(MiamiHerald.com) - A church modeled in part after one in Miami but with a ''revolutionary'' spirit that praises Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez is now at the center of a religious and social controversy in Venezuela.THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Does anything here sound familiar? Let's see.... Divorce is okay. Homosexuality is okay. Bisexuality is okay. And state-sponsored socialism is God's will!
Although it has adopted many of the symbols and rites of Roman Catholicism, the new Reform Catholic Venezuelan Church departs from traditional belief in some key ways.
For example, reformists consider that ''homosexuality and bisexuality are not sins in and of themselves.'' Divorce is allowed and priests do not take vows of chastity.
The church, which was publicly announced last week, also lines itself up squarely behind Chávez's ''Bolivarian Revolution'' and its socialist agenda.
Venezuelan Catholic leaders, who reacted sharply to the new church, claim Chávez is bankrolling it with petroleum proceeds.
But whether that's true or not, Reform Catholic leaders line up squarely behind the Venezuelan president.
''We completely support the socialist project led by Chávez,'' said Enrique Albornoz, one of the new church's first bishops -- a group that is to be ordained on Sunday.
The ordination of the bishops is scheduled to take place in Ciudad Ojeda, a small oil-rich town in the Venezuelan state of Zulia.
According to its leaders, the reformist church seeks to establish an institution that is ``inclusive, participatory and with a strong Bolivarian spirit that recognizes Jesus Christ as the Lord of History. He is present in the revolutionary process that is occurring in Venezuela.''
A former Roman Catholic priest, Jon Jen Siu Garcia, was elected coadjutor, and noted to the Venezuelan press that his mission is to ``liberate people from capitalist values.''...
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That's the gospel according to "Liberation Theology" which was soundly condemned as heresy by Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. It's also the gospel of many so-called "progressive" Catholics here in the United States.
The two philosophies seem to come from two totally different localities, and from two totally different sources. However, the end result is virtually the same. Could it be that they have a common origin? Could it be that the mastermind behind them is the same person? If so, I wonder who that could be?