Catholic clergy in Ven. oppose hierarchy stand for opposition

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Mon Jan 20 06:50:08 MST 2003


Posted: Sunday, January 19, 2003 - 1:29:33 PM
By: Patrick J. O'Donoghue


Voices from the clergy question hierarchy's performance

Jesuit priest Jesus Gazo writes that people are becoming tired of the
conflict and the only thing that left is obstinacy . "President Chavez Frias
has dignified a part of the population that was forgotten and if he didn't
have support, he would have been forced to cave in under the real power of
the medium."

Gazo rattles opposition spin that the current struggle was created by Chavez
Frias . "there has always been a gap between rich and poor . now it has
become conscious . I believe that if they try to govern Venezuela from the
gap perspective, there will be no solution." The Jesuit also believes that
the government is correct in applying heavy hand because it has been on the
defensive for too long.

Although he admits that people have become politicized and are beginning to
know their rights, Gazo says he's amazed that knowing how fanatical people
are about baseball they haven't complained, . "what does it mean? Are they
willing to sacrifice certain things for other supposedly greater objectives?
How far can their patience go? I don't know."

When asked when and how to solve the current situation, Gazo replies when
Confederation of Trades Unions (CTV) president, Mr. Ortega, who has been
given power he doesn't have, and Federation of Chambers of Industry &
Commerce (Fedecamaras) president Carlos Fernandez stop being puppets of the
power behind them and stop making declarations . "the opposition has gone
too far and people are getting fed up with them."

Belgium priest Bruno Renaud working in Petare has criticized Venezuelan
Episcopal Conference (CEV) president Baltazar Porras and Archbishop of
Caracas Ignacio Vasquez for speaking in the name of the Church without
consulting clergy and lay people. "We ask them to take a necessary
historical
and evangelical distance from the political scene to allow them to place
their capacity for leadership at the service not of one side but of
Venezuela
in its totality."

Renaud says he protests "with all his immense weakness against the clerical
Church that has been incapable of letting itself be challenged by the Gospel
. and unable to perceive that it is losing ground among the poor and unable
to feel the pulse of a national situation that demands an authentic
evangelical spirituality."

"Confederation of Trade Unions (CTV) president Carlos Ortega warned that
there would be no Christmas . "and as far as I know not one bishop reacted .
I wonder what would have if president Chavez Frias had said that? ... the
bishops in their Christmas message opposed Brazil or any other country
sending gasoline to Venezuela and Andres Bello Catholic University (UCAB)
has
taken an unchristian position."

Dissident religious voice San Jose de Tarbes nun, Sister Beatriz Caraballo
has sent a letter to the bishops complaining that they aren't doing enough
to
show leadership . "where was your voice at the time of the Altamira deaths
or during the merchant navy officers' rebellion or the abuses against
Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) workers?" The nun insists that people's human
rights are being abused on a daily basis . the Church is in danger of losing
its credibility."




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