Holy See Secretary For The Relations With States Archbishop Paul Gallagher Pleas With Pope Francis Not To Send Him To "That Shit Hole" Caracas

CARACAS, Venezuela — A planned visit to Venezuela by the Vatican's foreign minister was called off Thursday amid mounting tensions between the country's government and the political opposition. The Vatican Embassy in Caracas said the cancellation of Archbishop Paul Gallagher's trip was not decided by the Holy See. That implied Venezuela may have asked that he not come. The papal spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, had stressed in recent days that the purpose of the May 24-29 trip was to participate in the consecration of a Venezuelan bishop recently named the Vatican's ambassador to the Congo. But the visit had taken on greater diplomatic weight amid speculation that Gallagher could play a role in defusing an increasingly turbulent political crisis as the opposition seeks to oust President Nicolas Maduro. NYT