Maduro, Venezuelan Catholic Church Dispute “Chavista” Version of “The Lord’s Prayer”

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and the Venezuelan Catholic Church have conflicted over the text of a poem which bishops claim amounts to a chavista version of “The Lord’s Prayer.”

By Sascha Bercovitch
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The figure of Chavez is surrounded by spiritual imagery in Venezuela (Terra.com.ve)
The figure of Chavez is surrounded by spiritual imagery in Venezuela (Terra.com.ve)

Caracas, September 5th 2014 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and the Venezuelan Catholic Church have conflicted over the text of a poem which bishops claim amounts to a chavista version of “The Lord’s Prayer.” 

The poem, “Chávez Nuestro,” or “Our Chávez,” was written by poet William Osuna, a former winner of Venezuela’s National Literature Prize, and recited publicly on Monday by United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) delegate María Estrella Uribe during a party workshop on system design training.

“Our Chávez, who art in heaven and earth, in the sea and within us ... hallowed be thy name,” Uribe read. “Thy legacy come to guide the people within these lands and afar. Give us your light to guide us every day, do not let us fall to the temptation of capitalism, deliver us from the evils of the oligarchy, like the crime of contraband, because from all of us comes our homeland, peace, and life. Forever and ever, amen. Viva Chávez.”

The bishops of the Venezuelan Catholic Church criticized the display shortly after, noting in a statement that “Catholic symbols, prayers, and religious elements should be respected.”

“Just as no one would be allowed to change the words to our national anthem to honor a certain individual, no one is permitted to change The Lord's Prayer or any other Christian prayer,” the statement read.

During a televised event on Thursday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro characterized the bishops’ comments as “a kind of new, vulgar inquisition.”

“Some of these bishops have spoken as owners of an inquisitorial truth,¨ he said.

¨The new inquisition has come to massacre this poor woman and say that she basically committed a sin, when she is a humble woman,¨ added the head of state.  

Maduro pointed out that the poem followed the tradition of Guatemalan writer Miguel Ángel Asturias and Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, whose poems in honor of Venezuelan independence hero Simón Bolívar invoked “The Lord’s Prayer.”