As he received the new Venezuelan Ambassador to the Vatican, , Iván Guillermo Rincón Urdaneta, Pope Benedict asked Hugo Chavez’s Government to respect a space of freedom for the Church, because the State doesn’t have “anything to fear” from her.
The Pope initiated his speech wishing the best for President Hugo Chavez, as well as “ my sincere sentiments of affection to the Venezuelan people, for which I pray the Almighty, that in the actual situation of his social and economical life, he seeks recklessly the most adapted solutions to reach ever higher objectives of justice, solidarity, in compliance with the Christian spirit, that has done so much to forge the national identity.
The Holy See, the Pope explained, follows very closely the events of this beloved ”Land of Grace” which he manifested in various occasions.
The Holy Father then reminded the “constant work of the Church in Venezuela often carried out precariously in terms of human and material resources.”
The Pope then singled out the right of the Bishops to express their own point of view, noting that the Church in fulfillment of its mission, proclaims the Gospel, and a message of forgiveness and reconciliation, that is the only way to reach a stable concord, forbidding that legitimate discrepancies lead to aggressive confrontations.
“It is well known that the social situation doesn’t better, applying exclusively technical means, but that attention has to be paid to fostering values, respecting the ethical dimension of the person, the family and the social life”, the Pope added.
The pope called for “various forms of fruitful collaboration between Church and State, in order to provide a better service to the development of the persons and to promote a spirit of coexistence in freedom and solidarity, which will profit all
“The Church needs this freedom to exercise its mission, choose its Pastors, and guide its faithful.”
Finally, Pope Benedict concluded saying “I hope that the actual difficulties in the Church-State relations vanish and return to be this fruitful collaboration following the noble Venezuelan tradition.”