Reaction in Venezuela
Venezuelan cardinal defends criticism of Chavez reforms

.- Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino defended the bishops’ recent criticism of proposed constitutional reforms by President Hugo Chavez, saying the bishops’ opinions are consistent with their mission to “serve the people” and not an attempt to seek power.

“We are Venezuelan citizens with full rights to intervene in the life of the country, but when we do so we do it not as a political party, not under a political banner, but simply as bishops of the Church, as builders of peace, as fathers and brothers of all.  We intervene not like someone seeking power but rather like someone who desires to serve the people,” the cardinal said.

He called on all Venezuelans to seek out unity through Jesus Christ, “overcoming the differences in the distinct ways of thinking and in our political sympathies.” The bishops of the country are united, he said, “in service to all Venezuelans and without political loyalties.  That is a gift of God for Venezuela,” the cardinal said.

In their recent document on Chavez’s proposed reforms, the bishops said the proposed reforms “harm the fundamental rights of the democratic system and of the human person, endangering freedom and social coexistence. We consider them morally unacceptable in light of the Church’s Social Doctrine.”

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