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realclearworld

Let Peter weep

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Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.” And he broke down and wept. Mark 14:72

When Jesus chose Peter as his chief apostle, he knew he was delegating his authority to a very weak, and very flawed man. Peter was impulsive, inconstant, given to cowardice, and – by his own description – quite a sinner. Yet Jesus, the all-knowing Son of God, chose him over all the others.

And Peter's denial of Jesus just before the crucifixion was not the end of his constant screw-ups. He tried to lie to the apostle Paul, in regard to his opinion on keeping Kosher, and even tried to cover his tracks about having lied (Galatians 2:11). Up until the end he kept screwing up, and those around him kept recording his faults. Legend has it that when Nero began his persecution of the Christians in Rome, Peter headed straight out of town, and would have kept going if the risen Jesus had not bumped into him and asked “quo vadis?”, hey, where are you going?  But legend also has it that he came to his senses, returned to Rome, and was crucified upside down on the Vatican hill.

Every pope after him screwed up in various ways. Three examples should be enough.

Pope Honorius I (625 -638) agreed with the monophysite heretics in a private letter, and his remains were later dug up and thrown into the Tiber River.

Pope Alexander VI (1492-1503) had several mistresses and fathered a brood of ruthless illegitimate children, one of whom – Cesare Borgia -- was not only made bishop at the age of 15 and cardinal at the age of 18, but actually went on to become a formidable back-stabbing warrior, and the inspiration for Machiavelli’s book The Prince, the ultimate how-to manual for unprincipled tyrants.  As if this were not enough, he also inspired the lurid and dreadful Showtime television series, "The Borgias."

In 1517, when Pope Leo X first heard of an Augustinian monk in Saxony named Martin Luther who had angered a Dominican preacher by challenging the legitimacy of indulgences, he dismissed all the fuss as nothing more than another “monkish squabble” between religious orders. Of course, we all know what happened next: the Protestant Reformation.

What are we to make of this, those of us who are Catholics? And those who are not?

The First Vatican Council proclaimed in 1871 that the successors of Peter are infallible in questions of faith and doctrine, that is, they are incapable of leading the faithful astray when it comes to their salvation. But it said nothing about the pope’s private life and his behavior concerning earthly matters.

Up until today, all of this had been a very abstract issue for me. Yes, I knew all this, and have studied it and taught my students about it ad nauseam, but I had never been affected by a papal failure of character until today.

Today reminded me of Good Friday. It felt like it, more than any Good Friday in recent memory. There was an abject despondency in the air, an oppressive grief beyond words. A crucifixion, multiplied eleven million times.

Today His Holiness Benedict XVI disowned Christ in Cuba. Today, he averted his eyes from the eleven million crucified Cubans in his midst, as he celebrated the holy sacrifice of the Eucharist. Today, he chose not to speak for the crucified, or to chasten their tormentors. Instead, he spent his time criticizing the so-called embargo, blessing the tyrants, and preaching a platitudinous sermon written for the theological faculty at the University of Regensburg rather than for the Cuban people.

And his subaltern, Cardinal Jaime Ortega y Alamino, archbishop of Havana, beamed with satisfaction at the abject submission of Church to state.

I am saddened, yes, as are many other Cubans. I wept today. I am beyond sad: today has been one of the blackest days for me in a long time. The clouds hung low. At one point the sun was blotted out. I could not help but see eleven million crosses, with bodies writhing on them, stretched from one end of Cuba to the other. But I am not broken. Nor is my faith shaken. God works in mysterious ways. The Vicar of Jesus Christ on earth, Pope Benedict XVI has betrayed Cuba. So what? Aside from questions of faith and doctrine, he is as fallible as all of us are, and as prone to moral failure. And as a Catholic, it is my duty to pray for him.

I am angry too, yes. Mad as hell. I am angry at the old man, Joseph Ratzinger, and at the subalterns who advised him and made excuses for him.  But popes have screwed up before, and will continue screwing up. And it isn’t up to any pope, or cardinal, or any foreign power to free Cuba from its tyrants. It is up to us, and to us alone, whether there or in exile.

