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Pope reaches out to Venezuela with note to cardinal named after Magi

CARACAS

Fotos: Jose Cohen

Cardinal Baltazar Porras in the Casablanca neighborhood of Caracas

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 01/08/21

The apostolic administrator of Caracas celebrates his Name Day on the feast of the Epiphany.

Pope Francis expressed his closeness to Venezuela — suffering an intensification of its political turmoil as well as the struggle against the pandemic — with a letter to the cardinal guiding the capital city. Cardinal Baltazar Porras Cardozo, archbishop of Mérida, and the apostolic administrator of Caracas, is named after one of the Three Kings, and thus celebrated his Name Day on January 6, the feast of the Epiphany.

The letter expresses the pope’s prayer that God continue to give the cardinal strength and boldness (he used the New Testament word parrhesia in Greek), “so that with a father’s heart you know how to accompany and comfort His holy faithful people, tried by the suffering caused by the scourge of the pandemic, the arrogance of the powerful, and the growing poverty that strangles them,” the pope wrote.

The country’s ruling Socialist Party on Tuesday inaugurated a parliament controlled by allies of President Nicolas Maduro, while the opposition convened a rival committee of legislators in a virtual session, following disputed elections on December 6.

As well, because of the economic collapse, Venezuela’s health system was already sorely tried even before the pandemic began. In the early months of the pandemic, Pope Francis donated four ventilators to the country to assist in its struggles to care for the victims.

The Holy Father has followed the situation in Venezuela closely; in 2017 the Vatican began to offer mediation to help the political situation but was unable to find success.

Recalling Balthasar

Traditionally the Three Wise Men are referred to with the names Balthasar, Melchior, and Gaspar.


ADORATION OF THE MAGI

Read more:
Did St. Thomas the Apostle baptize the Three Wise Men?

Noting that the feast of the Epiphany is “the day of the manifestation of the humility of God who becomes light that defeats the darkness that covers the world,” Pope Francis offered his prayer to the Lord for the cardinal and his ministry as a bishop.

He also imparted his apostolic blessing and entrusted him to the protection of the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph and to the patronage of the holy and wise king Balthazar.

Greetings from Vatican officials tied to Venezuela

Beneath the pope’s greeting, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin sent his own “cordial congratulations.” Cardinal Parolin was Apostolic Nuncio to Venezuela before Pope Francis called him to the Vatican in October 2013 to serve as Secretary of State.

Another Vatican official, the Substitute for the Secretariat of State, Venezuelan Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, also took the opportunity to express his “consideration and esteem” to Cardinal Porras.

Bishops’ plenary meeting

This week, Cardinal Porras Cardozo is participating in the assembly of the Venezuelan Bishops’ Conference (CEV) that began on Monday as a virtual event because of the pandemic.   Besides reviewing the state of affairs of the country, the bishops will be discussing the Second National Pastoral Assembly, which will be held this year, after it was cancelled last year due to the global epidemic. The traditional Pastoral Exhortation of CVE is expected on 11 January, the closing of the plenary session.




Read more:
Venezuela: How desperation leads to tragedy 

Tags:
Pope FrancisVenezuela
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