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Catholic leaders warn that Venezuela's stability at risk amid uncertainty about ailing Chavez

Leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Venezuela are warning that the country's stability is at risk due to President Hugo Chavez's complications after cancer surgery in Cuba.

Catholic leaders in the Venezuelan Bishops Conference are criticizing the government for not providing more details about Chavez's state nearly a month after his Dec. 11 operation.

Government officials have called Chavez's condition delicate and say he is fighting a severe respiratory infection.

The Bishops' Conference said in a statement that the country faces a potentially dangerous situation amid uncertainty about Chavez's condition and that "the nation's political and social stability is at serious risk."

Chavez describes himself as Christian but has had repeated verbal clashes with Catholic leaders, who have previously accused the president of being increasingly authoritarian.