His Holiness Benedict XVI did all Cubans a great favor today, when you look at his behavior from a certain perspective. He showed us that we cannot depend on anyone to help us.

Forget the pope. Let Peter weep, when he comes to his senses. Weeping is not for us, nor is whining. Forget any power on earth. Forget the differences between Catholics and non-Catholics. Forget heaven above, forget hell below . Cuba is hell on earth, our hell. Our task is to fight the tyrants and those who set up the eleven million crosses. Our role is to stand up to the tyrants and the henchmen who set up the crosses, wherever we are, and to remind the world constantly of their crimes against humanity.

Eventually, we shall overcome. Yes, we will.

But first, we have to realize where we are, and what the hour demands of us. Right now, for every Cuban, everywhere, there is but one question to answer: “quo vadis?”

81 comments to Let Peter weep

  • joelima

    Beautifully said, Professor.

  • FreedomForCuba

    Indeed Dr. Eire, very beautifully stated...

    George,

    I cannot cry, I sensed all this coming and was prepared for it (I think most of us here at Babalu did).

    My problems is that I just don’t know what is going to take for the Cuban people to finally rise and demand their freedom from the Castro tyranny.

    I just wonder when the Lord Jesus (through the interception of his mother, the Patron Saint of Cuba, La Virge de la Caridad del Cobre) will hear our prayers and help the Cuban people become free.

    I sincerely just don’t know right now . All I see is darkness and evil and people that should be representing Jesus are instead represent Lucifer.

    This is a very bizarre act in the theater of the absurd...

  • bronx52

    Thank you Carlos for your words, this prayer. I am commanded to seek justice. I will never quit. Zelde

  • rra

    Thank you for the benefit of your learned reflection, so articulately and movingly expressed.
    I especially admire your finding and sharing a path to reconcile your deep faith with the painful sadness and rage that a person of any sensibility experiences faced with this grotesque moral failure of these so visibly fallible clergymen.

  • Honey

    And he is so funny!
    "hey, where are you going?"
    And 'As if this were not enough, he also inspired the lurid and dreadful Showtime television series, "The Borgias."'

    Wonderful. Too bad the pope wasn't.

  • EdelaPezuela

    Beautifully said Carlos. Thank you for your spot on review.

  • [...] 03/29: Carlos Eire gets it – excerpt below – see the entire blog post [click here] at Babalublog: Today His Holiness Benedict XVI disowned Christ in Cuba. Today, he averted his eyes [...]

  • Somebody get this over to Jack Fowler at NRO...HONEY?!...are you out there?!

  • [...] Humberto Fontova: Somebody get this over to Jack Fowler at NRO…HONEY?!…are you out there?! [...]

  • Honey

    (I miss the thing babalu used to do that when someone left a comment to a post, we were notified by e-mail.)

    Rest assured Humberto, I sent this one to Mr. Fowler as soon as I read it. NR is very crowded and these days, as you can imagine, more than ever. So whether he gets the chance to have it placed online or not, at least he has seen it.

    The Carlos Eire article about the proposed Che monument in Ireland was placed online at NR because Jack Fowler saw it. He wrote to tell me that he saw it on babalu and he was able to arrange for it to appear there.
    It may interest babaluers to know that the posting of the professor's Ireland article last time I looked got over fifty comments.

    National Review is a friend of freedom. It already had Jay Nordlinger's wonderful Imprompus. And now we have more friends there. Kudos to NR.

  • pototo

    Carlos,

    When many assume that the Lord put Peter in charge it would serve them well to look at the words of the Lord in the original languages. Nowhere does the Lord convey any superiority to Peter and certainly not infallibility as we see in Gal. 2:11 when Paul "withstood" Peter to his face because "he was to be blamed".

    Sadly the RCC has put Church tradition over God's Word.

    When the Lord said "thou art Peter" there is a change of words used between Peter and Rock where one denotes a little rock in "petros" versus the "rock" which was the confession of what Peter said which is "petra."

    There is no greater danger to one's faith when it is built on man's ideas versus God's Word.

  • Carlos Eire

    Dear Pototo, and everyone:

    You are correct, Pototo. The charge given to Peter has been a disputed question for twenty centuries.

