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by Max Douglas  •  •  February 17, 2017

This comes after socialists stormed Mass and screamed “Satan in a cassock!”

CARACAS, Venezuela  ( – In a recent interview, a Venezuelan archbishop is saying recent anti-Catholic attacks are meant to intimidate Catholic clerics who are speaking out against socialism.

Venezuela is currently in the middle of an economic collapse, and the Catholic Church is speaking out against the socialist policies of the government. Archbishop Diego Padron, president of the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference, said the recent series of attacks are not “isolated events.”

Archbishop Padron attributed the current economic collapse and unprecedented inflation to “a failed political system they called 21st-century socialism.”

Just weeks ago a group of socialists interrupted Mass in the Caracas region shouting, “Chavez lives!” and “Satan in a cassock!” The group was praising Hugo Chavez, the former president who inspired socialist policies.

No one can be at the same time a sincere Catholic and a true socialist.Tweet

Chavez was elected president of Venezuela in 1999 and began to espouse Marxist principles almost immediately. “Marxism is undoubtedly the most advanced theory and scientific interpretation of history, of the concrete reality of peoples,” Chavez reportedly said. “What is more, Marxism is undoubtedly the most advanced proposal for the world that Christ came to announce more than 2,000 years ago.”

Socialism has been condemned consistently throughout the 20th and 21st centuries by the Church. Pope Leo XIII in Rerum Novarum, issued in 1891, said socialism “would rob the lawful possessor, distort the functions of the State and create utter confusion in the community.”

Just a few years later, Pius XI reiterated that “no one can be at the same time a sincere Catholic and a true socialist.”

Figures released in summer 2016 reveal the Latin American country has the world’s worst negative growth rate of -8 percent, the worst inflation rate of 482 percent, and an unemployment rate that is expected to rise to 30 percent in the coming few years.

Forbes Magazine summed up the events:

Present-day Venezuela is facing a humanitarian crisis, and Nicolas Maduro, Chavez’s hand-picked successor, and his socialist regime is rightly shouldering the blame. The country’s emphasis on oil exports, price controls and a heavily-controlled economy are all features found in other current and former socialist countries — features that have contributed to the demise of whole economies or brought them close to it.

In the summer of 2016, the Venezuelan bishop condemned the government take-over of food supplies, arguing, “The constant preaching of hate, criminalization and punishment of all dissidents affects the family and social relations. Before this situation, the growth of military power is a threat to tranquility and peace.”

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Max Douglas

Maxwell Douglas is a member of the PAUSE Program and a staff writer for

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“A theory that makes profit the exclusive norm and ultimate end of economic activity is morally unacceptable. The disordered desire for money cannot but produce perverse effects. It is one of the causes of the many conflicts which disturb the social order. A system that ‘subordinates the basic rights of individuals and of groups to the collective organization of production’ is contrary to human dignity. Every practice that reduces persons to nothing more than a means of profit enslaves man, leads to idolizing money, and contributes to the spread of atheism. ‘You cannot serve God and mammon’”(CCC: 2424).

“The Church has rejected the totalitarian and atheistic ideologies associated in modern times with ‘communism’ or ‘socialism’. She has likewise refused to accept, in the practice of ‘capitalism,’ individualism and the absolute primacy of the law of the marketplace over human labor. Regulating the economy solely by centralized planning perverts the basis of social bonds; regulating it solely by the law of the marketplace fails social justice, for ‘there are many human needs which cannot be satisfied by the market.’ Reasonable regulation of the marketplace and economic initiatives, in keeping with a just hierarchy of values and a view to the common good, is to be commended” (CCC:2425).