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Exclusive interview with spokesman for the Venezuelan bishops

September 6, 2018
Don Pedro Pablo Aguilar, spokesman of the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference
This morning, S+L's Matteo Ciofi conducted an exclusive interview with Don Pedro Pablo Aguilar, the spokesman of the CEV (Venezuelan Episcopal Conference). The Venezuelan bishops are in Rome for their ad limina visit and will be meeting with Pope Francis next Tuesday.
Part of the interview will be shown on today's edition of Perspectives Daily, and the translation of the entire interview can be read below.

S+L: Welcome to Rome. What are your expectations for this meeting with the pope?

Don Pedro Pablo Aguilar: Thanks for the opportunity to talk about this meeting which involves the Venezuelan bishops and Pope Francis. Usually this meeting takes place every 5 years, but for us the last meeting with the pope was in 2012, with Benedict XVI.
For Venezuela this is an important meeting for the situation we are now facing in our country. We have a political crisis, a humanitarian crisis. We have a crisis from every point of view. This meeting can represent hope for the Venezuelan people in the sense that the bishops are the ones who can raise their voices, because the situations in which we are living in every diocese are very difficult.
The bishops have the opportunity to speak also for the people who are voiceless. Moreover, they will speak of how the dioceses work, what has happened in these last years: they will show the pope their reports. Pope Francis knows the Venezuelan situation very well. He has followed the situation in our country closely, and he is very worried, so for us it is a good opportunity to share our experiences.
The delegation here in Rome is composed of 43 people, 9 archdioceses, 26 dioceses, 3 apostolic vicariates: all these groups represent the Venezuelan Church. As I said, it is a great opportunity for us to talk about this situation which we Venezuelans are experiencing in our country.

S+L: How is the Venezuelan Church working at this moment? What are you doing in order to help people who are suffering during this great crisis?

Don Pedro Pablo Aguilar: It seems that in hard times it is not possible to do anything. Perhaps the Church shows greater solidarity, shows herself to be even closer to people who are in need. We do that through Caritas: for example there is an initiative called “supportive pots”. We do different things also in the small villages, away from the city.
At the same time, we are writing reports and statistics because we need to know what is happening in our country. We cannot fix all the problems: this is a shared responsibility with other people and institutions, like the government. But we work closely with Caritas, we provide assistance for people, and we try to give to people hope because now we do not have very much.

S+L: Regarding the political crisis, how much will this topic be discussed with the Holy Father?

Don Pedro Pablo Aguilar: Honestly, we do not know that yet. The big crisis we are experiencing in our country will be a theme that we will share, that is certain, but we will not talk only about that. We will share all our problems: social, economic, religious. The pope is worried about our condition: the number of people leaving Venezuela increases every week and there are always more people who are sick as a consequence of this crisis. The Venezuelan people are really suffering, and we will bring that to the pope’s attention.