Vatican City, Apr 30, 2017 / 04:13 am
In his Regina Coeli address on Sunday, Pope Francis called attention to the violence in Venezuela, offering up his prayers for the victims and appealing to the government and citizens to seek solutions to the crisis.
“There is no stop to the arrival of dramatic news about the situation in Venezuela and the aggravation of the clashes with many dead, wounded and detained,” he said April 30.
“As I unite myself to the pain of the families of the victims, for which I ensure prayers for suffrage, I appeal to the Government and all the members of Venezuelan society to avoid any further form of violence, to respect human rights and to seek negotiated solutions to the serious humanitarian, social, political and economic crisis that is exhausting the population.”
Month-long anti-government demonstrations, political clashes and looting in Venezuela have left at least 22 people dead, the Guardian reports.
Tens of thousands of people have joined the latest protests, caused largely by food and medicine shortages, increasing unemployment and anger at President Nicolás Maduro’s increasingly authoritarian restrictions on elections and democratic institutions.
“We entrust to the Blessed Virgin Mary the intention of peace, reconciliation and democracy in that dear country,” Francis continued. “And pray for all the countries that are experiencing serious difficulties, especially in these days I think of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.”
During his address to some 70,000 people in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope drew attention to the celebration Sunday of the Day for the Catholic University of the Sacred Hear in Italy and “Biblical Sunday” in Poland, where parishes, schools and mass media are all publicly reading a part of Sacred Scripture.
“Christian formation is based on the Word of God,” he said, “I wish every good for this initiative.”