The Socialist Party of Venezuela, the ruling political party of the late President Hugo Chávez, has now stirred up opposition from the Catholic Church after one of the speakers at a party congress on Monday delivered an altered version of the venerated Lord's Prayer of Christianity — with the words changed to pray to Chávez.
"Our Chavez who art in heaven, the earth, the sea and in us delegates," red-shirted delegate Maria Estrella Uribe read in front of a vast image of the former president, "Lead us not into the temptation of capitalism, deliver us from the evil of the oligarchy, like the crime of contraband, because ours is the homeland, the peace and life — forever and ever. Amen. Viva Chavez!" she exclaimed to applause. [Reuters]
"Just as no one would be allowed to change the words of the national anthem to honor a person, so too is it illicit to change the 'Lord's Prayer'," said a new statement Wednesday from the Catholic Church, which also added: "He who recites this new and wrongful version of the Lord's Prayer is committing the sin of idolatry."
Earlier this year, the Socialist Party declared Chávez the organization's "eternal president." Chávez died in March 2013, after governing Venezuela for the previous 14 years.