democratic paths and not under systems that restrict fundamental freedoms, rejecting violence, hatred and class warfare,” the bishops stressed.
The statement concluded with an exhortation “to all Catholics and people of good will to pray and work for peace and reconciliation, for solidarity and the conversion of all and to carry out a common plan for the country without excluding anyone.”