Venezuela Seen Pushing a "21st-Century Socialism"

ROME, SEPT. 20, 2005 ( The Venezuelan government does not «persecute the Church in the proper sense, but it is spreading an ideology, that of ‘socialism of the 21st century,'» says an observer.

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«Such an ideology is not compatible with the social doctrine of the Church,» warned Norbert Neuhaus, secretary-general of the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need. He made his comments after a recent visit to Venezuela.

«Despite the traditional popular piety existing in Venezuela, many of the faithful need to know more about Catholic doctrine,» Neuhaus affirmed. «They must be strengthened in the faith.»

According to Neuhaus, what happens in Venezuela «is a systematic takeover of power in one of Latin America’s wealthiest nations, a takeover that is planned and orchestrated by forces in close cooperation with Fidel Castro.»

Yet, Neuhaus sees hope for Venezuela, a predominantly Catholic nation of 25 million. «Currently, there are some 900 seminarians. This fact, as well as the nomination of Monsignor Jorge Liberato Urosa Savino as new archbishop of Caracas, is a sign of hope.»

On Monday, Benedict XVI named Archbishop Urosa, 63, of Valencia, to head the Caracas Archdiocese. He succeeds Cardinal Antonio Velasco Garcia, who died in 2003.

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