Venezuelan government invites Vatican to peace talks

Protesters run from riot police on Feb. 15, 2014 in Altamira, Caracas, Venezuela. Credit: andresAzp via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Venezuela's foreign affairs minister, Elias Jaua, has sent a letter to the Vatican, inviting its participation in the National Peace Conference that has been convened by President Nicolas Maduro.

The move came after a meeting between Venezuela government officials and the opposition, during which both sides agreed that the Holy See could join in the peace process.

In the letter, made public April 9, Jaua sent an invitation on behalf of President Maduro to Pope Francis, inviting him to take part in the talks between government and opposition leaders, through the designation of “good will witness.”

On Tuesday, representatives from both the Venezuelan government and the opposition had an exploratory meeting to begin talks aiming at putting an end to violent protests that have left at least 39 dead and hundreds injured or detained.

The ongoing unrest took another turn Sunday when a leading journalist at the Globovision television network, Nairobi Pinto, was kidnapped outside his home. Pinto’s friends say political motives are behind his disappearance.

Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino called on the government of President Maduro to heed “the voices of so many who point out that we are going down the wrong road.”

Speaking at the Tiferet Israel synagogue in Caracas April 7, Cardinal Savino said, “Venezuela has problems today, and she needs the effort of all citizens in order to resolve them.” 


Voices

Spiritual, but not religious? Who to blame for declining church attendance

Father Ronald Rolheiser, OMI

It’s no secret that today there’s been a massive drop-off in church attendance. Moreover, that drop-off in church-going is not paralleled by the same widespread growth in atheism and agnosticism. Rather, more and more people are claiming to be spiritual but not religious, faith-filled but not churchgoers. Why this exodus from our churches?

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