The Bishop of Argentina and his wife were the victims of a gang of home invaders last Sunday. The Rt. Rev. Greg Venables reports that as he and his wife, Sylvia, returned home from church on 25 May 2014 they surprised a gang robbing their house.
Bishop Venables reports that he was beaten by the thieves and his wife was bound, but both came through the ordeal. Writing on Facebook, Bishop Venables said:
“Just to share what happened…we arrived home from church on Sunday afternoon and disturbed thieves in the house. They beat and tied me up but didn’t hurt Sylvia. Having spent an hour ransacking the house and removing everything of value they left. It could have been much worse and God’s presence was unmistakable and tangible to us, to them and to the multitude of police who came afterwards. Sylvia was magnificent as those who know her can imagine. Thanks for your prayers.”
According to the Organization of American States (OAS), Argentina has the highest rate of theft in South America, with a robbery rate of 973 per 100,000, while the average for the continent was 456 per 100,000.
In its advisory for travelers the Bureau of Diplomatic Security for the U.S. State Department notes that home invasions have risen in Buenos Aires in recent years, experts believe, due to the country’s unstable banking system. Many home-invasion gangs seek the hoard of cash many Argentines are thought to keep in their homes, the report said, as a result of government controls on cash withdrawals and limits on foreign currency.
In a note to friends published on 28 May 2014, Bishop Venables, the former prime bishop of the Church of the Province of the Southern Cone noted their spirits remained strong. “Sylvia is fine, I am bruised, battered but better than ever. God is good.”