Last October 19, the Venezuelan Bishop's Conference (CEV) published a statement, Call to Live in Freedom, expressing their view on the proposed changes to the Constitution. It rejected the proposed changes to the Constitution.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, in unexpected declarations to official television channel VTV
- "the Catholic bishops we have here are a shame,"
- "The communiqué the bishops published is a real shame, as they are aligning with a coup,"
after sending his condolences over the death of Rosalio Cardinal Castillo, who passed away last week.
- Chávez regretted that the late Cardinal "was wrong all of these years."
- "There you have these bishops misleading the country. May God forgive them! Oh, Lord, forgive them for their ignorance and their lack of sense. All of the bishops remained silent, and silence implies consent."
Venezuelan Ambassador to the Vatican Iván Rincón
- "Bishops want to go back, back to the past, to the old democracy that sowed hunger in the country. The Venezuelan Church is making people believe that the seeds of communism are being planted, but it is not true,"
In a phone interview with VTV show En Confianza (In Confidence), Rincón added
- he advocated a Church that is critic, yet acknowledges the things that are done.
- "I do not understand this document, as it denies everything we have achieved."
Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs Nicolás Maduro reacted to a document the Venezuelan Bishops' Conference (CEV) published last October 19 by claiming that
- "those bishops do not represent us the Catholics."
- "Ask the Catholic people, the people who are building a revolution in peace, who want to overcome five centuries of domination, exploitation, backwardness, and dependence. You should ask the Catholic people in the streets for their opinion" about the CEV communiqué, Maduro said.
With an air of resignation, Roman Catholic leaders here called the changes “morally unacceptable.”
With his customary flourish, Mr. Chávez accused the bishops of forgetting their principles.
- “If Christ was alive, was here physically,” the president said this week,“he would drive them away with the crack of a whip.”