Latin America Takes Over the Catholic Church

Former Venezuela Presidential Chief of Staff Beatrice Rangel points out the incredible influence of Latin America in the Catholic Church, as Venezuela's Arturo Sosa joins Argentina's Pope Francis in being the first non-Europeans to head the Catholics and the Jesuits.

Pope Francis is known for his outstanding strategic mind. According to people who have closely worked with the Roman Pontiff, “he sees the world as it will be and takes decisions to make the best of the incoming world.”

He apparently is seeing a fundamental shift in world affairs that is far from evident to other world leaders, opinion makers and analysts.

Indeed, the impending neo-isolationism dictated by economic forces to fully absorb the digital revolution will upgrade Latin America’s role in world affairs.

Several developments work in favor of such outcome. First, the United States is about to enter an inward-looking development stage that will focus in the Americas so as to shore up security and boost up economics.

Second, Latin America seems to be the least conflict ridden region of the world which makes it a potentially plum destination for an industrial redeployment that matches the U.S. economy’s digital transformation.

Third and perhaps much more important: the region is about to liberate itself from the development straight jacket created by Phillip II of Spain to doom its nations into being economically mercantilist and politically corporatists.

The process started with Operation Lava Jato in Brazil which established the independence of the Judiciary and continued with the peace referendum in Colombia where the sovereign stood up to the executive power forcing a revision of the agreements which severely affected the rule of law.

Next in this revival of freedom comes Venezuela which is undergoing a humanitarian crisis of major proportions that will probably become the triggering factor of a democratic revival.

And to prepare our region and the suffering land of Miranda for this renewed leading role, Pope Francis has elevated Monsignor Baltazar Porras to Cardinal in Venezuela while giving his blessing to the election of Arturo Sosa as Chief Executive Officer of the Society of Jesus.

Porras enters the center stage of Venezuela’s profound tragedy as the eventual stone upon which the Vatican will build the country’s peace.

Porras’ generosity of heart, wisdom and sense of propriety will allow the pontiff to develop a negotiated solution for the grieving nation.

The Society of Jesus is to the Catholic Church what the headlights are to cars. Jesuits are the guiding tool to battle darkness — which can be intellectual or physical. The Society of Jesus battles intellectual darkness through an iron clad schooling and training of all its members that instills in their minds an analytical method capable of detecting the smallest flaw in a line of thought or proposal.

The society battles physical darkness through raising people from poverty through preparation for work and development of self-esteem.

This was the reason behind the papal choice of the Society of Jesus as platform to execute the decisions of the Vatican II Council. Jesuit Superiors were like the order’s founder St Ignatius Loyola, the best soldiers the Church could find to address the challenge of bringing the Church to the daily lives of Catholics.

As St Ignatius put it over 500 years ago: “If our church is not marked by caring for the poor, the oppressed, the hungry, we are guilty of heresy.”

Father Pedro Arrupe, a former prisoner of war, survivor of Hiroshima and devoted social worker, served the company through that crucial period. He also initiated a tradition: giving up a life job. Father Arrupe resigned after suffering a stroke; his successors Kolvenbach and Nicolas decided to resign at age 80.

The ascent of Arturo Sosa signals the Vatican’s priorities. Sosa is rather nerdy, so he appeals to Millennials. Coming from Latin America he knows which nuts and bolts need redressing.

Having dedicated his life to teaching he will push for education. And by leading Millennials and educating the poor he could set the foundation for the transformation of the region.

Beatrice Rangel is President & CEO of the AMLA Consulting Group, which provides growth and partnership opportunities in US and Hispanic markets. AMLA identifies the best potential partner for businesses which are eager to exploit the growing buying power of the US Hispanic market and for US Corporations seeking to find investment partners in Latin America. Previously, she was Chief of Staff for Venezuela President Carlos Andres Perez as well as Chief Strategist for the Cisneros Group of Companies.

For her work throughout Latin America, Rangel has been honored with the Order of Merit of May from Argentina, the Condor of the Andes Order from Bolivia, the Bernardo O’Higgins Order by Chile, the Order of Boyaca from Colombia, and the National Order of Jose Matías Delgado from El Salvador.

Published by Latin American Herald Tribune on October 16th, 2016

Latin America Takes Over the Catholic Church