    I was not arguing for a specific theological or exegetical point, or defending the Catholic interpretation. I was merely describing the Catholic position, as a Catholic voice. It was a rhetorical strategy, speaking from within to critique from within. I am Catholic, after all.

    As a historian of the Protestant Reformation I'm painfully aware of the differences in interpretation among all the Christian churches, including the Orthodox, who also reject the Catholic position on Peter. The distinction you make between "man's ideas" and "God's Word" is the bedrock upon which all Protestant churches are built.

    I didn't mean to offend. Sorry if I did.

    Carlos

  • David Sandoval

    Beautifully written, Dr. Eire.

  • Tati

    Thank you Dr. Eire - just beautiful.

  • pototo

    Carlos,

    No offense. My zeal for the Lord at times fires me up. Especially when the RCC pulls what they just pulled in Cuba. No offense taken or meant.

  • asombra

    As I've said here repeatedly, it's VERY important that Cubans stop depending on the kindness of strangers. The world, meaning the part of it that at least pretends to take freedom and justice seriously, has had over half a century to do right by us, and for all practical purposes, it not only hasn't done it but has done the opposite. That won't change. Notice I said "to do right by us," not to do our own job for us. Our job is OUR responsibility, and if we don't do it, we have to accept the consequences. Nobody is being asked, let alone required, to be a superhero or a martyr, neither in Cuba nor elsewhere. Everybody has issues, problems and limitations, but every Cuban can do SOMETHING, however small. Every Cuban should do what he or she can to further the cause of Cuba's freedom and recovery, or at the very least, should NOT do what impedes that. It's way past time to act like we mean business. Castro, Inc. has always meant it, and that's one big reason why it's still in it.

  • [...] Let Peter weep, Today His Holiness Benedict XVI disowned Christ in Cuba. Today, he averted his eyes from the eleven million crucified Cubans in his midst, as he celebrated the holy sacrifice of the Eucharist. Today, he chose not to speak for the crucified, or to chasten their tormentors. Instead, he spent his time criticizing the so-called embargo, blessing the tyrants, and preaching a platitudinous sermon written for the theological faculty at the University of Regensburg rather than for the Cuban people. [...]

  • I am afraid I cannot agree with you on this. There is more here than you would appear to think.

    If you look at the Vatican's policies over the last few years, the last few decades, the last century or two at least, one thing is fairly consistent: they almost always avoid criticizing specific political leaders.

    A friend of mine I'm chatting with now about this makes a potent observation: "[A]s memory serves, didn't John Paul II help to bring down Communism without having preached against it when he held mass in Communist Poland?" I believe that more than that, he never once criticized the Soviet Union, or Communism by name, or any Polish or Soviet leader. He merely stood for the values the Church itself stands for: freedom of conscience and the rights of all individuals, and freedom in Christ. Those rights just happen to run smack up against Communist ideology and won't budge before them.

    You wished Benedict to criticize Castro in particular? He would not, any more than the Bishops in America would deny Teddy Kenedy a Catholic funeral despite is lifetime pro-abortion stance. Remember, there is no sin that is unforgivable in Catholic theology, no one beyond redemption--not even Fidel or Raul. That may not be a popular view here, but it -is- Catholic teaching.

    "Hate the sin, not the sinner" isn't just a slogan.

    Furthermore, the scriptures are very clear that Christians are to obey those set in government authority above them, even if they are pagan or otherwise unbelieving governing authorities--except when those authorities demand they do things that go directly against Christian teaching. But even then to resist with humility, and nonviolently, whenever possible.

    Here I quote Benedict in his homily to the Cubans, whose quiet words are, in their simple truth, a devastating rebuke to the Castro regime that needs no underscoring:

    In today’s first reading [from Deuteronomy], the three young men persecuted by the Babylonian king preferred to face death by fire rather than betray their conscience and their faith. They experienced the strength to “give thanks, glorify and praise God” in the conviction that the Lord of the universe and of history would not abandon them to death and annihilation. Truly, God never abandons his children, he never forgets them. He is above us and is able to save us by his power. At the same time, he is near to his people, and through his Son Jesus Christ he has wished to make his dwelling place among us in.

