The National Council of the Laity in Venezuela issued a press release this week rejecting anti-religious violence in the country, especially the attacks on the Apostolic Nunciature and the main synagogue in Caracas, and calling for a day of prayer this Wednesday, February 11.
“As Venezuelan Catholics, we reject the scorn for human life,” the statement said. “We reject the violent rhetoric, whatever its origins, and words filled with hatred which lead to division among Venezuelans.”
The statement went on to reject “the repeated attacks on the Apostolic Nunciature, which are not only an attack against an Embassy, but above all, a direct attack on the Holy Father and all Catholics. Likewise, we reject the constant offenses and attacks against the Bishops’ Conference and other representatives of the Catholic Church.”
The Council also expressed its rejection of the “profanation of the Tiferet Synagogue of Caracas and all the recent attacks against the Jewish community that reflect anti-Semitic attitudes unheard of until now in Venezuela.”
“Religion is an essential part of the culture of all peoples,” the statement noted. “The State has the duty to respect religious freedom, which is a fundamental right recognized not only in our Constitution but in all international statements on human rights. Our liberator was an example of this respect for the religious conviction and traditions of our people. Violent acts do not reflect the feelings of Venezuelans, who are by nature peaceful, tolerant and welcoming.”
Therefore, the Council invites “all Catholics, all of our Christian brothers and sisters and the members of other religious confessions and all people of good will, to join us in a national day of prayer for peace in Venezuela next Wednesday, February 11, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.”