CARACAS, Venezuela, FEB. 18, 2008 ( Venezuelan bishops urged their government to protect the Pope's "house in Venezuela" after a bomb was set off outside the offices of the apostolic nunciature in Caracas.

The bombing occurred Thursday, and caused only minor damages. The façade of the structure was also vandalized with political graffiti.

A statement from the Venezuelan bishops' conference expressed the prelates concern, both for this attack and the "eruption of political violence in various regions of the country." The bishops called for calm, prudence and respect for constitutional rights and liberties.

"We ask the corresponding authorities to carry out the relevant investigations to punish those guilty of these violent acts," the bishops wrote. "We also ask the national government to do what is needed to protect the diplomatic see of the Vatican, which is also for all Catholic Venezuelans, the Holy Father's house in Venezuela."

The prelates reiterated their support for Archbishop Giacinto Berloco, the apostolic nuncio, and promised their prayers "for his intentions and for the successful development of his diplomatic and pastoral service."


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