The Bishops of Venezuela Appeal to Our Lady for Deliverance from Maduro
From Francis, Only Silence
by Christopher A. Ferrara
August 11, 2017
Francis and Maduro: Happy together?
“Will Venezuela be Francis’s downfall?” That provocative question is posed by Monica Showalter in an important article at the American Thinker blog. There is no arguing with her opening line: “The world’s first Latin American pope isn't exactly covering himself with glory as the hellfire of Venezuela immolates that God-forsaken nation.” There has been nothing but silence from Francis as the socialist tyrant Nicolás Maduro oppresses the Venezuelan people and destroys the nation’s once vibrant economy, reducing many to rummaging through garbage cans for food.
For their part, the bishops of Venezuela know a tyrant when they see one: during the run-up to Maduro’s sham election of a new “constituent assembly” to rewrite the Venezuelan constitution in his favor, the Venezuelan Bishops’ Conference posted this prayer to their Twitter account: “Most Holy Virgin, Mother of Coromoto, heavenly Patron of Venezuela, free our homeland from the claws of communism and socialism.” It seems certain that no such words will ever escape the lips of Francis.
The bishops’ prayer is most telling from this Fatima perspective. Our Lady of Coromoto is a title of the Mother of God the Church has assigned to Her apparitions to the chief of the Coromoto tribe in 1591 following the arrival of the Spanish in Venezuela. Instructed by the Virgin to undergo baptism in order to be saved, the chief at first complied but then changed his mind before receiving the sacrament. During a second most impressive apparition of Our Lady, the chief became enraged and tried to grab the Blessed Virgin, but She disappeared, leaving in the chief’s hand a kind of holy card relic, quite small in size, which is preserved to this day in a protective monstrance. It depicts the Virgin, with Child, seated on a throne, both bearing crowns on their heads.
No mere legend, the apparition of Our Lady of Coromoto received approbation from the highest authority in the Church, with Pope Pius XII declaring Our Lady of Coromoto “Patroness of the Republic of the Venezuela” at the request of the country’s bishops, whose successors appeal to Her today.
No such appeal to the Virgin on behalf of the poor nation of Venezuela can be expected from Francis. As one columnist notes in the Wall Street Journal (quoted here):
“Venezuela’s crisis doesn’t fit into Pope Francis’s standard way of explaining contemporary political and economic problems. It’s very hard for the pope to blame Venezuela’s problems on the tyranny of Mammon, financial speculation, free trade agreements, arms-dealers, nefarious ‘neoliberals,’ or any of his usual list of suspects.”
This is not to suggest (as do American neo-conservatives) that the Bergoglian list of usual suspects does not come in for legitimate, indeed harsh, criticism according to Catholic social teaching. Rather, the problem here is blindness to that same social teaching with respect to its equally harsh condemnation of socialism, summed up in Pius XI’s dictum in his landmark social encyclical Quadragesimo anno: “Religious socialism, Christian socialism, are contradictory terms; no one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist.”
It is an axiom of our religion that no person on earth can judge the Pope in the sense of a penal sentence with juridical effect. But the bar of history offers its own inescapable judgment of Popes. In that sense, I must agree with Showalter’s conclusion: “What it all points to is that the pope needs to either blast the nightmare in Venezuela or watch his own credibility go down the drain as civil war engulfs that country… Either he slays the Venezuelan dragon or the Venezuelan dragon will slay him.”