    “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (Jn 8:31). In this text from today’s Gospel, Jesus reveals himself as the Son of God the Father, the Saviour, the one who alone can show us the truth and give genuine freedom. His teaching provokes resistance and disquiet among his hearers, and he accuses them of seeking to kill him, alluding to the supreme sacrifice of the Cross, already imminent. Even so, he exhorts them to believe, to keep his word, so as to know the truth which redeems and dignifies.

    The truth is a desire of the human person, the search for which always supposes the exercise of authentic freedom. Many, however, prefer shortcuts, trying to avoid this task. Some, like Pontius Pilate, ironically question the possibility of even knowing what truth is (cf. Jn 18:38), proclaiming that man is incapable of knowing it or denying that there exists a truth valid for all. This attitude, as in the case of skepticism and relativism, changes hearts, making them cold, wavering, distant from others and closed. They, like the Roman governor, wash their hands and let the water of history drain away without taking a stand.

    On the other hand, there are those who wrongly interpret this search for the truth, leading them to irrationality and fanaticism; they close themselves up in “their truth”, and try to impose it on others. These are like the blind scribes who, upon seeing Jesus beaten and bloody, cry out furiously, “Crucify him!” (cf. Jn 19:6). Anyone who acts irrationally cannot become a disciple of Jesus. Faith and reason are necessary and complementary in the pursuit of truth. God created man with an innate vocation to the truth and he gave him reason for this purpose. Certainly, it is not irrationality but rather the yearning for truth which the Christian faith promotes. Each human being has to seek the truth and to choose it when he or she finds it, even at the risk of embracing sacrifices.

    The Church lives to make others sharers in the one thing she possesses, which is none other than Christ, our hope of glory (cf. Col 1:27). To carry out this duty, she must count on basic religious freedom, which consists in her being able to proclaim and to celebrate her faith also in public, bringing to others the message of love, reconciliation and peace which Jesus brought to the world. It must be said with joy that in Cuba steps have been taken to enable the Church to carry out her essential mission of expressing her faith openly and publicly. Nonetheless, this must continue forwards, and I wish to encourage the country’s Government authorities to strengthen what has already been achieved and advance along this path of genuine service to the true good of Cuban society as a whole.

    There is no need to "read between the lines" to find a "hidden message." It is there in plain sight. Christians in Cuba, despite their persecution, are not abandoned by God, and all must and should acknowledge basic human freedom. These teachings are not compatible with the Castro regime, and if people are allowed to embrace them, and to say them aloud without fear, the regime cannot stand much longer.

    In the way of humility, meekness, an nonviolence that are the default requirement for all Christians except in the most extraordinary circumstances, the Pope delivered a quiet and devastating blow to the regime, and the more the regime allows things like this to be said openly, the more it weakens itself.

    If you were looking for a Pope to spout angry denunciations, you're in the wrong Church. Not only would he have not been invited in the first place, but likely Christians there would be persecuted all the more anyway.

    Allowing plain truth to be spoken, quietly but firmly, is more revolutionary for Cubans in Cuba than any angry denunciation could be.

  • pototo

    Deanesmay,

    I beg to differ on something you said regarding authority. We are to obey earthly authority as long as it does not conflict with God's.

    Ac 5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

    As for Criticizing the pope....even if a Catholic were to buy into him being the head of their church....

    I Tim. 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. 20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. 21 I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.

    As the pope's spokesperson said they were guests of Cuba. They were not invited as secular guests, but as religious guests who would have religious opinions on matters.
    They chose to be political guests.

  • Dr. Eire's sadness and helplessness echoed my feelings last night. Thank you, Dr. Eire for expressing it so beautifully.

    Dean's comment at 1:00 PM nailed the whole thing right on the head, and stated pretty much exactly what I tried to convey in my post last night and in earlier comments on this blog. Especially the ending, the part below the Pope Benedict "snip". Thank you, Dean.

  • pototo

    Dean,
    Would you then say that the pope was in error for mentioning the embargo as it is "political" in nature?

  • [...] in my long post last night as well as in comments left at Babalu Blog. Dean’s comments to Dr. Carlos Eire’s solid and thoughtful post bears repeating here in its entirety (emphasis mine): I am afraid I cannot agree with you on this. [...]

