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Venezuela's opposition leader asks Pope Francis to help heal political division


All eyes on St. Peter's Square fell on Venezuela's opposition leader and former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles. The 41-year-old governor of Miranda state greeted his supporters, after meeting Pope Francis following Wednesday's general audience. 

During the 20-minute private audience, Capriles asked the Pope to have the Church mediate the political paralysis entrenched in Venezuelan politics. Pope Francis responded to his request.

Venezuela Opposition Leader
"He said the Church hears this request, and he said he believes that through dialogue, and through Venezuelan Bishops' conference, and through our country's cardinal, he would look into how this request to see how it can materialize."

Since the Vatican's new Secretary of State served in Venezuela, Capriles said the Church can play a key role in mediating this internal struggle.

Venezuela Opposition Leader
"Mgr. Parolin knows the situation in Venezuelan society, because he just left the Nunciature in our country. I'm sure that Msgr. Parolin can help greatly, using his new position here at the Vatican, to promote dialogue in our country."

During their audience, Capriles gave the Pope an image of Venezuela's patroness, Our Lady of Coromoto, made by political prisoners. He asked for the Pope's help to free them. He also gave him letters from ordinary Venezuelans, as well as his assurances that he's committed to dialogue.

Capriles acknowledged that he sought the Pope's help because the Church is above politics. In fact, Pope Francis met with Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro back in July, before his trip to Brazil. 

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