Vatican urges Venezuela to suspend constitutional revision to avoid violence, guarantee rights

Vatican urges Venezuela to suspend constitutional revision to avoid violence, guarantee rights

Pope Francis. Credit: Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.

.- As tensions and deaths continue to rise in Venezuela over the government’s push to re-write their constitution, the Holy See has urged the country’s leaders to hold off on the constitutional assembly, focusing instead on alleviating the nation’s crippling humanitarian crisis.

“The Holy See expresses again her profound concern for the radicalization and aggravation of the crisis in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, with the increase in the number of deaths, wounded and those who have been detained,” read an Aug. 4 Vatican communique.

Pope Francis, both directly and through Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, “closely follows that situation and it’s humanitarian, social, political, economic and even spiritual implications, and assures of his constant prayer for the country and for all Venezuelans,” while inviting faithful around the world “to pray intensely for this situation.”

At the same time, the Holy See asked all political actors, and governments in particular, to ensure that “full respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms” are respected, “as well as the existing Constitution.”

The Holy See asked specifically that political and governmental agents “avoid or suspend ongoing initiatives such as the new constitutional assembly which, instead of fostering peace and reconciliation, foments a climate of tension and conflict and mortgages the future.”

It also asked them to create the conditions “for a negotiated solution” in line with the requirements Cardinal Parolin spelled out in his Dec. 1, 2016, letter to the Venezuelan government, asking that: provisions be made to alleviate the crisis in the supply of food and medicine; that parties agree on a timetable for elections allowing Venezuelans themselves to decide their future; that the country’s National Assembly be reinstated as soon as possible and its role provided for in the Constitution; and that legal procedures accelerating the release of detainees be implemented.

In addition, the Holy See also asked the government to bear in mind “the serious suffering of the people due to the difficulty of obtaining food and medicine, and a lack of security.”

The statement closed by making a “firm appeal” to society as a whole “to overcome all forms of violence, inviting, in particular, security forces to abstain from the excessive and disproportionate use of force.”

The statement comes days after July 30 nation-wide elections, which approved a constitutional assembly to reform the country’s 1999 constitution. However, some reports and members of Venezuela’s opposition have disputed the fairness of the elections, which were boycotted by the opposition.

Although the government claims that more than 8 million voters attended, the Democratic Unity Table, an organization monitoring the election, reported that only 2.4 million votes, or 12 percent of eligible voters, were cast, of which a quarter would have voted “no”.

Furthermore, in the days leading up to and following the election, uprisings and protests swept throughout the country. Conflicts between protesters and the country’s Bolivarian National Guard have resulted in the death of at least 15 people, including two minors.

The constitutional revisions have been rejected by the Venezuelan bishops for being not only “unconstitutional, but also unnecessary, inconvenient and harmful for the Venezuelan people.”

In a July 27 message, the bishops said Maduro’s initiative “has not been convened by the people, has unacceptable commissions, and only the partisans of the ruling party will be represented there.”

“It will be a biased and biased instrument that will not solve, but will aggravate the acute problems of high cost of living, the shortage of food and medicines that suffer the people, and deepen and worsen the deep political crisis we currently face.”

Two opposition leaders, Leopoldo López and Antonio Ledezma, have been re-arrested following the vote.

Frustration in Venezuela has been building for years due to poor economic policies, including strict price controls coupled with high inflation rates, which have resulted in a severe lack of basic necessities such as toilet paper, milk, flour, diapers, and medicines.

Venezuela’s socialist government is widely blamed for the crisis. Since 2003, price controls on some 160 products, including cooking oil, soap and flour, have meant that while they are affordable, they fly off store shelves only to be resold on the black market at much higher rates.

On Aug. 1 Cardinal Parolin addressed the situation with local Italian media, saying he and Pope Francis are “very committed” to seeking a peaceful solution to the crisis in Venezuela. The Vatican has been “seeking to help all, indiscriminately, and calling each person to fulfill their own responsibility.”

“The criteria should be only the good of the people,” he said. “The dead are too many and I do not think there are other criteria to follow that is not in the common good of the people,” he insisted.

With that in mind, the cardinal said that “it is necessary to find a peaceful and democratic way to get out of this situation, and the only way is always the same: we must find, talk, but seriously, to find a way to solution.”

Read the source: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/vatican-urges-venezuela-to-suspend-constitutional-revision-15454/

Vatican calls for annulment of election results of National Constituent Assembly in Venezuela

Published on Aug 4, 2017

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Through a statement, it expressed “its deep concern” for Venezuela.

Holy See Makes ‘Urgent’ Appeals for Venezuela to Avoid Violence, Guarantee Rights

Noting Pope Francis’ Profound Concern, Calls on South American Nation to Suspend Constitutional Assembly

PHOTO.VA – L’OSSERVATORE ROMANO

The Holy See says Pope Francis is following the crisis in Venezuela very closely and has issued urgent appeals for all political actors, especially the government, to guarantee rights and freedoms, and for the society, as a whole, to avoid violence.  It also called for a suspension of the new Constituent Assembly, tasked, by President Nicolas Maduro, with rewriting the constitution while possessing almost absolute powers.

The Vatican expressed this today, Friday, Aug. 4, 2017, in a statement issued by the Secretariat of State in response to the crisis in the South American country, and the political crisis over the installation of this assembly. According to Associated Press, opposition lawmakers said on Thursday that Maduro is pushing the country towards civil war.

