Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

3/9/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Hugo Chavez, the populist leader and practical dictator of Venezuela who recently succumbed to death by cancer, is joining the ranks of the ersatz incorruptibles.  He will receive the dubious honor of what the Huffington Post rather inartfully called the "'controversial embalmed corpses of leaders' club." It may be better to say that Chavez has received the dubious honor of being inducted into the "ape of the saints club."  He is one of a long line of dictators that is a member of the simia sanctorum.

Highlights

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/9/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Americas

Keywords: Hugo Chavez, ape of saints, simia sanctorum, simia Dei, Mao, Lenin, Peron, Ho Chi Minh


CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - There is a certain posthumous neurosis that tyrants or their followers seem to display, particularly those of a materialist, statist bent.  During their lives, tyrants have defied God and deified themselves.  Since God gives us freedom which we can abuse, we can defy him so long as we live.  And naturally this includes the tyrant.

But none of us--even the tyrant--can defy death and judgment.  "It is appointed for men to die once, and after this comes judgment."  (Hebrews 9:27)  This is an absolute law.  It is the great equalizer.  In death and judgment all of us stand equal before God.

Frequently, the tyrant goes beyond trying to defy God in this life.  He even tries to defy death.  Both defiances are equally in vain.

"I'm not dead, God is dead," the tyrant posthumously wants to say, though everyone that is grounded in reality knows that the opposite is the case: the tyrant is dead, and God lives.

The tyrant seeks to avoid the truth of Ash Wednesday: "Remember man, thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return."  (Gen. 3:19)

In a display of sheer vanity, in a desperate gamble to have embalming technology overcome reality, the modern tyrant--like the Pharaoh of old--seeks to hold himself out as exempt from the natural laws of corruption. 

In short, modern tyrants frequently succumb to a desperate act of self-deification, self-canonization, self-justification, and self-incorruptibility. 

While doing everything he can to preserve the body--"Yo no quiero morir, pro favor, no me dejen morir," "I don't want to die, please don't let me die," were reputedly Chavez's last words--the tyrant has forgotten he cannot do anything to preserve the soul.  The soul is something he should have taken care of before his death.

The devil, they say, is the ape of God, simia Dei.  One might say that the tyrant's effort to make himself incorrupt is an aping of sanctity.  "You will not let your holy one undergo corruption," say the Scriptures (Acts 13:35; Psalm 16:10).  The tyrant says: "I will not allow myself to undergo corruption."

We all know of saints who are incorruptible, such as St. Bernadette of Lourdes, St. John Vianney, and a host of others.  While God, for his reasons, has made their bodies incorruptible by some miracle or prodigy, the tyrant, for his reasons, seeks to pretend himself incorruptible by trick. 

The tyrant, through artificial means, seeks to ape the incorruptible, to ape the saint.  In seeking to become incorruptible, the tyrant is a simia sancti, an ape of a saint.

Despite the superficial similarity of a preserved body between an incorruptible saint and an embalmed tyrant, there is a difference as vast as an infinite chasm, as vast as the great divorce between Hell and Heaven, between the soul of the tyrant and the soul of the saint. 

All this is a predicate to the news that Hugo Chavez, the tyrannous leader of Venezuela who recently succumbed to death by cancer, is joining the ranks of the ersatz incorruptibles.  He will receive the dubious honor of what the Huffington Post rather clumsily and infelicitously called the "'controversial embalmed corpses of leaders' club."

I would say that Chavez has received the dubious honor of being inducted into the "ape of the saints club."  He is one of the elite group of dictators--those men for whom their God was power, and who view themselves as secular messiahs--that are members of the simia sanctorum club.

Other exclusive members of the simia sanctorum club include such notables as the former Soviet Union's Vladimir Lenin, China's Mao Tse Tung, the Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh, Czechoslovakia's Communist leader Gottwald, Argentina's Eva Perůn, and North Korea's Kim I-sung and Kim Jong Il. 

To get a better look at some of the members of the "ape of the saints" club, look here.

To get a better look at some of the saints that are really incorruptibles, look here.

In my view, this "ape of the saints" club is a club to avoid at any costs.  Rather than the simia sanctorum club, we ought to strive to join the club of the communion of saints, the communio sanctorum.

