Venezuela Interior Minister attacks bishops conference

From CNA:

Venezuelan minister attacks bishops for their report to the Pope

Caracas, Venezuela, Jun 11, 2009 / 02:50 pm (CNA).- Responding to the address by Archbishop Ubaldo Santana to Pope Benedict XVI during the Venezuelan bishops’’ recent ad limina visit, Venezuela’s Interior Minister, Tareck El Aissami, accused the bishops of becoming a “political party” that incites hatred.

During the bishops’ visit to Rome, Archbishop Santana delivered an evaluation of the current situation in Venezuela and told the Holy Father that the political agenda of Hugo Chavez has caused “a growing political polarization has increased violence, insecurity and hatred, seriously jeopardizing peaceful democratic coexistence.”

“If anyone has spread hatred in Venezuela,” El Assami stated, “it has been the bishops’ conference.’

“The only thing to say in response to the bishops’ sad depiction is, may God forgive them, they don’t know what they are saying,” he accused.

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  1. Luis says:

    “Tareck El Aissami, accused the bishops of becoming a “political party” Or perhaps just lobbyists who should register with the Conneticut Elections Commission? Is there a pattern here or what?

  2. DarkKnight says:

    Tareck El Aissami? The man sounds about as native as Bernardo O’Higgins! Well, on second thought, at least his parents showed some degree of inculturation.

    It says a lot about the Church when it can be attacked from an entire spectrum from Chavez to Obama. Ooops, I guess that’s not much of a spectrum after all.

  3. Argon says:

    This Chavez individual is a walking argument for a CIA hit squad.

  4. Ottaviani says:

    It’s good to know that Catholic Church still annoys the hell out of the communists!

  5. depeccatoradvitam says:

    Perhaps they are fighting the same evil that Bp. Lori is fighting with a concerted attack to curb the moral influence of the Church.

    This has long been a plan of Communism and the Socialists that came from the Frankfurt School with thought from those like Gramsci and Conflict Theory. This is the piece that links to thought that pervaded the Columbia School of Journalism and also approaches the elitist Socialist thought that moves beyond a proletariat fight to an intellectual battle. This indeed is the battle we face in the courts, on the airwaves and from the latest round of politicians in ruling power.

    Relativism has nothing on this cult of personality that directly aims to defeat the moral sensibilities by cutting off the voice of Truth.

    Dare I say the slyness of the gray shadows has moved to open battle? I guess I already did.

    We know who wins, but there will be many souls lost in this.

  6. Mark says:

    Did I miss something? When did “peaceful democratic coexistence” become part of the Church’s mission??

  7. Aaron says:

    “…an entire spectrum from Chavez to Obama. Ooops, I guess that’s not much of a spectrum after all.” — DarkKnight

    Kind of like the spectrum between light red and a very dark pink.

  8. MargaretMN says:

    Mark, the phrase “seriously jeopardizing peaceful democratic coexistence” is code. Governments have different degrees of relationship with the Church. I think the closest formal relationship is still called a “concordat.”

    The bishops regard “peaceful democratic coexistence” as an ideal situation where the church is allowed to operate without direct interference in its activities but also doesn’t expect to wield undue influence on the political process, the way it could if it enjoyed influence in an authoritarian state. What Americans would call the separation of church and state (but not the banishing of the Church from the public sphere either as some are trying to reinterpret it). It’s necessary to speak this way in Europe and Latin America because there have been cases where the church has held undue influence and it usually winds up corrupting the Church. The Venezuelan bishops just want to be clear that they aren’t complaining just because they’ve fallen out of favor with the powers that be (Chavez, in this case).

    Venezuela has has a checkered relationship with the church (unlike say, it’s neighbor to the west, Colombia, that historically has had a much stronger Catholic identity and closer relationship with the holy see). Venezuela was profoundly affected by the French Revolution and the church was de-established there fairly early even if much of Venezuela remained nominally catholic, with fairly modest levels of religiosity by Latin American standards. Successive governments, whether democracies or dictatorships maintained fairly arms length relations with the church but the church did play an pivotal role in bringing about democracy in the 60s with the Christian Democratic movement. After that, the church enjoyed a closer relationship with government leaders and was a respected institution with considerable latitude in education policy. When Chavez was elected in 1998, he immediately had an adversarial relationship with the church as he began to use the government to encroach on a lot of areas that the church operated in, including Education, mandating what could be taught in all schools, not just public schools. The church is in a much weaker position than it was in the 60s to be part of any type of anti-Chavez opposition. For one thing, there are radical priests (usually from Religious orders) who support Chavez and are ready to give him cover any time he needs it. Secondly, evangelicals have made significant inroads in the country over the last few decades, especially among the very poor. I haven’t followed this recently but I know that there was some research that suggested that poor Evangelicals voted him into office by a wide margin. Why, I am not sure, except that he was regarded as kind of an outsider and they were voting for change.

  9. Mitchell NY says:

    I have been there and seen the state of the Church many times and know all too well what is going on..It is becoming more dangerous in every sector of society, There is an agenda against the CHurch and it is sad because they (Vnzans) were a pretty religious people. I pray they can hold on to their faith and hope for change before the situation escalates as many things there usually do. When you pit some sections of society against others people who are friends and families are torn apart and danger and violence usually follows in lawless societies..Not to say there are not laws there but they do not protect the right people and when they do it only angers the people against them towards unspeakable acts. I was awoken to this….I pray for the Church in Venezuela…..and the peoples..

  10. English Catholic says:

    Interesting background on our friend El Assaimi, who obviously knows what he’s talking about on the subject of spreading hatred:

  11. mrteachersir says:

    This is what happens when we “vote for change”!

  12. Fr. Totton says:

    Coming soon to a white house near you!

    Remember the guy Obama (spelled backwards – amabo – “I will love”, what a reversal) appointed as special faith-based initiatives [Read: minister of religious propaganda] who called the Holy Father a discredited despot and the Knights of Columbus foot soldiers in the cause of hatred – or some such thing. Remember the K of C was founded in and is still headquartered in CT!

    All of this is coming together.

    I know, I need to find my tin-foil biretta and start wearing it again!

  13. irishgirl says:

    mrteachersir-what you said!

  14. Mark VA says:

    Fr. Totton:

    You have a point. What’s being revealed is the so called “tolerance” of the progressives. And that’s not altogether bad, since their words and actions dispel for many the pretense of gentility they’ve been operating under.

  15. Dear all,

    Tareck El Assaimi is not necessarily an Arab Muslim name, but I am almost sure, he was born into the numerous Arab-speaking Melkite Greek Catholic families living in Venezuela. The Byzantine Exarchate in Venezuela is Melkite Rite, as are those in Argentina and Brazil.

    Anyway, Socialism shows its true face.

    Although the Catholic Church should be careful not to make itself into an EU, USA and economic-liberal institution. It should defend the unborn and guard against dictatorship, but not do more. Do not provoke. Some bishops think we must all be a Belgian democracy or pleasing to the EU leadership. As if such a system is better than Latin American socialism. In Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega (former pro-choice Marxist, now pro-life) respects the unborn and even attends Mass daily. So things are a bit difficult there. Of course orthodox Marxism and atheism must be combatted always. But not non-aligned social revolutions – not per se. If they leave the Church alone, we should be silent. US capitalism is not the solution for Latin America always.

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