Caracas Bishops Condemn Profanation of Images of Virgin Mary

Chávez Sympathizers Blamed for Attack

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CARACAS, Venezuela, DEC. 10, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The Caracas Archdiocese expressed sorrow over the public "mutilation" of images of the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the hands of supporters of President Hugo Chávez.



The attack took place Saturday when a march by sympathizers of "Chavismo" passed by the Plaza Francia of Altamira on the way to Bolivar Avenue.

Incidents like these "not only do not reflect the feelings of the majority of the people of Venezuela, who identify with the principles of the Catholic faith," but "are rejected, both for the offense itself of venerated images as well as the fact that they manifest the breakdown and loss of values of those who acted in this way," the archdiocese said in a statement Monday.

In response to the attacks, the text invites Catholic faithful "to work tirelessly so that the values of truth, justice, love, and peace will be present in the life of all of us who live in Venezuela."

The text was signed by Caracas' auxiliary bishops: Nicolás Bermúdez Villamizar, apostolic administrator; Roberto Dávila Uzcátegui; and Saúl Figueroa Albornoz.

Appealing for dialogue, the bishops said that "only if love of neighbor prevails, will we be able to continue to meet and relate to one another as brothers, despite the differences that might exist between us."

Condemning the profanation, Archbishop Baltazar Porras of Merida, president of the Venezuelan episcopal conference, said that it was not just a question of vandalism, "but that there were manifestations of real contempt for the most minimal respect that should be given any person or symbol, not just the religious."

The archbishop believes that the attack is another incident in a "continual escalation of the most absolute lack of respect for any kind of institution or value, as if a political plan were an absolute god, which must be rejected."