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+++ Pope Francis: Message to the Bishops of Venezuela, “build bridges” and “do not give in to discouragement” +++

“I am convinced that the serious problems of Venezuela can be solved if there is a will to build bridges, to engage in serious dialogue, and to implement the agreements reached. I exhort you to continue to do what is necessary to make this difficult journey possible”. Pope Francis sent this invitation to the Bishops of Venezuela in a message dated 5 May but published just a few hours ago by the Venezuelan Bishops’ Conference. “I assure you – the Pope wrote – that I am following with great concern the situation of the beloved Venezuelan people”, with “deep sorrow for the clashes and violence of these days, which have caused many deaths and injuries, and which do not help to solve the problems, but only cause further suffering and pain”. Pope Francis knows that the Bishops, together with all the priests, consecrated women and the laity, are in the same situation of the people, who are “suffering because of the lack of food and medicines, and in some cases, have been subject to personal attacks and violent acts in the Churches”: “I would like to express my solidarity with each one of you and thank you for your closeness to the flock that has been entrusted to you, especially the poorest and the most vulnerable”. The Pope also thanked the Bishops for their many initiatives to “promote solidarity and generosity among Venezuelans” and their continuous appeals to “restrain from all violence, respect the rights of citizens, and to defend and promote human dignity and fundamental rights”. In conclusion, the Pope encouraged “the beloved sons and daughters of Venezuela not to give in to despair and discouragement – the evils that penetrate the human heart when no future prospects are seen”.

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