Cuba’s suffering Catholics ignored as Obama, Francis support totalitarian regime August 18, 2015Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Basics, disaster, episcopate, error, General Catholic, Holy suffering, horror, martyrdom, Papa, persecution, pr stunts, scandals, secularism, self-serving, Society, the struggle for the Church.
There is a great deal of breathless coverage in the media over the normalization of relations between the despotic, authoritarian regime and the communist government of Cuba. Progressives are beside themselves with glee that one of their favorite countries in the world, which is coincidentally one of the few remaining one-party ruled communist states, is now going to be open for travel and trade. The Vatican played a significant role in this process under Pope Francis, and Pope Francis is set to visit Cuba shortly. Even Raul Castro himself has proclaimed that Pope Francis is his kind of guy.
Overlooked in all this giddy display is the plight of Cuba’s Catholics, who remain as ostracized, persecuted, and maligned by the communist party as ever. They, and all those who oppose the Castroite regime, will be the ones who pay the largest price for this normalization in relations, which will have the primary effect of providing the money needed to keep the current regime in power for many years into the future, just as we’ve seen occur with normalization of relations with China and Vietnam (my emphasis and comments):
Secretary of State John Kerry’s historic flag-raising at the U.S. Embassy in Havana on Friday culminates a diplomatic accomplishment for the Obama administration and Pope Francis. But the ceremony has some irony, not all that unlikePresident George W. Bush’s 2003 “Mission Accomplished” speech.
The island’s dissidents weren’t invited, and the pontiff who helped usher in the new relations might have been expected to side with Cuba’s persecuted faithful. But when asked about Cuba’s spotty record, Francis demurred. “I would say that in many countries of the world, human rights are not respected,” he said during a July in-flight news conference. “Religious liberty is not a reality in the entire world; there are many countries that do not allow it.” [But should the Church reward regimes founded on hatred of the Church and the most vile persecution of Catholics? Should the Church be involved in diplomatic shenanigans that have the effect of helping to keep that regime in power? In a different time, the Church had leaders that would have said unequivocally NO, we do not support this regime, we oppose it, and we support the poor suffering Catholics who groan under its heavy yoke]
……..But some in Castro’s Cuba aren’t buying it. “It is a mockery for Raul Castro tell the pope that he may return to the bosom of the church and pray again,” Berta Soler told Spanish radio. Soler is the leader of the Ladies in White, a Catholic opposition movement made up of relatives of jailed human rights activists who attend Mass and silently take to the streets while wearing white.
Soler’s skepticism might have something to do with Castro’s security goons, who continue to harass and detain the Ladies and other dissidents. Just days before Kerry’s visit, the government rounded up about 50 of Soler’s Ladies. The detentions are only “further proof of the Cuban government’s intolerance towards people who think differently,” Soler told the PanAm Post.
But Castro’s crackdown seems to be more about religious freedom than the ballot box. “Many times, we haven’t been able to get to church,” Soler told the National Review at this year’s Oslo Freedom Forum. “The few who actually do make it to church have been detained for over five hours. They have been beaten.” This might be why Soler is more than a little frustrated with her spiritual shepherd. “The European Union, the USA, Pope Francis — they have turned their backs on us,” she said. [It’s “ostpolitik” all over again. Recall how Cardinal Mindseintzy and other heroic Catholics were thrown under the bus in the service of Paul VI’s ill-advised and ultimately destructive detente with communist regimes in Eastern Europe. It took a much different Pope to call those regimes out for their barbarity and inhuman behavior, a policy that many feel contributed directly to their sudden demise. Now several Eastern European states boast the most visibly Catholic governments in the world (which may be far from ideal, yet, but the turnaround has been amazing). Thus the fruit of cooperation with Grace and standing, at least in one area, in defense of the Faith. Apparently Cuba’s long-suffering Catholics won’t get the benefit of the fruits of stalwart promotion of the Faith and calling a spade a spade]
………Pope Francis should at least say something about the lack of freedom in Cuba, and in so doing, minister to Cuba’s dwindling faithful. That Univision survey found that only 27% of Cubans are Catholic, and only a fraction attends Mass regularly. [Of course, because Catholics have been savagely mistreated for decades. They have also endured a lifetime of Church-bashing communist propaganda.]
As for Raul Castro, he vows to attend “all” the pope’s planned Masses in Cuba. But because papal diplomacy hasn’t worked out too well for Cubans, Francis could exercise some spiritual leadership and deny Castro communion at Mass in the same way Castro denies freedom for the people of Cuba.
Excuse my cynicism, but barring a totally unexpected miracle, that’s not going to happen. I hope Pope Francis might decry Cuba’s persecution of the Church but I tend to doubt that will happen, either. If his South American trip is any indication, Pope Francis will shower lauds on the government and speak endlessly, if vaguely, about the plight of the poor. The irony is, nothing enriches a narrow connected elite more, nor mires more people in grinding poverty, than socialism. Papal support for socialism – excoriated by so many previous pontiffs! – is the apotheosis of preferring image and rhetoric to reality, is it not?