Caracas (Agenzia Fides) - "Our society is paralyzed by inertia and resignation, by the lack of hope, by the accumulated experience of multiple shortcomings, repeated contradictions, unpunished violations of fundamental rights, flagrant lies, unfulfilled promises", that is why the Venezuelan Bishops launch an appeal to all Venezuelans, taking up the exhortation of John Paul II on his second pastoral visit to the country, in 1999. "Today is the moment to wake up from our prostration - they affirm - to strip ourselves of any trace of resignation, indifference or selfishness. Generate awareness of one's human dignity and shared responsibility. Let us get up and walk together to sow hope, act decisively, cultivate values and promote a way of doing politics based on the common good and not on particular interests or ideological purposes".
The pastoral Exhortation, published at the end of the Ordinary Plenary Assembly of the Venezuelan Episcopate (see Fides, 9/1/2023), is inspired by the biblical quote "In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, get up and walk... And with one leap he got up and walked" (Acts, 3, 6b. 8a)". The Bishops address themselves not only to the Catholic faithful, "but also to all the men and women of good will of our country: to those who think like us and to those who have other visions, because Venezuela is our common home, the problems, which are common to all, affect us and challenge us equally".
Venezuela continues to live a "reality that paralyzes us", due to the profound social, economic and political crisis, with one of the highest inflation rates in the world and a national currency in continuous devaluation, which makes the lives of Venezuelans more and more complicated every day.
This situation, the Bishops recall, has forced more than 7 million people to leave the country, according to data from the United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, "generating the largest migratory flow in Latin America and the Caribbean in the last past 50 years. An exodus, especially of young people, that does not stop, and impoverishes the present and the future of the country".
For some time the Bishops have been offering concrete proposals to find solutions to this state of affairs, and once again, on this occasion, they renew "the urgency of seeking greater national unity which will bring about the democratic re-institutionalization of the country, recovering that common ground of encounter that should be the text and the spirit of the national Constitution". They then reiterate that "today it is necessary to rebuild the country", for which they invite all believers and people of good will not to let themselves be robbed of hope, to move from lamentation to liberating action: "In each diocese, parish and community , in each high school and university, in each company, office and store, let us face the national paralysis, and let each one ask themselves what can I do, how much can I contribute to a greater extent, how much and in what areas can I move from me to us, elevating and multiplying the good that we produce".
Once again the Bishops join "the cry of our people" and together with Pope Francis, raise their voices to ask that there be "no family without a home, no peasant without land, no worker without rights, no people without sovereignty, no person without dignity, no child without childhood, no youth without possibilities, no old man without a venerable old age". Then they reiterate that it is necessary to wake up "not to sit still, waiting for things to be fixed by others or to improve by themselves. We must stand up, trusting in God's help, and bravely risk together to build a better country". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 16/1/2023)
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