Caracas (Fides Service) - In a statement addressed to the nation, dated 11 January, and issued at the end of their 80th Plenary Assembly the Catholic Bishops of Venezuela affirm “We will continue to accompany our country, in a special way the poor and the needy, those who are sick and those in prison, sharing with them the power and hope of the central message of the Gospel: the love God gives us as his sons and daughters and the love with which we love one another as brothers and sisters, and which must distinguish us”.
In the statement the Bishops voice concern for the situation of the country which faces “enormous difficulties”, uncertainty about the future of democracy, political problems, suspected corruption, “deterioration of the institutions, loss in quality of life, accelerated increase in poverty and insecurity”. In this context the Bishops say, social programmes are only partly effective, they fail to deal with the root causes of these phenomena.
The Bishops appeal to all Venezuelans to realise that to solve difficulties there must be a united effort of “every Venezuelan” the whole country. “Each person is necessary - the Bishops say - each one can help in some way or the other. It is not enough to complain or criticise”. The Bishops encourage ‘political and economic groups’ to put “general interests of the people before group interests”, because “without awareness and exercise of civil duties and rights the common good is not obtained; unless these rights and duties are exercised in freedom, justice and solidarity there can be no reconciliation or peace or democracy”.
The Bishops end the statement calling on committed Catholics to “devise common plan for building a better Venezuela”. For this it is indispensable “to put aside attitudes and positions of closure, and to open to dialogue. The only authentic dialogue is that based on truth, humility, respect for others and a willingness to make profound and lasting changes ”. (RG) (Agenzia Fides 17/1/2006 - righe 24, parole 336)