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Rebellion in the Cathedral

Facing the innovations of Pope Francis, the Church in Venezuela is not monolithic. The only Venezuelan Cardinal, Jorge Urosa Savino, has been exposed as a dissident of the reforms coming from Rome. His stance divides the clergy and leaves the conservative side in bad position for his succession as Archbishop of Caracas. At the same time, paradoxically, they reinforce the progressive sector of a church that until now has acted as a containment wall against Chavismo.

12/20/2015 3:05:10 PM

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"The Church is a spiritual family and the family is a small Church". This is how Pope Francis sees the institution he leads since March 2013. If this mirror image between Church and family is taken literally, then it should not be surprising that the changes that Francis, as patriarch, tries to promote in the family, generate disturbances and discomfort among its members. In fact, some of these discomforts, which could be expressed as open dissensions, can be seen in the Venezuelan Catholic Church hierarchy.

The aggiornamento that Francis - who turned 79 this Thursday - impulses from Rome in matters such as communion for the divorced and remarried, acceptance in faith of the children of unmarried couples, and some arrangement that naturalizes homosexual couples, has found resistance in Venezuelan shores. Perhaps the most important, and sort of concealed until then, was felt in August when, just weeks before the second part of the Synod of the Family in the Vatican began, a group of cardinals from four continents published in the United States - originally, in English; one month later a Spanish edition appeared in Spain - the book Eleven cardinals speak about marriage and family, in which they stood up to Francis' ideas. The document was a great surprise to the Venezuelan bishops, since among the authors appears the Archbishop of Caracas, Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, the only Latin American in the group.