The Church in Venezuela is commemorating the 25th anniversary of the first visit to the country by Pope John Paul II. During his trip, he called on all Venezuelans to “penetrate the social, economic and political order with the spirit of the Gospel.”
In a brief remembrance, Caritas Venezuela recalled the late Pontiff’s first visit and said one could speak of a “before and after” for the country, as the visit marked a turning point for the life of Venezuela.
“The afternoon of January 26, 1983 will definitively go down in the history of Venezuela, especially of the Church in Venezuela as the first time a successor of St. Peter joyfully greeted us from the door of the airplane that brought him from Rome.” Shortly after, the Pontiff “humbly kneeled down to kiss Venezuelan soil,” Caritas said.
During that visit, John Paul II reminded Venezuelans that “the faith must not only be believed but also practiced and applied to life. There is no sector of individual or social activity that can escape from its orientation, which...should penetrate the social, economic and political order with the spirit of Gospel.”
He warned that the divorce between faith and daily life is one of the most serious errors of our time. Therefore, “achieving such a practical reactivation of the faith that overcomes this incoherency is a colossal task,” which the Venezuelan people must undertake.
He added that Venezuelans must “be the defenders within society of the great human and Christian values,” such as: life, peace, stability and unity within the family, authentic civil and moral progress and education.
“Proclaim and bear witness that only brutal honesty in public and private administrative responsibilities will strengthen the future of the country,” Pope John Paul II said.