By ZENIT Staff

While the ordinary plenary assembly of the Episcopal Conference of Venezuela (CEV) is taking place, the 41 Bishops of the various ecclesiastical circumscriptions of the country have published a strong statement on the autonomy of the National Assembly and the facts which took place recently. “On January 7, the Venezuelan people witnessed an abuse of power … it is a new expression of the totalitarian ideology of those who hold political power. They promoted the non-recognition of the autonomy of the legitimate National Assembly,” says the bishops’ document, reported by Fides News Agency.

“This is a serious blow to the institution of the State, – continues the text – everything is aimed at holding power and not at generating processes for the good of society”. “We condemn what happened, and as Venezuelan citizens, we ask for respect for the National Assembly, the only political institution elected by the people in 2015”. “As Pastors, we ask to act in favor of the common good of the people, affected by a profound crisis that devalues their dignity” concludes the text, which bears the date of January 8.

The Assembly of the CEV opened on January 7 at the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello (UCAB), with the welcoming speech by Mgr. José Trinidad Fernández, Auxiliary Bishop of Caracas and Secretary-General of CEV, who presented the topics to be examined in the Assembly, which will end on Sunday 12 January. Mgr. Mario Moronta, Bishop of San Cristóbal and first Vice-President of CEV, then read the opening speech written by Mgr. José Luis Azuaje, Archbishop of Maracaibo and President of the CEV, absent for health reasons.

The speech is divided into two fundamental parts, the ecclesial part (“Relevant global ecclesial aspects”) and the socio-political part (“A reality that affects the soul of the Venezuelan being”).

Among other things, “morally intolerable situations” have been reported, where “institutionalized violence” is accompanied by “lies and manipulative words”. Statistics on living conditions in the country show a scenario of progressive deterioration. Poverty is on the rise and data referring to access to work are increasingly negative. The “food shortage” is also a dramatic reality for 87% of Venezuelan families.

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