AMERICA/VENEZUELA - Application of Plenary Council, CELAM 5, democracy, constitutional reform, corruption and violence: issue addressed by Bishops’ Conference president during 87th assembly

Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Caracas (Agenzia Fides) - In his opening address at the 87th of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Venezuela, CEV, Conference President Bishop Ubaldo Santana presented a panorama of the Church and the nation starting with important events in the past 12 months: election of new CEV charges, elevation as Cardinal of Mgr Jorge Urosa Savino, violent death of Conference under secretary Fr. Jorge Piñango Mascareño, commemoration of 475 years since the creation of diocese of Coro, celebration of 40 years of CEV and most important, the closing of the Plenary Council of Venezuela on 7 October 7 with a “procession of diocesan delegations led by the respective bishops to receive the volume of the Plenary Council from the hands of Cardinal Jorge Medina Estévez”. The Conference has set up a special Commission to oversee the application of the Council.
With regard to commitments for 2007, Bishop Santana identified the 5th General Conference of the Council of Latin Bishops’ Conferences, CELAM, the application of the Council of Venezuela and greater commitment for new evangelisation. He then spoke about present day challenges in society which the Church, “although it is not the state”, must also address so that "political activity does not lose sight of its goal to promote justice and peace for all, starting with the poorest of the poor...".
Bishop Santana said a new horizon is opening calling all Venezuelans to take an active part. He mentioned the President of Venezuela’s announcement that he intends to push the country towards socialism of the 21st century. In this situation “the Church must offer a word and be ready to help draw this plan remaining faithful to the teaching of the Gospel and the Social Doctrine of the Church", in other words "recognition of the centrality of the human person as the fundamental criteria of all human development ". The CEV President expressed concern for the announced constitutional reform, promising that the "the Bishops’ Conference will take part in the debate drawing from the rich moral heritage of Catholic Social Doctrine".
Another evil in Venezuela today is "conflict that leaves hundreds dead or wounded every week….victims of violence, insecurity, organised crime, irregular gangs at the frontier". According to Bishop Santana "the figures are frightening and the most horrible thing is that many of the victims of children, young people ". The solution of the problem lies in "more and better education, larger and better families, more stable jobs, and above all education to virtue, values and moral principles". (RG) (Agenzia Fides 9/1/2007; righe 36, parole 485)