In a message concluding their recent plenary assembly, the bishops of Venezuela made a strong call for dialogue to foster peace and reconciliation in the country.
In their message titled "Justice and Truth, Avenues For Reconciliation and Peace," the Venezuelan Bishops’ Conference described a series of deep rifts currently affecting the country, such as the incitement of "hatred and confrontation" in various sectors of the country, including from government representatives.
The bishops criticized the disregard for the constitution and the increasing corruption of the Venezuelan government. They also stressed the need to defend life against the various threats of today and the right of everyone to freely participate in politics to make their voices heard.
"In our current situation, as a country seeking peace and social harmony, the practice of truth in love is indispensable...The Church promotes the comprehensive growth of man following the proclamation of the commandment of love," they said.
"The faith of Christians must be clearly made manifest, not only in the fruitful and intimate encounter with Jesus Christ...but also by meeting the needs of others in charity and solidarity,” the bishops added.
Reiterating their call for dialogue, the bishops urged "the promotion of Christian principles and values that have traditionally characterized the life of the vast majority of Venezuelans.”
“To this end, we encourage the fostering of an encounter with the living and risen Christ. He who knows and loves Jesus Christ opens his heart to others, because only love in truth is the source of true development. We encourage all to exercise charity with greater imagination and creativity and to embrace the invitation of Jesus to make the Beatitudes our own through various initiatives, particularly by caring for the needy, the poor, the sick, children and the elderly.”
The Venezuelan bishops said they supported efforts to "eliminate the climate of war,” and expressed their “full support of the efforts of the presidents of the bishops' conferences of Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela to seek paths of peace, harmony and reconciliation."
They also called for respect and harmony in the upcoming elections, as well as for an appropriate policy of respect for the environment, consistent with the views expressed by Pope Benedict XVI who recalled that the protection of the environment should always go hand in hand with the promotion and development of all people.