.- Pope Benedict XVI told a group of Venezuelan bishops meeting at the Vatican last week that he was “concerned” about the “ills and unrest” that have befallen the country, and he asked them to “continue standing by those who suffering the most.”
Archbishop Baltasar Porras, president of the Bishops’ Conference of Venezuela, told the newspaper El Universal that Pope Benedict is perfectly aware of the situation in the country and that he is “concerned about the high grade of polarization and frustration, as well as the attacks against the Church.”
The Pope’s message for the Church in Venezuela comes at a time of political turmoil in the country, as just a few days before parliamentary elections were to be held, a group of candidates—representing the five opposition parties--withdrew from the process citing the lack of guarantees against voter fraud. Reminding the bishops that there should never be “a Sunday without Mass,” the Pope encouraged them to remain constant in prayer and he bestowed his blessing upon the entire nation.
The Pope also sent a special greeting to Cardinal Rosalio Castillo Lara, who has been the recipient of recent verbal attacks on the part of government officials.
In addition to meeting with the Pope, the bishops also met with other Vatican officials concerning the Church in Venezuela.