AMERICA/VENEZUELA - Attack against the Church and tear gas against the faithful during mass: appeal for respect for dignity and human rights

Thursday, 2 May 2019 violence   politics   hunger   area crisis   bishops  


San Cristóbal (Agenzia Fides) - "This afternoon a horde of men from the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB) attacked the church of Our Lady De Fatima in the Sucre district of San Cristobal": this is what Mgr. Mario del Valle Moronta, Bishop of the Diocese of San Cristobal in Venezuela tells Fides, who reports the testimony of the parish priest, Father Jairo Clavijo, on what happened in the holy place on the afternoon of May 1st.
"The Eucharist was ending when two members of the GNB burst in the temple - reports the statement of the diocese. The parish priest came down from the altar to stop them. During the attempt of dialogue, a horde of 40 GNB tried to enter the church full of believers, while the parish priest, Fr Jairo Clavijo, firm in his decision not to let anyone in, saw a General arrive with the surname Ochoa who began to argue and use offensive words. Members of the GNB group began to fire tear gas bombs inside the temple, causing an immediate escape from the holy place, where there were a good number of faithful, including many elderly. A religious woman also fainted".
In the text sent to Fides by Mgr. Moronta we read: "This event is very serious and is an attack against the Catholic Church. I blamed the aforementioned General Ochoa and the military authorities of the region for this vile event, which speaks for itself of the will of the attackers, who have no respect for human dignity or even fear of God. As Bishop, I express my total solidarity to the parish priest, Fr Jairo Clavijo and all the parishioners of Our Lady of Fatima, whom I accompany with my prayer".
The Bishop of the Diocese of San Cristobal concludes by asking "all the religious and laity to express their solidarity to Fr. Jairo and his parishioners" and "to spread this brief statement. United in the love of God and in our common vocation to the freedom of the children of God".
Venezuela is experiencing moments of strong tension and violence, yesterday there were two massive demonstrations, for and against Maduro's government.
The President of the Bishops’ Conference of Venezuela (CEV), Mgr. José Luis Azuaje Ayala, Archbishop of Maracaibo, in a message spread through social networks yesterday said: "repression and violence by members of "State security have intensified. The injured and the detainees have increased more and more. We appeal for respect for the dignity and human rights of citizens and for the freedom to protest peacefully. We ask to put an end to repression!" (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 02/05/2019)