.- In a statement issued at the conclusion of their Ordinary Assembly, which took place January 26-28, the National Council of Laity of Venezuela (NCLV) said the country’s government should avoid “both savage capitalism and Marxist-Leninist ideology, in order to guarantee respect for the dignity and freedom of the human person.”
In its statement dated February 7th and made public on February 12th, the NCLV expressed its total rejection of “the concentration of powers by the President of the Republic and the special powers” allowing him to temporarily rule by decree, “because they exclude the opinion and participation of the powers established in our Constitution and of those of the sovereign people of Venezuela.”
The association also demanded that the reform of the Venezuelan Constitution be done correctly, and it called on the State to safeguard the absolute rights of the human person “whose dignity cannot be neglected,” “freedom of education, recognizing the family as fundamentally responsible for the education of their children,” and society “as the protagonist in the building of the country.”
The NCLV also reiterated its “total support” of the bishops and their recent pastoral letter, rejecting “every kind of attack against the Church, her pastors, and against religion, as well as the manipulation of the Gospel and even the very person of Christ.” It also reaffirmed the centrality of family as “the first and fundamental school,” and that “the rights and duties of parents in the education of their children” must be defended.
The Venezuelan lay group demanded “respect for the rights of free expression of thought, ideas and opinions, and more so, for the transcendent dimension of each human being. We proclaim the right to freedom of religion and worship, to public expression of religious beliefs and to the teaching of religion in schools.”
The group denounced recent threats against the media and situations of coercion. The statement encouraged members of the media to remain true to their “responsibility to be potential transmitters of fundamental values, in accord with human dignity.”
It also renewed its own commitment to “watch over and defend respect for moral values,” to continue educating “young people and adults in the values and virtues of the Gospel and in the principles of the social teachings of the Church.”