As the Venezuelan Bishops Conference convened for their 83rd Plenary Assembly, the Apostolic Nuncio to Venezuela, Archbishop Andre Dupuy, called on the bishops to be witnesses to “true hope” in the midst of the current crisis facing the country.
The archbishop recalled, “During more than four years I have shared together with you the joys, hopes, sadness and anguish of the people entrusted to you.” He also praised peaceful demonstrations, which “honor your people and democracy.”
“There are two dangers to true hope,” he continued. “Presumption and fatalism. The former led Peter to deny; the latter enveloped Judas in betrayal.”
“You and I are convinced that the Church’s duty is to be, for all, the messenger of true hope.”
Archbishop Dupuy later explained that “in a society marked by a crisis of difficult precedence, we need fidelity, clarity, and the courage of the Old Testament prophets, so that the Church continues to always be a spiritual and moral reference point.”
“A prophet is one who admonishes, one who unmasks,” he said. A prophet is not an “iconoclast of power, but rather if its abuses, when civil authority, instituted for the common good, goes astray in favor of an individual or single group.”
“If society and the State want the Church to be a sign and an agent of dialogue and reconciliation,” warned the archbishop, “they should recognize her and guarantee her the right to enlighten temporal realities on the basis of the Gospel, even when her judgment contradicts the opinions and particular interests of the former or the excesses of the latter.”
Archbishop Dupuy lastly encouraged the Venezuelan bishops to be “humble and realistic” in dealing with current events. “Let us avoid both discouragement and illusory optimism. Let us not close our eyes, let us be attentive so that our hope does not become acquiescence or violence.”