  • Dean,

    You know I love ya, Blogfather, but on this I must respectfully disagree. Ill put it plainly, and concisely:

    the Pope had ample time to meet with fidel castro, raul castro and hugo chavez and offer them his blessing. Fine. the Pope also made the standard platitudes about communism. fine. yet he also took the time to criticize the embargo. Why? what does that have to do with faith? and, by the same token, if he's going to criticize US policy so specifically, why not criticize Cuba's as well? Why not specifically criticize the regimes abysmal human rights record? Why not criticize the regime's most recent actions against dissident just prior to his arrival? Why not criticize the incarceration of those dissidents so that they could not attend his mass? Why not criticize the regime for their treatment of the Ladies in White? Why not insist that the regime allow him to visit with the Ladies in White, whom, for being a small group, are more religious and have more faith than those in the entire island combined? For 8 years, these women have been harassed and beaten every single Sunday for their peaceful marches to CHURCH. Laura Pollan, their leader, was assassinated by the regime. What kind of a message does that send to those who have faith, who believe that God created them equal and whom risk their all not just for themselves, but for their fellow Cubans and have the courage to stand up for what is right regardless of consequences?

    Dont you know the way things work in Cuba? Dont you know that the majority of that crowd was staged with Cubans who dont give a rats ass about religion but were by the order to the regime so that others, who DO believe and WHO DO have faith could not attend?

    the spiritual pros of the Pope's visit do not outweigh the negatives of the reality behind it. the Pope and the Catholic Church allowed themselves to become a mighty boombox for castro propaganda.

    Ive been a Catholic my entire live and granted, not one of the best, but this visit made me sick to my stomach and it will be quite a while before I step into a catholic church again.

    • Robert and Dean, you are both missing the point of the whole exercise: not going to Cuba and explicitly saying why the Church wouldn't go would have spoken more TRUTH of what is going on there than all the empty homilies pronounced by all the priests to all the multitudes. We've heard the words before. Many, many times. They are utterly MEANINGLESS and EMPTY because there is no action behind them. There is no moral compass behind them. They are just WORDS, repeated by rote.

      The least we expected the Church to do, once it got to Cuba, was to meet with the opposition and the dissidents, even though prohibited by the regime. That would have spoken volumes. Giving them succor and comfort should have been job one. That simple CHRISTIAN act was too much for Benedict and his corrupt Cardinals.

      But... they had plenty of time to meet with fidel, and hugo, and raul, and bless their little hearts amidst the pomp and circumstance. There was plenty of time to imprison the dissidents and beat them. Ho-hum, just another day in Cuba.

      Do the right thing? If the Church ever did that I'd have a cardiac arrest. Not one penny more.

  • FreedomForCuba

    Val,

    You nailed brother.

    Dean and Robert,

    Both of you are trying to excuse the inexcusable. That's your choice but won't you find any converts here.

    For the last time, the way Pope Benedict XVI handled this trip to Cuba is totally inexcusable and unacceptable no matter what arguments you both bring to the table here.

    Save yourselves the long theological posts and begin to accept this historical proven proven fact:

    If you fail to stand up to evil, you become an accomplice to evil.

    Pope Benedict XVI lack of courage and conviction in the handling of this trip to Cuba and his inability to stand up to the evil Castro brothers casts a very dark shadow on him that will be impossible to erase because he became an accomplice to evil.

  • I should have been clearer: his homily makes it plain that the Cuban people themselves are not abandoned.

    • The Cuban people have been abandoned for 53 years. Only their exile brothers and sisters in this fucking town care about them. Nobody GIVES A GOOD GODDAMN about Cuba. Nobody.

  • FreedomForCuba

    Robert and Dean,

    George nails it...

  • Putting the protocol of the visit and the disappointment over not meeting with the Damas de Blanco aside for a second: I find it ironic and revealing that a huge part of the focus of the news reports and blog commentaries of the pope's trip was the "potential meeting" with the Damas de Blanco. The fact that so much emphasis was justly placed on it gives the dissidents and their plight more exposure than had the pope decided NOT to visit. I'm not saying that it was or should have been the Vatican's strategy, but it does say something about the mere presence of the pope in Cuba who, as Dean excellently stated, by his quite words of truth and freedom in John's Gospel clearly and definitively contrasted the evil of the regime.

