VHeadline.com News Editor Patrick J. O’Donoghue writes:  Closing the Venezuelan Roman Catholic Plenary Council, Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino says the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference (CEV) will remain neutral in the presidential race and calls on the National Electoral Council (CNE) to promote confidence in all sectors of society and undertake the necessary steps to ensure a massive turnout in voting on December 3. 

However, there was criticism in his speech, regarding possible violence in the election process … “violence isn’t democratic and demonstrates insecurity.” 

  • The Church in Venezuela rejects massacres, such as El Amparo … “for the Church and Venezuelan bishops, there are no second-class Venezuelan citizens … it’s all about defending justice and values.” 

The Cardinal says he hopes the government will follow through the La Paragua case and penalize those responsible, whatever their rank and condition. 

The Church has also condemned the official attempt to introduce ideology into education.

“We don’t believe that introducing ideology is good, because one cannot impose an ideology against the will of the pupils … education must be free … there must humanist ideas, solidarity, freedom and justice, but that shouldn’t be understood as taking the ideology of a political party into education.” 

Speaking about internal affairs, Urosa Savino says the first Plenary Council aims at creating a better country. 

The Council, which has lasted several years and is meant to reform Church practice, is the result of consultation among all sectors of the Roman Catholic Church in Venezuela. 

The Cardinal claims that the Council will mark the life of the Church for the next 50 years and will make the church more missionary. 

Religious affairs observers comment that it is a matter of implementing the conclusions of the national consultation process and ensuring that the people have a greater say in the running of the Church. 

Current showing and practice, however, demonstrate that power-sharing in the Venezuelan Church is still a long way off … male bishops still rule the roost and set the agenda.