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Spokesman for Venezuelan bishops insists Chavez engage in dialogue rather than "cheap shots"

.- The undersecretary of the Bishops’ Conference of Venezuela, Father Aldo Fonti, said this week the statements by President Hugo Chavez against the bishops are more of an offense to the people than anything else and that “the healthiest thing” for Chavez to do would be to engage the bishops in dialogue instead of cheap shots.

Chavez continued with his attacks on the clergy last week, accusing some priests of being “hypocritical Pharisees” and claiming that some bishops take sides with “tyrants who exploit the people, who betray the thought and the works of Jesus and stab Christ in the back.”

Father Fonti said such attacks were of inappropriate and “offend not so much the bishops but that people of the Church, the Catholic people.”  He also called on Chavez to get beyond the media sound bites and to sit down with the bishops and dialogue.  “There should be mutual respect and trust knowing that we all are seeking the best for our country and that there are no other intentions other than for the good of the country.”

Father Fonti also stressed that the Catholic Church does not have alliances with any political or economical groups, but rather her commitment is to the gospel and the Venezuelan people.  “The Church’s contribution is towards a country in peace, where we all have a place and where there is mutual respect.  The Church works for this,” he said.

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