Catholic Church to give 'sanctuary' to Venezuela's fleeing socialist tyrants?

Is the Vatican going to give 'sanctuary' to Venezuela's fleeing socialists to ensure they face no consequences for killing dissidents and robbing the country blind?

That's what it looks like, based on a report from PanAm Post's Sabrina Martin, citing a Venezuelan cleric.  She writes:

Pope Francis has shown signs of his great affinity to socialism, which has not been lost on Venezuela's Chavistas. High-ranking Venezuelan officials have now decided to request asylum from the Catholic Church in anticipation of the possible fall of Nicolás Maduro.

With Francis as pope for life, Chavistas have ensured impunity for themselves, and a way to get away with their crimes.

Monsignor Mario Moronta, vice president of the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference (CEV) has already reported that senior Chavista officials are considering taking refuge in churches if Maduro is overthrown. The possibility arose that the Catholic Church might offer them asylum.

Which would be quite a picture for the Church, sheltering Chavista thugs who've just gotten done mowing down peaceful protesters in the streets in church sanctuaries from supposedly wicked Venezuelans all upset about not being able to eat or even protest about it.

The monsignor goes on to give a gag-inducing trope about the Church always helping those in need — including apparently even Venezuela's socialist billionaires who have lined their pockets with the country's wealth, or Venezuela's famous 'shoot into the crowds' Chavista motorcycle thugs.  He then gives a disclaimer about not wanting to be complicit in the crimes of Chavismo, so maybe he is being insincere, since none of them is exempt from that.  Whom can he be talking about if he says he only wants to help the non-criminals of the narco-regime?

Sheltering Chavistas from the consequences of their crimes, needless to say, is not the way to fill the church pews with the faithful, given the large numbers of Venezuelans who would like to see these thugs and thieves brought to actual, rather than social, justice.  Is the Church saying they don't have a case?  Or that desperate Chavistas on the run from their crimes are entitled to impunity unlike other criminals?  It's hard to tell based on the Moronta statement.

It's doubly so because Venezuela has some very hard-ass Church leaders who have explicitly condemned socialism and all its evils, and these are the people Pope Francis likes to ignore.  Moronta, according to his biography, is a John Paul II appointee, which means he probably isn't some Pope Francis pawn seeded into the Church leadership to promote left-wingery under clerical colors. 

It's possible that he's offering them sanctuary as an incentive to get them the hell out, which is what Venezuelans want, given that Vladimir Putin reportedly told the Maduroites they sure as heck weren't going to get any asylum in Russia.  Others have offered Chavistas a gentle out, including Guaidó — there are carrots on offer galore to get Chavistas to move to the other side.  Moronta's statement might be a pragmatic move to entice them out.  But sanctuary under color of the Church, as if angry Venezuelans outside were somehow threatening to kill them, which they are not, sure as heck doesn't seem like a good look for the Church or its own claims to being the face of social justice.

That said, Martin thinks the Church is in bed with the Maduroites on political-ideological rather than spiritual grounds, based on other factors, starting with the pope's failure to stand up to the tyrants in Venezuela.  There has also been some reporting, denied by the Vatican, that the Vatican's bank, via a shell company, is sheltering some of the Chavista oligarchy's ill-gotten billions.  Martin reports:

According to information disseminated by the Peruvian journalist Jaime Bayly, there are three key figures of Chavismo who have millions of euros in the Vatican bank.

According to Bayly, he was able to obtain banking information on Nicolás Maduro, Diosdado Cabello, and the daughter of Hugo Chávez, María Gabriela Chávez. He said that between the three of them, they have $1.76 billion euros.

Although the Vatican has denied that Maduro and other socialist ex-presidents have deposits there, the Colombian newspaper El Expediente revealed that there is an alleged money laundering operation that has been used by Latin American leaders called "Route of the K Money," and that it was set in motion by the ex-president of Argentina, Cristina Kirchner, in conjunction with Pope Jorge Mario Bergoglio.

That's a hard one to grasp, too, given that the pope and Kirchner are hardly friends — Kirchner actually leaked false information about Bergoglio to keep him from getting elected pope.  Again, there's a heckuva lot of confusing information to digest here.

And yet, and yet — it's hard not to think the Vatican, which has shown an amazing failure of leadership on Venezuela, is siding with the Maduroites over the people. There was its failure to recognize the acting government of Juan Guaidó. There is this church sanctuary thing for Chavistas. There is the issue of whether their bank is in hock with the thieving socialist thugs ruling Venezuela.

With so many negatives already in place, offering sanctuary to Chavistas is a pretty bad idea, and certain to seal and discredit the very idea of sanctuary entirely, even more than church sanctuary activity in the U.S. regarding the foreigners its churches shelter for breaking U.S. immigration law. 

If they give these people sanctuary, either to just get them out of there, or because they want to 'save' them from the consequences they deserve from those supposedly godawful poor people, (and actually, it might be both) they're putting themselves in for a hell of a quandary. They ought to stay out of this, because they aren't going to win for siding with tyrants over millions of starving people in their vast collective call for peace and justice. They need to run as far away as they can from this idea.

Image credit: Diliff via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0.

If you experience technical problems, please write to