.- In a forceful editorial this week, Archbishop Ovidio Perez Morales, one of the most respected Church leaders in Venezuela denounced the march towards totalitarianism that the current government has undertaken.
The Archbishop Emeritus of Los Teques, cited a definition of totalitarianism offered by John Paul II, saying that it âdestroys the fundamental freedom of man and violates his rights.â
âThrough the use of heavy propaganda,â he continued, âit fosters violence and annihilates the sense of responsibility in the human person.â
âThis is what happened in Europe (prior to WWII),â the archbishop stressed. âIt became easy for leaders to lead âthe massesâ towards armed conflict. Myths were spread, religious persecution and political discrimination were established, freedoms were crushed through legal maneuvering and police force, and psychological conditioning occurred through the monopolization of the media. Moral energy was weakened,â he said.
Archbishop Perez warned that the justification of certain actions based on popular support and electoral victories âmust be the object of discernmentâ¦because Hitler could boast of such things. And legality was made subject to his ânew order.â"
"For this reason," the archbishop said, "âlegalâ is not the same thing as âlegitimateâ and âmoral.â As for the rest, sweeping electoral majorities is characteristic of already-established totalitarian systems.â
He noted that John Paul II identified the roots of totalitarianism âin the denial of the transcendent dignity of the human person, the visible image of the invisible God, and precisely for this reason, a natural subject of rights that nobody can violate; not an individual, not a group, not a social class or a nation or a State.â
Consequently, he went on, when in Venezuela officials talk about the âSocialism of the 21st Centuryâ and use phrases like âone mindâ and âone party,â what they are doing is dividing the people into âgood citizens (revolutionaries, patriots, socialists) and bad citizens (counter-revolutionaries, anti-patriots, and capitalists).â
âEvery totalitarian concept collides inevitably with Christianity, which sees God alone as absolute and worthy of adoration and Jesus Christ alone as Messiah! And it collides with every genuine concept of humanity, which has at the center and as fundamental reference, not the state, the ârevolution,â the âparty,â or the âleader,â but the person.â