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Bishops reject imposition of socialism inspired by Cuba

Church leaders defend their right of opinion and say that they will continue to practice it

Monsignor Diego Padrón, the Archbishop of Cumaná, (center) after reading the call of the Venezuelan Bishops’ Conference (CEV), announced that the bishops will continue expressing their opinion on Venezuela’s reality (File photo)

Neither the criticisms of different government authorities who urged the members of the Catholic hierarchy to limit themselves to do their pastoral work nor the presidential threat to prosecute Jorge Cardinal Urosa Savino have intimidated the Venezuelan Bishops' Conference (CEV), which at the end of the Ninety-Fourth Ordinary Assembly reaffirmed its concern about the socialist system promoted by the government.

In its traditional call, the bishops said: "People want to live in democracy, (in a state) under the rule of law, with a real participation of all citizens, in a climate of justice and freedom. That is what the referendum held on December 2, 2007 decided. Therefore, the imposition of a socialist state inspired by the Cuban communist regime that has been enforced through laws and facts that ignore the popular will and the Constitution is absolutely unacceptable."

In the document, which was read out by Monsignor Diego Padrón, Archbishop of Cumaná, the Bishops reiterated their concern about the climate of violence and corruption in the country which is especially evident "in insecurity, violent deaths, both in streets and prisons, and the outrageous loss of food and medicines."

A call to vote
Two months ahead of parliamentary elections to be held on September 26, the bishops invited the citizens to participate in polls. They recalled that the Parliament should not only pass laws but "it must also be a real and effective body to monitor public administration, to ensure the appropriate use of funds and to carry out management that meets democratic-oriented goals."

They also pleaded for a new plural Congress with "divergent political views."

When asked about the statement issued by the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ) which accused the bishops of violating the Concordat between the Vatican and Venezuela, Monsignor Padrón said with some disdain that "we have not taken a position because we consider that there are many more important things."

Finally, the bishop of Cumaná said: "We have the right to express our opinion, as we have done before, and we will continue to do so."

Translated by Gerardo Cárdenas

Juan Francisco Alonso

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