.- The Archbishop of Caracas, Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, has called on Venezuelans to do more than just complain about the new education law canceling all religion classes in state-run schools. Instead, he urged his countrymen to to work against the new laws, pointing to the fact that they can be submitted to a constitutional review through a national referendum.
During a television interview, the cardinal referred to the recent laws on education and said Venezuelans should use every means possible to defend âa series of rights that cannot be taken away.â
The recent law on education was passed by the National Assembly without input from opposition leaders and others who called for more debate and consensus on the plan.
Cardinal Urosa slammed the government for fostering confrontation instead of unity among Venezuelans. He also rejected comments by National Assembly Vice President Saul Ortega, who called the cardinal a liar. âItâs one thing to have differing views from those of government representatives, itâs quite another to tell lies,â he stressed.
The cardinal said religious education in schools is not a privilege of the Churchâas the government claimsâbut rather a service that has been rendered to the Venezuelan people âfor centuriesâ and a right that cannot be abrogated with the stroke of a pen.
Cardinal Urosa noted there was widespread opposition to the new laws on education, especially from teachers and from some media outlets. The countryâs bishops oppose the measure because it promotes a secularist education, âtaking away the right of children to receive religious education in accord with the parentsâ preferences.â
The Church will do everything possible to continue providing religious education, in accord with the law, he said, adding that after school ends it is almost impossible to bring âthat uplifting spiritual and moral [message] to Venezuelan kids.â