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Catholic bishops appeal to Virgin Mary amid controversial Venezuela vote

La Croix International Editor - Thu, Aug 3rd 2017
Prelates claim the government is moving towards dictatorship.
  • Our Lady of Coronato, Patron of Venezuela / Wikimedia

Catholic bishops in Venezuela have appealed for the intercession of the Virgin Mary to liberate the crisis-hit hit country from the “claws of communism and socialism".

The Venezuelan Bishops’ Conference posted the prayer on their Twitter account along with an image of Mary and the Venezuelan flag.
The prayer reads: “Most Holy Virgin, Mother of Coromoto, heavenly Patron of Venezuela, free our homeland from the claws of communism and socialism.”

The tweet was posted as Venezuelans went to the polls on July 30 to elect members for a “constituent assembly” who will be tasked with rewriting the constitution.

It also comes days after bishops’ conference president Archbishop Diego Padron Sanchez, accused the government of trying to install a “military dictatorship, socialist, Marxist and communist”.

President Nicolas Maduro convened the assembly on May 1 amid violent anti-government protests that have claimed the lives of more than 80 people.

The president says rewriting the constitution would promote “reconciliation", while protesters accuse Maduro of trying to use the assembly to bolster his position and stage a power grab. They also said the polls were called without the government having consulted the people.

“A constituent assembly without consultation from the people first will bring negative consequences for the country because the government excludes many sectors to impose a constitutional communal state,” the Crux website quoted Archbishop Padron as saying.

Venezuela’s bishops have backed opponents of the move, calling it illegitimate, unnecessary and “damaging for the Venezuelan people".

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