Bishops says Church in Venezuela “does not make or change governments”

Bishop Mario del Valle Moronta of San Cristobal, Venezuela, said this week that while it’s not for the Church to make or change governments, it is her mission to enlighten the actions of the faithful in their task of building a new country.

“It’s not up to the ecclesiastical hierarchy or its institutions to make or change governments, but rather instead to enlighten the action of the faithful and men and women of good will in their task to build up and guide the members of society,” the bishops said in a seminar at the Tachira Catholic University.

Bishop Moronta explained that “the Church is on the side of man, without exception.  If the Church, particularly the hierarchy, takes up sides, we will not be able to promote reconciliation.  The personal leanings of bishops cannot be given priority;  what should be first is love and pastoral charity.”

He also mentioned that in the current national political struggle, “each group wants the Church to say what best suits it.”

Bishop Moronta clarified that “when the Church issues documents or opinions, she should do so in an evangelical sense, but also as part of the people which she serves.”

He went on to say that “the brokenness we are experiencing today is a consequence of social, cultural, economic and above all, moral deterioration, which all began decades ago.”

Therefore, he said Venezuelans “will not be reconciled with each other if we are not willing to look at the causes in order to confront and resolve them, without leaving aside everything that is currently be done to achieve reconciliation.  If we do not take this step, we may agree on how to live together and even on what type of government to have to certain degree, but in the end it will be very difficult and could lead to further frustrations.”

Bishop Moronta says it is urgent that “bridges be built between all levels of society” and that a process of reconciliation that values the human person be promoted.  Reconciliation must go hand in hand with forgiveness, not focusing on punishment but on taking the risk to help the other person who has done wrong to be converted and to change, he concluded.

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