Catholic World News

Venezuela’s bishops call on government to end oppression

May 19, 2017

At a special meeting in Caracas, Venezuela’s bishops issued a statement on the worsening crisis in the nation.

Thanking Pope Francis and the apostolic nuncio for their solicitude, the bishops spoke about the growing hunger and despairand reminded their flock that they have called upon their parishes to observe May 21 as a day of prayer, fasting, and solidarity.

In their statement, dated May 17 and released the following day, the bishops encouraged the Venezuelan people “to continue to express their views in a peaceful way. The legitimate and forceful demand of citizens’ rights should not be contaminated by violent actions.”

The prelates also called upon the Maduro regime to heed the points presented by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, in 2016—including the opening of a humanitarian corridor, the release of political prisoners, and the recognition of the National Assembly, which had been led by the opposition but was dissolved by the nation’s high courst.

Addressing the police and the military, the bishops denounced “the numerous deaths of citizens caused by abuses of authority in repressive actions. The moral responsibility for acts that lead to violence, injury and death rests with those who execute them, as well as those who order or permit them.”

The bishops then quoted the words of Blessed Óscar Romero of El Salvador: “In the name of God and of this suffering people, I beg you, I supplicate you, I order you to stop the repression.”

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