Chavez took the oath of office at the National Assembly after a sweeping re-election victory that has given him free reign to pursue more radical changes, including plans to nationalize power and telecommunications companies.
His right hand raised, Chavez declared: "Fatherland, socialism or death — I swear it," invoking the Cuban leader's famous call to arms.
Chavez also alluded to Jesus, saying: "I swear by Christ — the greatest socialist in history."
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THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: I'm afraid 'The Catholic Knight' has a reality check for Mr. Chavez. Jesus Christ never TAXED a single human being. He never FORCED anyone to give away anything. Furthermore, he never COERCED a single soul into his Kingdom. You see, Mr. Chavez has the same myopic view of Christianity that nearly all social liberals have. They see the Kingdom of God as a political regime, imposed by force upon all, regardless of the consent of the governed. Jesus said "my kingdom is not of this world," (John 18:36) and his call to follow him was a call to voluntary conversion. Christ the King rules through the hearts of voluntary servants, not though the might of military strong men. The Kingdom Christ called for is social not socialist, "communitarian" not communist. Shared wealth programs actually do work, when the participants share their wealth voluntarily. Religious convents and monasteries are a perfect example of this in action. However, history has demonstrated that wherever government forced socialism is tried, it fails miserably, bankrupting the very government that tries to enact it and stunting the economy it must rape to sustain it. But history has demonstrated that this is a lesson that must be learned over and over again, and Venezuela will be no exception. The people of Venezuela will experience initial euphoria in their new socialist economy, as most socialist nations do. In time however, that euphoria will give way to economic stagnation. I say let them go ahead and learn their lesson the hard way. That seems to be the only way people learn it. In the mean time however, the United States would do well to wean itself from Venezuelan oil supply, and Catholics around the world would do well remembering the teaching of the Catechism:
2425 The Church has rejected the totalitarian and atheistic ideologies associated in modem times with "communism" or "socialism." She has likewise refused to accept, in the practice of "capitalism," individualism and the absolute primacy of the law of the marketplace over human labor. Regulating the economy solely by centralized planning perverts the basis of social bonds; regulating it solely by the law of the marketplace fails social justice, for "there are many human needs which cannot be satisfied by the market." Reasonable regulation of the marketplace and economic initiatives, in keeping with a just hierarchy of values and a view to the common good, is to be commended.