Caracas (Agenzia Fides) - At the end of its 89th plenary 8-11 January in statement with the title “Paths to Reconciliation and Hope” the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Venezuela proposed a "Christian vision to illuminate consciences and indicate paths of reconciliation and hope in the light of the Gospel, in order to unite and build together a Venezuela in peace". The Bishops recall that the best service they can offer the country is to "be united and faithful in announcing to the people the Gospel of Reconciliation, to build bridges of understanding and contribute ethical values and principles ".
The Bishops express gratitude for positive aspects: the release of two hostages in Colombia, in Venezuela increased self esteem and awareness of dignity, political participation, and in community organisation, a growing social and political awareness among young people, encouraged by a desire for authentic freedom, truth, justice and solidarity.
Nevertheless problems and difficulties remain: "persistent situation of injustice which is the cause of poverty among the majority of the people, compared with wealth and indifference of a minority which causes hatred and conflict", "violence and insecurity threaten life", delinquency, crime, kidnapping, "persisting civil and juridical insecurity, slow administration of justice", "ethical relativism which weakens the conscience, materialism and consumerism, sexual laxity, drug trafficking ".
The Bishops propose measures necessary for the country: "defend and promote the family as the basic nucleus of society and the cradle of life; intensify the autonomy of public power; improve education at all levels; foster the transmission of civil, moral and religious values, through the media; promote formation of the people for peace and reconciliation and continuity of the programmes Religious Education in Schools". They stress the need to "find appropriate means of stopping the rising cost of living and shortage of food; facilitate access to worthy housing and encourage positive social programmes launched by the government".
To promote the good of the country they stress the need to "promote dialogue and encounter among all men and women in Venezuela", "willingness to listen to others, to dialogue and work together to promote the common good". The Bishops recall “there can be no reconciliation without forgiveness”.
They conclude the statement recalling "the challenge to implement the teachings and conclusions of the 5th General Conference of the Council of Bishops' Conferences of Latin America and the Caribbean in Aparecida, with pastoral programmes and the diocesan and national level" and they mention the beatification on 27 April of Mother Candelaria de San José, the second Venezuelan woman after, Mother María de San José, to be raised to the honour of the altars. "We urge Catholics and all men and women of goodwill to work and pray for peace and reconciliation, for solidarity and conversion, and for a common programme for the country without exclusion". (RG) (Agenzia Fides 14/1/2008; righe 38, parole 523)