Late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez may have had a hand in Christ’s decision to opt for a Latin American pope, acting President Nicolas Maduro said on Wednesday.

“We know that our commander ascended to the heights and is face-to-face with Christ,” Maduro said at a Caracas book fair. “Something influenced the choice of a South American pope, someone new arrived at Christ’s side and said to him: ‘Well, it seems to us South America’s time has come.'”…

“He (Chavez) may also call a constitutional assembly in Heaven at any moment to change the (Catholic) church on earth so the people, the pure people of Christ, may govern the world,” Maduro added of his mentor.