Bishops demand “peaceful, constitutional and democratic” solution to crisis in Venezuela

The Bishops Conference of Venezuela issued an official statement which was read Sunday in every parish across the country, saying that “the grave political, socio-economic and etho-spiritual crisis” which the country is suffering “demands a peaceful, constitutional and democratic” solution.

Titled, “Peace Begins at Home,” the message explains that “it is unquestionable that Venezuela is in a grave crisis.  It is of such magnitude that in order to avoid serious and long-lasting ruptures, and to ensure peace and development, it is urgently necessary that tensions be calmed, that poverty be addressed, and that work for a fraternal and united society” begin taking place.

“In a democracy, these crises are settled by consulting the people.  We have repeated it many times: a peaceful, constitutional and democratic solution is urgent.  The current constitution allows for referendums, and particularly recalls, as legal instruments for Venezuelans, who exercise their sovereignty as a people.  These options guarantee their lawful participation and make them the protagonists” responsible for public political power, wrote the Bishops.

The Bishops also emphasized the “obligation of all, and especially the State through its diverse branches, to guarantee political participation free from intimidation, disqualifications and irregularities, so that we the citizens can be the ones to determine the future that we desire.  We say this only because of our concern for a future of peace, liberty and justice for all Venezuelans, without distinction.”

On the other hand, the document says, “the repeated attacks and attempts to discredit the Church will not diminish nor paralyze her ongoing activities through her innumerable and established works in favor of all, especially the poor and needy,” adding that “what we cannot accept is the manipulation and abuse of power” used to issue insults and condemnations.

 “Throughout the history of our county, in good times and in bad, the Church has been and is teacher and companion in the defense of human values, promoting respect in the midst of differences, working for human promotion, and opening ways for fraternity and joy,” the prelates said.

“We encouraged by our predecessors and the recent testimony of John Paul II, during the celebration of 25 years of a fruitful Pontificate.  In fact, despite his physically limitations, his spirit of service leads him to give himself completely, as a builder of peace and love, until the Lord decides otherwise.”

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