In my previous post, “Recovered Celebrations,” I alluded to the concessions that the Cuban regime has granted to the Catholic church in regards to Christmas and Good Friday. Although the latter has been recognized and adopted by Catholics, it also serves as a way for many Christians throughout the world to remember Christ’s suffering on Calvary as he made his way along the Via Dolorosa to his death on the cross. I personally celebrate Christ’s birth as well as his death and resurrection in the firm belief that thee three events are a sign of our faith and, of course, of the Messiah’s mission and ministry among men.
I also believe that each concession the dictatorship makes to insure its own survival – though undoubtedly for the church they amount to “crumbs” – is a sign of its growing and progressive deterioration, and its striking inability to suppress topics that in previous decades it controlled, and over which it exercised its “absolute” and arbitrary power. In my previous article, however, I made it very clear that my real objective was specifically to show that, in other areas, Cuban leaders still refrain from addressing issues such as the opening or reopening of religious schools, or allowing radio and television programming. Nor does it address the issues of genuine freedom of assembly, freedom of religious belief, or respect for the autonomy of different religious groups by refrainng from openly and blatantly interfering in these churches’ internal affairs and manipulating the leaderships of these organizations.
The Cuban government has created a new form of penetration and manipulation – something which Pastor Mario Félix has called “the arm of death” – in which church-state relations appear to go from good to better. Granting small requests, allowing a little slack in the rope, and offering perks and privileges gives the regime a bit of the vital oxygen it needs to survive. As I have said, it guarantees a more comfortable control over the church. Thus, the construction and repair of sanctuaries, permits to build new churches, facilities for the acquisition of means of transport, exit permits for church leaders and special visas for foreigners as well as other tactics are part of a “respectful blackmail” in which governmental power is exercised over ecclesiastical power. This fateful embrace favors the dictators and tarnishes the image of Christ in the haggard face of the Cuban Church.
I am sure that these celebrations, which the religious public can once again enjoy, are, I repeat, a sign of the the current weakness of the regime, and not of its understanding and affection for Christianity. It felt obliged to make concessions, which themselves required a high degree of appeasement and obsequiousness on the part of the country’s Catholic hierarchy. We saw this quite clearly in the unfortunate remarks by Cardinal Jaime Ortega during his trip to the United States in reference to the dissidents who occupied churches in the days prior to the visit by Pope Benedict XVI. The cardinal made use of the petty, offensive and always dismissive language of the regime. This made me think that perhaps he had recently been receiving lessons and had become an enthusiastic student. Such is the price of holidays.
I only hope that the true church, the authentic flock recognized by the Good Shepherd, flees from the clutches feigning an embrace in order to choke her to death. We must begin to relinquish all material and worldly interests, and enunciate the truth in our daily discourse, denouncing the sad state of Cuban reality, without ambiguity or artifice. We must call out by name the sin of those who have misgoverned us for many decades now. We must also denounce “the great whores” who sit beside the powerful of this world (and country) and trade their divine legacy for the superfluous profits of this life. The pact between the country’s tyrannical monarchs and their new sychophants will not endure because God will not allow any malignant force to continue adversely affecting and subjugating our nation, and especially its children. This I declare without any fear and with complete certainty.
Translated by: Hank Hardisty and Anonymous
April 27 2012