The man who changed the Vatican’s mind on Venezuela


Catholic Herald, 17 August 2017

Cardinal Urosa has emerged as a formidable centre of unity

Twenty-five years after Soviet totalitarianism was thrown on the ash heap of history, with the dissolution of the evil empire itself, the world is witnessing in Venezuela the reprise of a familiar Cold War drama – the courageous cardinal defying a corrupt communist regime.

Two months ago, I wrote in these pages about the 20th-century lions of the east, those indomitable pastors who faced persecution and stood strong, writing with their witness one of the proudest chapters in the history of the Church. Their names form a veritable litany: Cardinal Lubomyr Husar of Kyiv, recently deceased; Archbishop Teofilius Matulionis, recently beatified in Lithuania; Cardinals Adam Sapieha of Kraków, Stefan Wyszyński of Warsaw, Kazimierz Świątek of Minsk, Aloysius Stepinac of Zagreb (already beatified), Josyf Slipyj of Lviv, Josef Beran of Prague, Alexandru Todea of Romania, Jozef Mindszenty of Hungary. They provided the inspiration and model for the most influential of them all, Karol Wojtyła of Kraków and Rome.

As the lethal tyranny of Nicolás Maduro – thuggish successor to the petro-communist Hugo Chávez – smothers the ability of Venezuelans to enjoy basic human rights and nutrition, Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, Archbishop of Caracas since 2005, has emerged as a formidable centre of unity for Venezuelan civil society. After defending the Church against the assaults of the Chávez regime before the latter’s death in 2013, Urosa – who turns 75 later this month – has in recent years increasingly spoken the truth about Venezuela’s descent to starvation socialism.

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