By Lisa Zengarini
The bishops of Venezuela are concerned about growing pressure for legalizing abortion, euthanasia and promoting gender ideology in the Country. These concerns have been expressed by the Permanent Commission of the Bishops’ Conference of Venezuela (CEV) in a statement entitled “Great Human Values”, which reiterates that all human beings must be respected in their dignity, from which human rights descend, including the most important one: the right to life. “In a special way, believers in Christ must defend and promote this right”, on the recognition of which “every human community and the political community itself are founded”, the bishops remark, quoting Pope John Paul II’s Encyclical “Evangelium Vitae”.
The statement notes that in recent years more and more attempts have been made in the world to impose a mentality contrary to this fundamental right and to the traditional family: “There are great advertising campaigns by powerful international corporations that invest huge sums of money to impose new pro-abortion, euthanasia and gender ideology legislation” based on “a false concept of modernity”, which creates “new human rights” in contrast with God's plan, the Permanent Commission writes.
Concern for "anti-life" mentality
According to the bishops, Venezuela is not immune from this growing anti–life mentality, which is now promoted by a number of groups and movements in the Country and “unfortunately” has gained consensus amongst some local political leaders who are pushing for new laws in this regard. What is most objectionable – they remark - is that these leaders are taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to push forward this agenda.
Reminding that the Venezuelan Constitution protects life "from conception to natural death" and upholds the integrity of the family and marriage as a bond between a man and a woman, the statement stresses the urgent need for Catholics and all people of good will to raise their voices in defence of these “great human values” against “a minority who wants to impose a new legal framework that distorts the meaning of life”, extending the culture of death. The Venezuelan bishops also call on legislators to "listen to the voice of their conscience” and act consequently by choosing to uphold the traditional family, the dignity and life of every human person “in all its phases".
Call to raise awareness
They finally urge priests, religious, laypeople, pro-life groups, pastoral workers and all ecclesial organizations and bodies to persevere in raising awareness on these issues and in proclaiming the Gospel of life in order to prevent the approval of such laws which, they say, impose a culture of death against the Catholic faith and the human sense of solidarity. The statement concludes reminding that “being a Venezuelan should be a synonym of loving life”.