The strenuous relationship between the Venezuelan regime and local Church leaders deteriorated further in January, with President Nicolas Maduro calling two bishops “devils in a cassock.”
During his comments to the pro-government National Constituent Assembly on 15th January, Maduro also ordered the attorney general to investigate the bishops for hate crimes.
“One of those two called us a ‘plague,'” Maduro said. “It will be seen whether this constitutes a real hate crime that aims to create fighting between Venezuelans.”
Maduro referred to comments made by the Bishop Victor Basabe of San Felipe and Archbishop Antonio Lopez Castillo of Barquisimeto.
On 14th January, during the annual procession of the Divine Shepherdess, which attracts millions in the western city of Barquisimeto, both bishops spoke out against corruption, which they said has contributed to the country’s spiraling economic crisis.
According to local outlet noticiasbarquisimeto.com, Bishop Basabe told the crowd that Venezuelans who have left the country “will never be foreigners” and that when they return they will all “have the task of reconstructing our country so that the plague that today devastates us becomes part of the past.”
Picture: Archbishop Antonio Lopez Castillo of Barquisimeto, Venezuela, celebrates Mass on 28th January at Santa Rosa Church in Barquisimeto. (CNS photo/Cody Weddle).