Thursday, December 21, 2006

Venezuelan Archbishop Hugo Chavez

(Fr. Jonathan - Fox News)

According to media reports coming out of Latin America, President Chavez is considering a proposal that would establish him as the high priest of his own form of evangelical Christianity, convert his cabinet members into bishops of a lower rank, and submit church activities to the civil and military power of his government.

Wow, Archbishop Hugo Chavez. Does that sound scary or what. The sound of this sounds so ridiculous that it may actually become true. With the past antics of Chavez (his U.N. speech come to mind) and his thirst for power and world recognition, I believe that he would attempt such a bold move. Plus considering the source, well, let’s just say Fr. Jonathan is a beacon of light for the MSM.

It is still unclear who is behind the proposal. Publicly, it has taken the form of a petition by leaders of “Centro Cristiano de Salvación” (Christian Center of Salvation). The association claims to represent 17,000 evangelical churches and 5,000,000 Venezuelans. Their request is simple: make their denomination the country’s official religion, teach it in all public schools and pay the pastors from government coffers. In turn, they will make Chavez their head bishop and promise to submit absolutely to his authority.

Mmmm, kind of like good’ol Henry the VIII. Where’s Thomas Moore when you need him.

Some call the Venezuelan leader “El Loco,”…

That’s an understatement.

… but if these reports are true, President Chavez deserves more credit. He may be crazy, but he’s not dumb. He promised the world that his recent re-election would launch the second phase of his so-called “Bolivarian Socialist Revolution” and he is now keeping his promise.

My greatest fear is the Venezuelan Catholics which is 90% of the population. The historical Comparison to early England in the early 1500’s is an eye opener.

(Henry VIII)
…Henry VIII had been developing a serious interest in politics, and he could brook no superior in whatever sphere he wished to shine. He began to adopt a more critical attitude towards Wolsey's policy, foreign and domestic; and to give ear to the murmurs against the cardinal and his ecclesiastical rule. Parliament had been kept at arm's length since 1515 lest it should attack the church; but Wolsey's expensive foreign policy rendered recourse to parliamentary subsidies indispensable. When it met in 1523 it refused Wolsey's demands, and forced loans were the result which increased the cardinal's unpopularity. Nor did success abroad now blunt the edge of domestic discontent. His fate, however, was sealed by his failure to obtain a divorce for Henry VIII from the papal court….

And we all know from history what the out come came to be.

Compare this… (Henry VIII article)
…it was Henry VIII's intention to convert the mass into a communion service. An opportunist to the last, he would readily have sacrificed any theological convictions he may have had in the interests of national uniformity….

To this… (Chavez article)
When I went to Venezuela last February to do commentary for Fox News about a large religious procession sponsored by the Catholic Church, it was clear Mr. Chavez was uncomfortable with the strength of the country’s traditional piety and how that the piety links its people to a higher, spiritual power and an international organization. Organizers of that event pledged more than 1,000,000 people would process peacefully in the streets of Barquisimeto. The crowds easily surpassed the official estimation.
On that festive day I saw Venezuelans proud to be Venezuelans. For a moment they could put aside political and social uncertainty and unite around faith.

I also saw the shrewd attempts of President Chavez to link himself to the success of the procession and manipulate the religious message into a purely nationalistic one of which he was the lone star. Hours before the procession, he interrupted all television and radio programming so he could deliver without competition his media message. He sent military jets to fly over the crowds with an impressive air-show of military might. He paid thousands of “volunteers” to wear government shirts and pass out free water bottles and pro-Chavez literature.

While human rights groups have always expressed concern for the long-term viability of religious liberty under a Chavez administration, until now, a wide range of denominations has been free to worship and operate
independently of government control.

Chavez’s obvious plan to be the dominant influence in the Southern Hemisphere my or may not follow this path, but the signs of caution are in the wind. And the good people of the south may not be the only one’s who would suffer the consequences of such a storm.
Storm clouds know no borders…

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