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 Perón, 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 August 2014
Refugees:
That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
Oceania: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.



Comments


More Americas

The new favorite weapon of the drug cartels has arrived in America -- and it will shock you Watch

Image of Mexican soldiers with hundreds of bricks of marijuana, which is about to be burned.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Mexican drug cartels are utilizing a deadly military weapon to keep local residents in terror and protect drug stockpiles. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Authorities on either side of the U.S.-Mexico border say that the cartels are using the grenades. Four live ... continue reading


THREE DEAD: relatives of Pope Francis die in traffic accident in Argentina Watch

Image of According to newspaper accounts, the 38-year-old nephew of the Pope was driving the family's Chevrolet when he collided with an agricultural truck bearing corn in Cordoba.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Three members of Pope Francis' extended family, including two young grand-nephews, have died in a traffic accident. The Pope's nephew, Horacio Bergoglio Emanuel was critically injured in crash. Emanuel's wife, Valeria Carmona, and their two children, ... continue reading


Priest jailed in El Salvador for gang rehabilitation! Watch

Image of Father Antonio Rodriguez a Spanish Passionist also known as Padre Tono, was arrested for bringing cell phones to gang members held inside prison.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Father Antonio Rodriguez, a Spanish Passionist, will remain in jail after a judge in El Salvador ruled that he was guilty of various crimes regarding gang activities. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Rodriguez, also known as Padre Tono, is well known for ... continue reading


Elderly priest, suspended for involvement in Nicaraguan revolution, reinstated by Pope Watch

Image of Father Miguel D'Escoto's involvement in Nicaraguan politics ran counter to the church ban on clergy holding government positions. He was suspended by Pope John Paul II in 1985.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Father Miguel D'Escoto, 29 years after he was suspended from priestly duties for his involvement in Nicaragua's revolutionary government in the Seventies has been reinstated by Pope Francis. The 81-year-old priest had sent a written request to the Vatican that ... continue reading


Honduran Cardinal gives Israel, Hamas advice - which he himself should follow Watch

Image of Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga has offered advice to the Middle East, that he himself should apply to his home nation of Honduras.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, the president of Caritas Internationalis has suggested that Israeli and Hamas leaders pick up a pair of binoculars so they could see that "most of your victims are innocent people." As we shall see, ... continue reading


Vatican suspends ordinations in Paraguay diocese after accusations of sexual misconduct Watch

Image of The accused priest, Father Carlos Urrotigoity -- who is identified by the Scranton, Pennsylvania diocese as a

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Following allegations of sexual misconduct on the part of a priest, the Vatican has suspended ordinations at a Paraguay archdiocese pending an investigation. A priest at the Diocese of Ciudad del Este, Paraguay had been previously deemed a "serious threat to ... continue reading


PROTECTING THE PAST: Peru resorts to drones to save archaeological treasures Watch

Image of Home to the spectacular Inca city of Machu Picchu as well as thousands of ancient ruins, Peruvian archaeologists are working around the clock to protect sites from squatters, builders and miners.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A culture is worth nothing if it doesn't preserve its past. To this end, the South American nation of Peru has now resorted to unmanned drones to protect its many archaeological sites. Home to the spectacular Inca city of Machu Picchu as well as thousands of ... continue reading


Would you know if a tiger was in your home? Watch

Image of A tiger was found in a cage in a room of an abandoned house by Mexican authorities. The tiger has been moved to a local zoo while police conduct an investigation.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Bengal tiger was found by Mexican police officer in an abandoned house after they  received an anonymous tip from a member of the public. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The property was located in the municipality of Chilapa de Alvarez, in the state of ... continue reading


CHILD LABOR HORROR: Ten-year-old children can now be put to work in Bolivia Watch

Image of Ten-year-olds will be able to work as long as they are under parental supervision and also attend school. Twelve is now the minimum age for a child to work under contract. Those children would also have to attend school.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Long a blight of many civilized nations, the South American nation of Bolivia has become the first nation to legalize child labor for children as young as 10 years old. Congress approved the legislation early this month, and Vice President Alvaro Garcia signed ... continue reading


Watch out America! China invades South America with epic trade deal Watch

Image of Brazil is one of the countries that is seeing a massive economic boom, and has made major deals with China in the last few years.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

China is expanding its trade partnership with Brazil, with a $7.5 billion financing agreement with Brazilian miner Vale, the purchase of 60 passenger jets from Brazilian plane maker Embraer, and renewed commitment to invest in Brazil's infrastructure. LOS ... 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, Ezekiel 34:1-11
1 The word of Yahweh was addressed to me as ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 23:1-3, 3-4, 5, 6
1 [Psalm Of David] Yahweh is my shepherd, I lack ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 20:1-16
1 'Now the kingdom of Heaven is like a landowner ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 20th, 2014 Image

St. Bernard of Clairvaux
August 20: St. Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church St. Bernard was born ... 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