president, Archbishop Roberto Luckert, publicly chided Attorney General
Isaias Rodriguez—appointed by President Hugo Chavez—that the
investigation is not about the private life of Father Pinango but about
investigation into the crime was just beginning, Rodriguez told
reporters that Father Pinango’s murder might have been related to a
“homosexual relationship.” Archbishop Luckert said the bishops
could only go by the information that is reported in the media.
“Up to this
point we don’t know anything else besides the things being said by the
Attorney General, who seems to want to smear the proceedings and
confuse public opinion even more,” he said.
explained that the bishops were not seeking “concessions with the
truth” because “we understand what Scripture says: the truth will make
us free, and the more clarity there is the more friendship there
is.” He noted that up to now officials have not contacted the
Bishops’ Conference. Only Archbishop Rafael Padron of Cumana was
contacted by investigators to come and identify the body.
bishops, including the president of the Conference, Bishop Ubaldo
Santana, and Cardinal Jorge Urosa of Caracas, have expressed their
support for the statements by Archbishop Luckert.
“We wish to
reiterate our unanimity with regards to the statement, and we do not
want this to get mixed up with any other political issue, much less
with the issue of the elections or with what has happened at other
times. We wish to express our support for Archbishop Baltazar
Porras and Archbishop Roberto Luckert,” Cardinal Urosa said.
said he would not respond to each assertion that is made during the
investigation, saying the statement by the bishops “was very clear” and
calls for the investigation to determine who was responsible for the
crime and that the work be carried out in transparent fashion.
pointed to contradictions between the Attorney General and
investigators, saying they showed that public officials and those
involved in the investigation need to get on the same page. “The
investigation should be carried out to its final consequences, and we
are willing to accept the results of the investigation, but officials
must give an example of equanimity and impartiality,” he said.
between political leaders and the Venezuelan bishops took a turn for
the worse this week in the wake of the murder of Father Jorge Pinango,
an official of the Bishops’ Conference, who was killed last Saturday at
a hotel in Caracas.