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Pope makes surprising claim on canonisation of Venezuelan doctor

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The new ambassador of Venezuela presented his credentials to Pope Francis on 1 May along with a statue of Blessed Jose Gregoria Hernandez; a Venezuelan doctor, professor and philanthropist who died in 1919.

Already considered a saint in the country, Pope Francis surprised the new ambassador by declaring that “we will canonise him,” a statement no one was expecting at that moment. This would make Blessed Jose the country’s first declared saint.

Despite this friendly and encouraging encounter, relations between the Vatican and Venezuela are delicate.

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In 2016, the Vatican mediated between the Venezuelan government and the opposition, but the meetings were unsuccessful.

Since then, Pope Francis has occasionally intervened to call for peace in the country riddled with instability and violence.

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