Luckily, the bomb appears to have been intended to intimidate more than to directly harm:
Venezuelan bishops urged their government to protect the Pope's "house in Venezuela" after a bomb was set off outside the offices of the apostolic nunciature in Caracas.
The bombing occurred Thursday, and caused only minor damages. The façade of the structure was also vandalized with political graffiti.
The prelates reiterated their support for Archbishop Giacinto Berloco, the apostolic nuncio, and promised their prayers "for his intentions and for the successful development of his diplomatic and pastoral service." - Zenit
The article does not directly describe the cause of the tensions, but I do know Hugo Chavez's regime has long been antagonistic to the Catholic Church in Venezuala, and its leaders in particular.From CWNews archives
, Pope Benedict raised these issues directly with Chavez in May 2006:
Pope Benedict XVI took an extraordinary step to challenge Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez during a May 11 meeting at the Vatican.
At the conclusion of a private conversation with the visiting Venezuelan leader, the Holy Father presented Chavez with a letter detailing the concerns of the Holy See regarding the condition of the Church in Venezuela.
... Papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls told reporters that the Pope had used the letter to emphasize the issues that he considers most critical, including:
- the freedom of the Holy See to nominate new bishops,
- the preservation of a distinctive Catholic identity at the Church-run University of Santa Rosa in Lima,
- the elimination of religious education from the school curriculum,
- the introduction of public-health programs that undermine the right to life, and
the need for independence in the Catholic media
During his talk with the Pontiff, Chavez offered assurances that his government would work to ease the tensions that have characterized his relations with the Venezuelan bishops, Navarro-Valls reported.
Zenit, in its coverage, does not elaborate on what the political graffiti said, so we can't know directly what might have motivated the attack. Was it Chavez cronies encouraged to cause trouble? Was it Venezuelans who have bought into the misinformation Chavez has spread about the Church?
I'd appreciate someone with direct knowledge of the situation helping us out in the combox.
In the meantime, let's pray for the Church in Venezuela.
Labels: christian persecution, global catholicism, south america, world trends