It reiterated the Holy See’s “profound concern” over the radicalization and worsening of the crisis in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, given the increase in the dead, wounded and detained.

Noting that the Holy Father, directly and through the Secretariat of State, is closely following the situation and its humanitarian, social, political, economic as well as its spiritual implications, the statement stressed that Pope Francis also assures “his constant prayer” for the country and for all Venezuelans, while inviting the faithful worldwide to “pray intensely” for this intention.

“The Holy See,” the communique stated, “appeals to all political actors, and the government in particular, to:

  • guarantee full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as for the existing Constitution
  • avoid or suspend ongoing initiatives such as the new Constituent which, instead of favoring reconciliation and peace, foments a climate of tension and confrontation and puts the future at stake
  • create the conditions for a solution negotiated in line with the indications expressed in the letter from the Secretariat of State dated Sept. 1, 2016, taking into account the grave sufferings of the population due to the difficulty of obtaining food and medicine and the lack of security.”

“Finally, the Holy See,” the statement concluded, “addresses an urgent appeal to the whole society to avoid every form of violence, inviting the security forces, in particular, to abstain from the excessive and disproportionate use of force.”

In August of 2016, Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who was nuncio to Venezuela before being called to Rome by Pope Francis, called for the search for the ‘common good’ to prevail.

In December of that same year, Cardinal Parolin called for four main measures: 1) the adoption of measures allowing the arrival of humanitarian aid: food, medicines, basic necessities; 2) the adoption of an electoral calendar; 3) the restitution of Parliament’s constitutional powers; 4) the release of political prisoners.

This May, the cardinal called on the government to give sovereignty to the people.

The Venezuelan bishop, on June 8, 2017, came to consult Pope Francis on the situation: they demanded humanitarian aid and the renunciation of the repression.

The same month, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, delivered a statement on the “Situation in Venezuela,” at the 47th General Assembly of the Organization of American States, held in Cancun, Mexico, on June 20, 2017. On that occasion, the Holy See called for a solution and urgent measures.

It expressed support for establishing a group of countries to promote negotiations for peace among civilians to return to Venezuela. It also pleaded for humanitarian assistance, elections and release of prisoners

On July 3, Cardinal Pietro Parolin told Italian news agency ANSA that the “criterion” of decisions had to be “the good of the people.”

A few days later, the Cardinal Secretary of State condemned the violence that targeted parishioners of the Carmen de Catia church in Caracas, Venezuela, on July 16, 2017. In a message he sent to Cardinal Jorge Urosa Sabino, the Vatican Secretary of State called the leaders to listen to the cry of the people. – Read the source: https://zenit.org/articles/holy-see-makes-urgent-appeals-for-venezuela-to-avoid-violence-guarantee-rights/

Vatican Issues Statement on Venezuela

‘The Holy See appeals to all political actors, and the government in particular, to guarantee full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as for the existing Constitution’

Holy See

ZENIT – Photo HSM

Below is a working Zenit translation of the statement the Vatican’s Secretariat of State issued today, Friday, August 4, 2017, regarding the situation in Venezuela:

***

The Holy See expresses once again its profound concern over the radicalization and worsening of the crisis in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, given the increase in the dead, wounded and detained. The Holy Father, directly and through the Secretariat of State, is closely following the situation and its humanitarian, social, political, economic as well as its spiritual implications. He also assures his constant prayer for the country and for all Venezuelans, while inviting the faithful worldwide to pray intensely for this intention.

At the same time, the Holy See appeals to all political actors, and the government in particular, to guarantee full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as for the existing Constitution; avoid or suspend ongoing initiatives such as the new Constituent which, instead of favoring reconciliation and peace, foments a climate of tension and confrontation and puts the future at stake; and create the conditions for a solution negotiated in line with the indications expressed in the letter from the Secretariat of State dated Sept. 1, 2016, taking into account the grave sufferings of the population due to the difficulty of obtaining food and medicine and the lack of security.

Finally, the Holy See addresses an urgent appeal to the whole society to avoid every form of violence, inviting the security forces, in particular, to abstain from the excessive and disproportionate use of force.

[Original text: Italian]  [Working Translation by Zenit, Virginia M. Forrester]

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“A theory that makes profit the exclusive norm and ultimate end of economic activity is morally unacceptable. The disordered desire for money cannot but produce perverse effects. It is one of the causes of the many conflicts which disturb the social order. A system that ‘subordinates the basic rights of individuals and of groups to the collective organization of production’ is contrary to human dignity. Every practice that reduces persons to nothing more than a means of profit enslaves man, leads to idolizing money, and contributes to the spread of atheism. ‘You cannot serve God and mammon’”(CCC: 2424).

“The Church has rejected the totalitarian and atheistic ideologies associated in modern times with ‘communism’ or ‘socialism’. She has likewise refused to accept, in the practice of ‘capitalism,’ individualism and the absolute primacy of the law of the marketplace over human labor. Regulating the economy solely by centralized planning perverts the basis of social bonds; regulating it solely by the law of the marketplace fails social justice, for ‘there are many human needs which cannot be satisfied by the market.’ Reasonable regulation of the marketplace and economic initiatives, in keeping with a just hierarchy of values and a view to the common good, is to be commended” (CCC:2425).