CARACAS – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has described Cardinal Archbishop Jorge Urosa Savino of Caracas as a “troglodyte.”
In a speech at the National Assembly Monday on the occasion of the anniversary of Venezuela’s declaration of independence, Chavez called the cardinal “unworthy” because he “acts like a troglodyte” when he tries to “inspire fear of communism,” and asked the papal nuncio, present in the chamber, to convey a message to Pope Benedict XVI.
“Send a message to his holiness...as long as they send these bishops here, we’ll feel very distant” from the Catholic hierarchy, the president said, adding that “this battle has not ended.”
“We don’t deserve a cardinal like that,” Chavez said of Urosa, who has repeatedly criticized policies of the leftist government.
“This gentleman is unworthy of calling himself cardinal,” the Venezuelan president said, addressing Vatican envoy Pietro Parolini, whose presence he welcomed.
Chavez said that he had already opposed the appointment of this cardinal and said so to a papal envoy when he came to Caracas to discuss the matter, though finally, he said, he accepted that choice.
Chavez said that he had a candidate for cardinal, who was Mario Moronta, bishop of the Andean city of San Cristobal.
“You have him there, in San Cristobal...the bishops conference almost sent him into exile,” he said, insisting that, as far as he was concerned, “the cardinal is Mario Moronta” for the work he has done for the people.
“Our people cannot be manipulated by cassocks,” Chavez said, adding that “the way of Christ is justice” and that “socialism and Christianity can walk hand in hand.” EFE