  • Robert,

    I doubt that the Damas de Blanco feel better as a result of the extra added exposure. Put yourself in their shoes, having endured what theyve endured over the past eight years, yet still keeping faith and then, the Vicar of Christ comes to town and, basically, ignores them. Moreover, he blesses the very people who have made their lives a living hell.

    No homily can assuage that.

  • asombra

    The ladies in White asked, nay, begged for ONE minute with the pope. Benedicte gave Fidel, his witch of a "wife," and their sons THIRTY minutes. Do the math.

  • pototo

    Robert,
    This is one of the reasons(besides doctrinal) I so oppose the RCC. People stop thinking for themselves. God gave them a mind and a free will to be used for His honor and glory. God gave us a handbook called the Bible. God gave us a mediator, the man Christ Jesus.
    You refuse to see the errors in your pope as that would then imply fallibility which he indeed is fallible.
    Words of truth and freedom? Which ones? The Gospel of John speaks of spiritual truth and freedom only. I am afraid that you will be greatly disappointed someday when you find that these popes won't even be in heaven.
    I saw no contrast with the regime, but complicity. If you choose to see roses where there is manure that is your choice, but when all is said and done those roses are manure.

  • asombra

    Gospel of Matthew (18: 6-7)

    "But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of scandals. For it must needs be that scandals come: but nevertheless woe to that man by whom the scandal cometh."

    This papal visit has, indeed, scandalized, regardless of what was meant or intended by the pope, who is ultimately responsible, as are Bertone and Ortega to lesser degree. There HAS been scandal, there HAS been serious insult, and only fools would have failed to foresee that there would be. This means there is no possible ignorance defense or "oops" defense. The pope and his advisers HAD to know they would be giving very serious offense to MANY Cubans, especially practicing Catholic ones bound to be shaken by how this visit transpired.

    As for no one being beyond redemption, such redemption requires admission of guilt, true repentance and, insofar as possible, restitution for harm done. Does anyone even begin to believe that Fidel Castro or his brother have any intention of ever doing this? The first thing they'd have to do is resign from any and all authority, surrender all illegitimate possessions (tangible or intangible), and turn themselves over for judicial prosecution. Should that come to pass, then we can discuss the possible redemption of the Castros. Otherwise, I'm afraid my intelligence, such as God made it, is a bit, you know, scandalized.

  • asombra

    I think we can consign this papal visit to the bonfire of the platitudes.

  • pototo

    Robert,
    Here is an example of how wrong it is to try to be popular rather than right.
    11 ¶ But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
    12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.
    13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.
    14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?
    Just as Peter mislead the Jews so the pope has mislead the Catholic Cubans who were counting on him. Looks like the pope needs a Paul to get in his face. But I think what he needs most is Jesus.

  • FreedomForCuba

    Robert,

    For the last time:

    The Pope did NOTHING, NADA, NI COJONES.

    Stop making excuses for it, for God's sake, OPEN YOUR FREAKING EYES AND MIND and accept that painful REALITY once and for all.

    The events of this week have been are painful enough as it for many of us, so please stop inventing your bullshit excuses for this coward, Castro accomplice of Pope we have today.

    This Pope does not deserve an ounce of support or respect from any Cuban-American that has an ounce of self respect and loves to see a free Cuba once and for all...

  • FreedomForCuba

    Correction,

    The events of this week have been painful enough for many of us, so please stop inventing your bullshit excuses for this coward, pendejo, Castro accomplice of Pope we have today.

  • pototo

    FFC,
    Tell us how you really feel...... LOL
    Don't be so timid.

  • FreedomForCuba

    I'm being nice and ready to explode pototo, tired of reading so much bullshit, lol.

  • FreedomForCuba

    "I doubt that the Damas de Blanco feel better as a result of the extra added exposure. Put yourself in their shoes, having endured what theyve endured over the past eight years, yet still keeping faith and then, the Vicar of Christ comes to town and, basically, ignores them. Moreover, he blesses the very people who have made their lives a living hell."

