Friday, September 26, 2008

Venezuelan bishops encourage active but non-violent participation in public life

The Bishops’ Conference of Venezuela issued a statement this week inviting "all Venezuelans to actively and decisively participate in the life of the country, without violence, and with respect for the constitution, law, the rights of all persons." They continued, "we reject the continual creation of a climate of political agitation before the upcoming elections."

In their statement dated September 24, the bishops rejected "all violence and intolerance, whatever its origin, against persons, institutions, and the media. Likewise we reject both the supposed assassination of the President as well as the supposed conspiracy for a coup d’état, and we demand that in a constitutional state the pertinent investigations be carried out."

After requesting the avoidance of any action that puts in danger "the carrying out of elections set for November 23," the bishops demanded that "rights be respected and the security of all who are involved in the electoral campaign be guaranteed, and that the National Electoral Council likewise guarantee absolute transparency of the upcoming elections, as well as equality of opportunity for all the candidates."

On the other hand, they also expressed their concern for the "apparent unconstitutionality of some articles of some of the laws promulgated on July 31" by President Hugo Chavez.

The bishops encouraged all Venezuelans, Catholic and non-Catholic, to "pray insistently to God for Venezuela, so that the future of our country will be developed through paths of freedom, justice, equality, tolerance, peace and what is good."

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