Cold Hard Wonk

No sentiment but politics

Who Will Rid Me Of This Turbulent Priest?

Posted by JJ in The Other America (Monday January 16, 2006 at 12:55 am)

What does that pesky Catholic Church really want?

Souls? Gold? Tickets to Bon Jovi?

According to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the downfall of his government.

Apparently, fresh (in Vatican terms 15 years isn’t that long) from its victory over Communism in Eastern Europe, the Vatican is going to take on socialist regimes elsewhere. Cuba was out of course, having gotten a cautious thumbs up from former pontiff, John Paul II.

So where’s a German Shepherd to go? Well, Venezuela offers a hot-headed President with his own, hand-made “world’s most advanced” constitution (presumably, it can tell you when it’s being breached), a persecution complex, and a new approach to socialism. Why not try there?

Surely a senior Cardinal, having lived in Venezuela for years, has some ulterior motive for his statements:

  • Speaking out against the arrests of opponents of the regime
  • Voicing concerns about the concentration of power under the current constitution

Oh, and the Vatican has taken pains to point out that these positions are those of the Cardinal in his personal capacity, and not the position of the Vatican. On the other hand, the bishops of Venezuela, in a rare step, have stood behind the Cardinal’s remarks.

So if the bishops “on the ground” and the Cardinal are concerned, only one question remains: what’s their angle? Couldn’t the Vatican’s disclaimer be a mere Elizabethan ploy?

Stop this sarcastic nonsense. The Vatican doesn’t have any reason to go around badmouthing random regimes, or any reason to “conspire” with the United States to attack Latin America — a major bulwark of the faith. Neither do its priests, bishops, or cardinals.

A bully is a bully. There has been bullying of Priests before, and the weapons of a populist aren’t those of a medieval king. Henry II proved to regret the outcome of his rage; let’s hope no one has cause to regret President Chavez’s outburst.

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