The Archbishop of Caracas, Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, remarked to Catholics recently that the Venezuelan government decided long ago to expel religion from schools, and therefore they should avoid the temptation to fall into secularism or yield to its onslaught.
“This is the immense challenge that we face, amidst the onslaught of secularism. Once we learn of the laws and norms that will exclude religious education—which was never obligatory or compulsive—from school curricula and the school day, we will have to come up with creative ways to carry out our sublime mission,” the cardinal said.
While noting that the new federal law does not in itself prohibit religious education from the classroom, the implementation of the law is where the attempt will be made to do so, he explained.
This is the interpretation that has already been applied to the new law in certain regions of the country, the cardinal warned, saying the government had long decided it would move to expel religion education from schools.
Cardinal Urosa stressed that evangelization through education is also part of the Church’s mission, and therefore he called for the defense of “the identity of Catholic schools and insistence on our right to educate students in the faith.”
“If there is a temptation in which we must not fall it is the temptation of secularism, of softening the proclamation of our faith, of giving up carrying out the glorious mission of being messengers of the Kingdom of God, of resigning ourselves to do nothing about it,” the cardinal said.
Cardinal Urosa recalled the words of Christ, telling his flock, “Be not afraid” and trust in the Lord. “We have the structures, the personnel, the experience, and above all, we have the grace of God,” he added.
Venezuela’s new law on education was approved by the National Assembly, which is dominated by the party of Hugo Chavez. The vote was pushed through without any consultation with the opposition or other sectors of society.