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Pope takes ‘great interest’ in Venezuela, leading bishops say

June 05, 2024

» Continue to this story on Conferencia Episcopal Venezolana

CWN Editor's Note: Pope Francis received the leaders of the Episcopal Conference of Venezuela, less than two months before a presidential election in which the leading opposition candidate has been barred from participating.

“The Holy Father expressed great interest in all the events in the country, while maintaining his permanent prayer for this land of grace,” the bishops’ conference said in a statement.

The papal audience came three weeks after the appointment of Archbishop Alberto Ortega Martín as apostolic nuncio.

“The chances of a disputed or fraudulent result, followed by massive protests and government crackdowns are high,” The Pillar noted. “If this is the minefield that Ortega Martín walks into as nuncio, the ecclesiastical landscape is hardly better. The concordat that regulates relations between the Holy See and the Venezuelan State requires that the Venezuelan government approve episcopal appointments.”

Some eight million Venezuelans have fled the nation in the past quarter century as a result of the political repression and rampant poverty associated with the Socialist regimes of Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro.

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