Present relations between Church and State and the Papal visit have turned unbelievably controversial. Nonetheless, for Catholics and devotees of the Virgin of la Caridad del Cobre, the arrival of the Pontiff Benedict XVI in Cuba will culminate the Jubilee Year for the 400th anniversary of the discovery of our Beloved Mother and Patroness. For 365 days, our beloved “Cachita” has made a pilgrimage throughout our country, surrounded by the faithful who came to pay tribute to a replica of her image, to ask for her grace and to reaffirm themselves in faith.
Across the years, many Cubans from different places called for the reconciliation of the Cuban State with the Catholic Church, for religious freedom, for the return of the Church’s property, the rights of parishioners to processions, the respect of pastoral and evangelic spaces, etc. And now that a climate of compromise has been established between the Cuban clergy and the authorities, a political and propagandistic bitterness has reawakened in some sectors with contradictory edgings. Which is it? Do you want reconciliation or confrontation? I really don’t understand. Now it turns out that the Marxist government, which fought, marginalized and harassed the ecclesiastic institution and its faithful — and wielded the presupposition that religion is the opiate of the masses — is now the good, that which defends her, as well as her flock. Doubtlessly, there is an interested and intelligent manipulation behind this change of roles.
The Catholic Church always has its doors open to all. We will attend the Mass that the Successor of Peter will celebrate in the Plaza of all Cubans, that although it has been militarized, it is public. It was constructed during the previous government, it is civic and in it officiated Pope John Paul II. We will go — as one must — to listen to the Liturgy of the Word and to receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist.
The Mass which will be officiated by the Vicar of Christ and Maximum Authority of the Vatican on Wednesday the 28th, will welcome Cubans who attend to join in fellowship and pay tribute to the Word of God with faith and gratitude. It doesn’t seem fair that people should have to use the establishment of a religion as an excuse to voice a claim to their rights.
Translated by: JT
March 27 2012