    That's the point Val,

    The faithful, God loving churchgoing Ladies in White receiving abuses after abuses on a weekly basis for years and many times these abuses take place right after leaving mass and this sorry ass excuse of a Pope completely ignores them and instead chooses to meet their Communist, atheist tormentors to kiss their putrid asses.

    Que traicionero, pendejo y maricon nos ha salido este Papa, and I'm not referring to sexual orientation...

  • Val: I hear you. The point was that if the pope doesn't make the visit, he still wouldn't have met with the Ladies in White NOR make any kind of public statements on Cuban soil in defense of religious freedom, change, etc. As I said, it's not a valid strategical approach or a good reason to not meet with dissidents, but just an ironic twist.

    Pototo: Dr. Eire in the post above touched on the incorrect belief that the pope is infallible in ALL matters: The First Vatican Council proclaimed in 1871 that the successors of Peter are infallible in questions of faith and doctrine, that is, they are incapable of leading the faithful astray when it comes to their salvation. But it said nothing about the pope’s private life and his behavior concerning earthly matters.

    In other words, the pope is NOT infallible in "earthly matters". That means a Catholic is well within his/her right to criticize the pope's trip to Cuba.

    I believe it was an error for the pope to not meet with dissidents, but my whole argument here and elsewhere (as well as Dean's) is that he DID make concrete and definitive statements in defense of freedom for all Cubans, on Cuban soil while celebrating Holy Mass, a celebration in which Catholics believe that the actual body and blood of Jesus is made present (John 6 for reference). To state that he's in cahoots with the regime is an unfair accusation, IMO. Feel free to disagree, but again that's my opinion.

    I won't get into your other comments regarding Catholicism as I don't want to bog down this thread with theology more than we already have, but I invite you to please feel free to reach me individually if you would like to discuss this in more detail. Go to my blog for contact info.

  • FreedomForCuba

    Robert,

    The Pope DID SHIT, no comas tanta mierda..;.

  • Dr. Eire, this is a masterpiece, and a historical record of the despair Cuban Catholics, and all Cubans are experiencing in reaction to the Popes choice to abandon the Cuban people. Heartbreaking.

  • FreedomForCuba: I think you've already made yourself clear ('ño!)

  • FreedomForCuba

    Robert,

    You're the one who made yourself extremely clear with your stubborn blindness, defending the indefensible.

    How would you like to be inside a Cuban jail getting a daily those of all kinds of human rights abuses, hoping for an individual of the stature of the Pope to come to bring you hope, salvation and maybe (just maybe) a way out of your misery and instead he comes to warmly greet your jailers while ignoring you?

    I'm sure if you where inside a Cuban jail suffering this misery on your own flesh and blood you would not feel and write the way you do now.

  • FreedomForCuba

    Better Robert,

    Ask the people in the island if the Pope visit brought them any hope that in the near future Cuba will be free from the Castro tyranny and I guarantee you the majority are going to say NO.

  • FreedomForCuba

    Better,

    Ask the Ladies in White how they feel about this Pope now?

  • All I know is that you can't fan a fire if you douse the flame the ignites it.

  • [...] part of his complaint about Pope Benedict’s visit to Cuba, Carlos Eire recounts previous papal errors. One problem with this is that he doesn’t have a terribly good grasp on [...]

  • FreedomForCuba

    Exactly Val, and that's what this sorry ass excuse for a Pope did...

  • Oye pero la verdad que aqui en Babalu se encuentran discusiones verdaderamente fascinantes y educativas...

    Unreal

  • FreedomForCuba

    Indeed Humberto,

    It has been quite a day, lol...

    I wonder if it was Luke the one who posted that link (criticizing Dr. Eire ) above my previous post.

  • FreedomForCuba

    Humberto,

    After this week events I don't think Benedict XVI will ever want to schedule a Miami visit.

    I doubt he'll get a warm reception in this town...

  • Carlos Eire

    To Eunomia:

    Holy Crap... Santa Mierda.... Heilige Scheiss....Sacre Merde....

    where did this stinking missile come from? And what kind of pedant would nitpick about 7th century theology when the issue is not Pope Honorius, but the mere fact that popes continually make mistakes, and that the current one just pulled a whopper.

