Caracas, Venezuela, Jul 13, 2004 / 22:00 pm
Wrapping up their general assembly, which took place July 7-12, the bishops of Venezuela issued a document calling participation in the coming referendum on August 15 an inescapable duty of “conscience and responsibility.”
Entitled “Referendum, Conscience and Responsibility,” the bishops’ message exhorted Venezuelans to exercise their right to vote and “to explicitly make known their wishes regarding the conduct of the president of the Republic and his manner of governing.”
The bishops said the purpose of the statement is “to share the concerns of the moment” and to offer a vision of reality “free from all commitment to political parties” but inspired in the civic, moral and Christian obligation to reflect upon this event.
“The referendum is a right, not a gift. It should not be seen as a war to eliminate one’s adversary, but rather as an opportunity to evaluate the conduct of the government,” the bishops said.