Vatican City, 11 April 2014 (VIS) – On the occasion of the initiation of the “Dialogue for Peace” between the government and opposition groups in Venezuela, in which the Holy See has been invited as a mediator, the Holy Father has sent a message to President Nicolas Maduro Moros, members of government, representatives of the Democratic Unity Roundtable and the chancellors of UNASUR, to express his wish that “unity always prevail over conflict”: The message was read yesterday during the inaugural session of the event by Archbishop Aldo Giordano, apostolic nuncio to Venezuela. The full text is reproduced below:
“Firstly, I would like to thank you for your invitation to the Holy See to participate in the process of dialogue and peace for your beloved country. To each one of you I wish first o all to assure my prayers that the meeting and the process you are undertaking may bear the desired fruit of national reconciliation and peace, gifts we invoke from God for the entire Venezuelan population.
“I am aware of the disquiet and suffering experienced by many people and, while I express my concerns over what is happening, I renew my affection for all Venezuelans and in particular for the victims of the violence and their families. I am deeply convinced that violence can never lead to the peace and well-being of a country, since it always generates violence alone. On the contrary, through dialogue you are able to rediscover the common shared foundation that will lead you to overcome the current moment of conflict and polarisation, which so deeply wounds Venezuela, to find forms of collaboration. Respect for and acknowledgement of the differences that exist between the Parties will promote the common good. All of you, indeed, share the love for your countries and for your people, as well as serious concerns linked to the economic crisis, violence and criminality. You all have at heart the future of your children and the wish for peace that distinguishes Venezuelans. You all have in common your faith in God and the will to defend the dignity of the human person.
It is precisely this that you have in common and which presses you to undertake the dialogue that begins today, at the base of which there must be an authentic culture of encounter, that is aware that unity always prevails over conflict. I encourage you, therefore, not to stop at this current situation of conflict, but rather to be open with each other in order to become authentic peacemakers. At the heart of every sincere dialogue there is, above all, acknowledgement and respect for the other. Above all there is the 'heroism' of forgiveness and mercy, which frees us from resentment and hatred, and opens a truly new path. It will be a long and difficult road that will require patience and courage, but it is the only one that can lead to peace and justice. For the good of all your people and for the future of your children, I ask you to find this courage.
“With these sentiments I accompany the dear Venezuelan nation, and to each one of you I impart a heartfelt apostolic blessing, invoking the Lord's help”.