14ymedio, Mario Penton, Miami | Junio 12, 2018 — The Conference of Catholic Bishops of Cuba (COCC) sent a private message to recently appointed president Miguel Díaz-Canel “in support of the eminent national service he had assumed,” as confirmed by the president of the Episcopal Conference, Emilio Aranguren, to 14ymedio.
“I sent him a simple epistolary greeting expressing good wishes in support of the eminent national service that he had assumed and I included a quote from the Pope’s speech in Cesena on October 1, 2017 in which he alludes to good politics,” explained the Bishop of the Diocese of Holguín.
In Cesna, Pope Francis defined good politics as “neither servant nor patron, but friend and collaborator, neither fearful or reckless, but responsible and therefore courageous and prudent at the same time.”
Francis also emphasized the need to increase the participation of people, “their inclusion and progressive participation” in the search for the good of the entire community.
“A politics that can harmonize the legitimate aspirations of individuals and groups keeping the rudder firmly in the interest of all citizens,” the Pope added.
The Cuban bishops, including the first black prelate in the history of Cuba, entrusted the new Government to the Virgin of Charity, the image of Mary that Catholics venerate as the patroness of Cuba. Aranguren said that the new president responded to the gesture with a brief message in which he showed his appreciation for the communication received.
As part of an Extraordinary Assembly of the COCC, the official site of the Catholic Church on the island, Aranguren revealed the established communication with the new government, which caused speculation on the sites of the independent Cuban press.
The Catholic Church has traditionally had the largest number of faithful in the country. According to data from the Pontifical Yearbook, more than half of Cubans are baptized under Catholic rites, although participation in Sunday services is relatively small.
The Cuban bishops have, in the past, issued numerous criticisms of the Government. With the turn towards the Soviet Union and the implantation of Marxism-Leninism as an official ideology, the Church hardened its discourse in favor of individual liberties. In 1993 the pastoral letter Love Hopes All Things — in which the Cuban clergy denounced the difficult conditions in which the people lived and the harassment of State Security — provoked an angry reaction from the government, which carried out massive demonstrations against the Church.
In 2013 the bishops published Hope Does Not Disappoint, a critical and hopeful look at the national reality, in which they recommended, among other things, replacing the paternalist state with a participatory one and creating a new political order with the participation of all the actors of society and promoting the creative potential of the country.
The 14ymedio team is committed to serious journalism that reflects the reality of deep Cuba. Thank you for joining us on this long road. We invite you to continue supporting us, but this time by becoming a member of 14ymedio. Together we can continue to transform journalism in Cuba.