-----

Andrew M. Greenwell is an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas, practicing in Corpus Christi, Texas.  He is married with three children.  He maintains a blog entirely devoted to the natural law called Lex Christianorum.  You can contact Andrew at agreenwell@harris-greenwell.com.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Americas

Eight Mexican soldiers held in shooting deaths of 22 drug gang members Watch

Image of The shooting started after soldiers came under fire from the suspected gang members, resulting in a gunfight lasting several minutes, the government said.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An army officer and seven soldiers have been detained in connection with the deaths of 22 gang members in the town of Tlatlaya, in rural southern Mexico. While originally described "as a fierce gun battle," the physical evidence at the scene suggests that the ... continue reading


Paraguayan bishop accused of protecting sexually abusive priest removed by Pope Francis Watch

Image of Pope Francis dismissed a Paraguayan bishop accused of protecting a priest suspected of sexually abusing young people this week. Bishop Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano of Ciudad del Este has been relieved of his duties.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis dismissed a Paraguayan bishop accused of protecting a priest suspected of sexually abusing young people this week. Bishop Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano of Ciudad del Este has been relieved of his duties. The Vatican said Pope Francis had taken the ... continue reading


Was it really a meteorite? NASA scientists remain skeptical about Nicaraguan crater Watch

Image of A meteorite from a passing asteroid may have caused a crater in Nicaragua on the evening of September 6.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A meteorite crashed in Managua, Nicaragua, late on the evening of September 6, causing a loud explosion and leaving a crater 39 feet across, Nicaraguan government officials reported. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Nicaraguan spokeswoman Rosario Murillo said ... continue reading


These 14th century artifacts are headed back to their proper home Watch

Image of 14th century artifacts from Colombia being displayed in a Spanish museum.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Spain has returned 691 indigenous artifacts to Colombia, which were seized during a police operation 11 years ago LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Most of these ceramic items are of huge cultural and archaeological value, and date to around 1400 BC. They had been ... continue reading


Is the Islamic State - In Mexico? Officials deny 'car bombing' rumors Watch

Image of While it's nightmarishly plausible - and there have been warnings from the international community to the United States as such, the Department of Homeland Security has denied claims on from a watchdog group that the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has militants stationed in Juarez, Mexico.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While it's nightmarishly plausible - and there have been warnings from the international community to the United States as such, the Department of Homeland Security has denied claims on from a watchdog group that the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has ... continue reading


Deadly silence: 92,000 Columbians remain missing Watch

Image of Around 4,000 graves have been discovered and 5,000 bodies found, following the confessions of scores of paramilitary warlords.

By Anastasia Moloney, Thomson Reuters Foundation

More than 92,000 Colombians have disappeared during 50 years of war and at the hands of drug gangs, and the government needs to step up efforts to find missing people, the Red Cross said. (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Every day nine people are reported missing ... continue reading


GOING DIGITAL: Ecuador plans digital currency Watch

Image of Some believe that Ecuador's new digital currency will eventually lead to the nation's abandonment of paper and coin currency altogether - i.e., the United States dollar.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In a bold move into the 21st Century, the South American nation of Ecuador is now planning digital currency. Some believe this will eventually lead to the nation's abandonment of paper and coin currency altogether - i.e., the United States dollar. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


California Governor: 'You're all welcome,' even illegal immigrants Watch

Image of California Governor Jerry Brown meets with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

California Governor Jerry Brown in a speech this week declared that all Mexicans, including illegal immigrants, are welcome in California. While introducing Mexican President Enrique Pe√Īa Nieto, who said America is "the other Mexico," Brown "spoke about the ... continue reading


Argentine president may take drastic measures to deal with debt Watch

Image of Argentinian President Cristina FernŠndez praised her nation's financial system as being

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Argentinian President Cristina Fern√°ndez praised her nation's financial system as being "one of the most solid in the world" during a speech at the Buenos Aires stock exchange last week. Many disagree, saying that they fear the mercurial president may go to ... continue reading


GRISLY HARVEST: Mexican children, adults murdered for their organs Watch

Image of Victims targeted by organ harvesters usually range in age from seven to 10 years while younger children are often kidnapped for adoption.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The already rampant criminal network in Mexico and South America, in addition to dealing drugs, has taken to abducting children and adults in order to murder then and harvest their vital organs. The lucrative, underground business of livers, lungs and eyes to ... continue reading


All Americas News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Job 3:1-3, 11-17, 20-23
1 In the end it was Job who broke the silence and ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 88:2-3, 4-5, 6, 7-8
2 may my prayer reach your presence, hear my cry for ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 9:51-56
51 Now it happened that as the time drew near for him ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 30th, 2014 Image

St. Jerome
September 30: St. Jerome, who was born Eusebius Hieronymous Sophronius, was ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter