- Sep 20, 2020
Days ahead of a national referendum called by President Nicolas Maduro to rewrite the national constitution, Venezuela’s Catholic bishops have called the exercise “unconstitutional as well as unnecessary, inconvenient and damaging to the Venezuelan people.” They also reminded members of the Venezuelan military that their first obligation is to the country’s people.
Over seven million people voted on Sunday in a a symbolic referendum organized by the opposition. Pro-government militias shot at a church where Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino was saying Mass, forcing him into lock-down, together with 200 faithful. One woman was killed and many wounded.
Clashes between protesters and the country’s security forces have left at least 91 dead in the past 100 days. Addressing the army and the police, the bishops ask them to serve the people, not a regime, and remind them that they will have to “answer for your acts both to human and divine justice.”
Addressing the crowd gathered for his weekly Sunday Angelus, Pope Francis appealed for an end to the violence in Venezuela and for a peaceful and democratic solution to the crisis. Some 80 people have been killed in the last three months during peaceful anti-government rallies, four of them on Saturday.