Pope's 'can't we all just get along' Christmas message falls flat on Venezuela

As usual, Pope Francis disappoints.

At his Urbi et Orbi Christmas message to the world, he pretty much suggested that anyone in the West who doesn't want unvetted migrants or who does want any legal process for immigration is a bigot, someone who has a problem with people simply because they are different.  As if melting-pot America had anything to be scolded for on that front, given that most of us can name six or seven ancestral nationalities, and the fact that millions of people of all nationalities still migrate here legally, I guess to jump in and enjoy all that supposed bigotry.

"We are all brothers," he said.  "Our differences, then, are not a detriment or a danger; they are a source of richness."

Maybe he was talking about the racially monolithic Japanese with such a comment.  But I kind of doubt it.

We all know what he had in mind, and what's more, NPR points out that as sexual scandals derived from clerical protection rackets engulf the Church, the Holy Father is turning more and more to advocating for migrants (heading to the West).  So here we have his "can't we all just get along" speech, stating that his fervent wish for the world in the coming year is that French Revolution-derived concept of "fraternity."  Plenty of reason to be suspicious of that one, given the atheist-materialist roots of that particular uprising.

Where it really falls flat is when he starts bringing up particular countries and explains the fraternity wish he has for them.  One stands out to me: socialist hellhole Venezuela.

According to Vatican News:

For Venezuelans the Pope hopes they might "recover social harmony" so as to "work fraternally" toward the country's development.

Social harmony?  That's the root of Venezuela's problems?  That train came and went 20 years ago.  Yes, there was social hatred – whipped up by the socialist who led Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, 20 years ago, acting as a genuine socialist.  Chávez made war on a substantial portion of the country's population and sneeringly called on Venezuela's middle class to just leave the country.  He did everything else to end social harmony – declaring war on private property in the name of "social justice," expropriating working farms, dirtying up the cities with menacing FARC guerrilla graffiti to let everyone know who was in town (I saw this in Caracas in 2005), organizing armed motorcycle street thugs to terrorize citizens in the name of "social justice," shutting down the free press, devaluing the currency, prohibiting aid from entering...the list is just so much bigger than this, but hate most certainly was at the root of it, a normal and ordinary socialist hate rooted in the third tenet of Lenin's Marxism, which is class struggle.

Hate was a long way back in Venezuela's sad story, and the reality is, it went one way.

Why doesn't the pope just state the obvious and call for an end to the socialism that has left the country a starving, impoverished, violent, dissident-torturing, oppressive social ruin?  Asking for "social harmony" in a situation like this suggests that maybe there's a place in society outside the deepest prison or the executioner's block for Venezuela's evil, oppressive and criminal rulers.  Maybe they have a case?  Maybe they have a place? 

Don't think so.  That kind of moral relativism leaves a sour taste in the mouth, given what's happened to the country.  Social harmony is the end product of social capital, not the starting point.  That's because social capital comes from respect for private property and that foremost of all human rights, personal security.  It comes of not having to worry about getting kidnapped or robbed any time you go out without a bodyguard or an armored car, or any time you use an ATM.  Right now, Venezuela has none of that.  Neighbor no longer trusts neighbor, business, or especially the state.  Just watch Secuestro Express to see what it looks like. 

The pope's soggy admonition has a Rodney King flavor to it, in no small part because of what the Church has been up to in the past 20 years.  Venezuela became a hellhole in no small part because of the heavy permeation of the social fabric by Liberation Theology, including from Liberation Theology priests.  I recall that back in the Hugo Chávez heyday, when the country was beginning its road to servitude, the Maryknoll magazines were full of praise for the Chavista government, even when it was starting to get obvious that the social fabric was unraveling.  Venezuela also slid into hellhole status from the Church's failure to check Chávez's political use of Liberation Theology.  Remember when Chávez announced on the radio that it was OK for the poor to steal, based on biblical doctrine?  Remember when he waved a cross after escaping alive from a coup attempt?  If the pope or those like him at the time had anything to say about this, it escapes me.

The weak-kneed statement about everyone getting along isn't the result of the pope not knowing what is going on.  He did appoint what appears to be a fairly good Venezuelan archbishop to be his chief of staff, a man who condemned Venezuela's "perverse ideology" and "system of government" a few months ago.  Why isn't the pope the one talking like that?  Why is he blaming social harmony for the country's problems, when right now, it's being crunched up in the ravenous, beastly jaws of socialism?  The one possible reason might be that he wants to get along with the Chavista government in order to get it to allow aid in.  But that's a bad plan, given the actual needs of the country with a people-hating by-any-means-necessary agenda.  A monster has attacked that country, and there the pope is, suggesting that both sides are at fault and that getting along will do the trick.  Talk about failing to get it.

Image credit: Jeffrey Bruno/ALATEIA via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0.

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