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Leading prelate calls for ‘radical change’ in Venezuela, condemns oppression, pleads for aid

May 18, 2017

Venezuela’s bishops met in Caracas on May 16 as unrest continued to spread in the nation.

The president of the episcopal conference, Archbishop Diego Padrón of Cumaná, recalled that all 22 of Latin America’s episcopal conferences recently expressed solidarity with the Church in Venezuela, as well as concern about the “the deaths [and] violence,” and the “division [and] violation of human rights.”

Archbishop Padrón called upon the dioceses of Latin America to undertake charitable initiatives to assist the Venezuelan people “despite the obstacles.” He also asked other nations to welcome Venezuelans who are fleeing the country and urged the international community to make humanitarian assistance to Venezuelans a high priority.

The prelate affirmed the episcopate’s “obedience to the Roman Pontiff, whether Francis or another,” and characterized reports of division as “false and malicious.”

Denouncing repression and murder, “barbarism and violence,” Archbishop Padrón said that the “current governing political system is rationally unjustifiable, ethically illegitimate, and morally intolerable. This is not a juridic or political judgment, but a moral and spiritual one, a prophetic line.”

The prelate called upon Venezuela’s people to work for “radical change” in the nation and said that “legitimate protest in the street must be peaceful and respectful of people and property, and a sign of ethical and civil resistance.”

Archbishop Padrón concluded by urging President Nicolás Maduro and other members of the government to “solve the very serious problems they have provoked with improvised and harmful measures” and to listen to the voice of the people.


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  • Posted by: jalsardl5053 - May. 18, 2017 10:52 PM ET USA

    Finally! Someone making an accurate assessment of the Venezuelan mess. Pope Francis is notable silent on this situation; one hopes that reports of division are indeed "false and malicious". Unfortunately, there is a track record that tends to point up just a little doubt.