Excited about the first pope from Latin America? Well, apparently you have recently deceased Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez to thank. At least that's according to his handpicked successor and interim president, Nicolas Maduro.
Maduro is theorizing that Chávez went up to Heaven and made arrangements with Jesus himself to ensure the new pope would be from South America.
"We know that our commander ascended to those heights and is face-to-face with Christ," Maduro said last night on national television. "Something must have influenced [Jesus] to call for a South American pope... Some new hand arrived, and Christ said, 'Now is the opportunity for South America,' it seems to us."
Maduro continued by theorizing that Chávez would "call a constitutional assembly in Heaven at any moment to change the [Catholic] church on Earth so the people -- the pure people of Christ -- may govern the world."
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We tended to fall asleep anytime our lapsed Catholic mother dragged us to church out of guilt, so we're not all that familiar with the religion, but isn't this a little bit, uh, blasphemous? Suggesting that a political figure is so great he's literally gone up to Heaven and is giving Jesus directions is probably against some commandment or another.
Maduro is heavily invested in keeping the cult of personality of Chávez alive (at least until he wins his own election outright), but this is ridiculous.