Instead, Pope Benedict XVI, increasingly wary of foreign leaders using meetings at the Vatican for political purposes, gave Hugo Chavez, the aggressively populist left-wing leader, a stern lecture on the need to respect religious freedom in a nation where 96% of the population is Roman Catholic.
Senor Chavez, who arrives in London this weekend, last year described the Church as a “tumour” and denounced Venezuela’s bishops as out-of-touch, elitist “devils in cassocks."
The Vatican noted dryly that during the 35-minute audience Senor Chavez ... who faces elections in December ... had “briefed the Holy Father on projects for social change under way in his country."
Friday, May 12, 2006
Pope and Chevez
From the Vheadline: