Chavez rethinks relations with Vatican

Chavez rethinks relations with Vatican

President Hugo Chavez said Venezuela is to rethink its relations with the Vatican as tensions rise between his government and Catholic Church representatives accusing the socialist leader of becoming increasingly authoritarian.

Mr Chavez instructed his foreign minister to "examine" relations with the Vatican.

Without elaborating, the president questioned an agreement giving the Catholic Church special privileges that are not extended to other religious organisations in Venezuela.

Mr Chavez also challenged the authority of Pope Benedict XVI, saying the Pope "isn't God's emissary on Earth".

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