.- At the conclusion of their Plenary Assembly, the Bishops’ Conference of Venezuela issued several statements underscoring the urgent need for the respect of freedom of expression, especially in the media. They also denounced attempts to institutionalize attacks on the family as well as traditional marriage.
The bishops criticized a new proposed law on equality that would strengthen respect for human rights but yet would commit "grave violations and irreparable harm to the fundamental rights and structures of the Venezuelan society that are recognized in and guaranteed by our Constitution."
The new measure in the National Assembly, which has caused great concern in the Catholic Church and other Christian communities, comes at a time when marriage and the family are already suffering from economic, social and moral deterioration and from the impact of a sexually-saturated culture, the bishops said. They warned that the measure would mean the approval of "same sex unions, granting them the same legal and property benefits as those of traditional marriage." It would also ignore the constitutional protection of the inviolability of all human life, "whether through contraceptives or abortion."
For this reason, the bishops explained, "when the institutions of marriage and the family, which are the pillars of a society, are threatened by social, economic, ideological and legal situations, the different institutions of society must mobilize in their defense. Consequently, the reaction and rejection by society is legitimate when the dignity of the human person and his inherent rights are in danger."
For this reason, they added, "all men and women of Venezuela must be vigilant in studying and debating this new measure that, if approved, would seriously compromise the future of our society."
"We invite all to work and make suggestions that contribute to maintaining the dignity of the human person and to reject anything that weakens such fundamental rights as the dignity and respect for the human person and the natural structure of marriage and the family."