    I know exactly what went on with Honorius, but didn't want to get my readers lost in the details, especially since I was addressing a very broad audience.

    God damn it all, this is why I have been tempted to strangle so many academics, so many times. Strutting peacocks who care way too much about preening their feathers and proving themselves superior to others; myopic thinkers who never get past the infinitessimally small details that clog up their brains.

    I wasn't addressing scholars, or ecclesiastics. I was addressing the Average Joe. I dumbed it down, knowing that 99.9% of my readers wouldn't know what a monophysite was, much less a monothelete.

    Besides, the heresy itself was not the issue. The issue is the fact that the current pope just made a colossal mistake.

    For Christ's sakes, at the end of this harrowing papal visit, this is truly the last thing I expected to find: a moronic nitpicker.

    Grow up, Mr. Larison. If I don't seem to have a good grasp of church history -- which I have been studying and teaching for 40 years -- it's because YOU. Mr. Larison, don't have a very good grasp of reality or of the struggle at hand.

  • Professor Eire just explained (and perfectly) why he's an anomaly among professors....and why his books sell, (unlike those of most professors')

  • Honey

    George on 2/29 at 2:20 - "The Cuban people have been abandoned for 53 years. Only their exile brothers and sisters in this fucking town care about them. Nobody GIVES A GOOD GODDAMN about Cuba. Nobody."

    I am not Cuban, nor is Ziva, nor is Jay Nordlinger, nor is Jack Fowler, nor is Deroy Murdock, nor is Senator Toomey, and I could go on naming names and fill up a huge box here. We take heat, believe me, or get looked down upon for our views. We are part of your pain. We may not be in the tens of thousands, but we do exist and we do fight the good fight alongside you. Every time we write a comment or get an article from babalu posted somewhere else or take abuse because we express our beliefs about Cuba, it is because we, unlike this Pope, know the difference between tyrants and their victims. When I go to the Club for Growth or RJC meetings, I try to find a way to bring up Cuba, I certainly brought up the Pope's visit, I often find others in these places who are mindful of the plight of the Cuban people. Many are indifferent, yes. It's because they have other worries they are coping with. But most conservatives I know are with you, if not actively, then quietly.

    So, George, I would like to suggest you take back that comment you made in haste. [Ed., I just apologized below.]

    Robert, no quoting of scriptures or rationalizing can take away the fact that neither this Pope nor his representatives ever MEANT to attempt to contact or say the right things about dissidents in Cuba. No hopeful statements about what this trip might mean eventually to the victims of persecution can erase that this Pope DID find time to gleefully criticized the U.S, "embargo", a la any good liberation theologian. That shows us where his mind is and it is not in a good place when it comes to knowing the difference between the oppressor and the oppressed.

    Bottom line, Robert, if this Pope understood scripture, if he understood right and wrong and which is which in Cuba, here's what he should have done. He should have announced in advance of the trip or had one of his flock announce that he will meet with the Ladies in White and Biscet as part of his trip in Cuba. Then when the inevitable refusal to allow him to do this came,.... no time or it is inconvenient or whatever...., the Pope should have announced in advance that this country has everything upside down and he will not visit Cuba under these circumstances. That would have sent the right message and accomplished what your wishful thinking thinks was accomplished.

    Or he could have gone to Cuba and done the diplomatic things all the way, except that when he stood in front of that Che thingie, he could have said some strong words like "Down with Communism" or "I publicly offer G-d's blessing to the Ladies in White and other followers of Christ who make great sacrifices for the freedom to believe" or something strong like that.
    Splitting hairs on what can and cannot be done misses the point.

    But the Pope still has one more chance to do the right thing. He can NOW say all that he should have said in Cuba. I do not believe he will. Therefore I conclude that this man who was selected to represent the faithful falls short as a good representative.

    Professor Eire understands the difference between talking to those in the know about Scripture and History and dealing with lay people, like me, who understand little in these matters. He is a compassionate, kind, brilliant man who knows what is important and the difference between right and wrong and he can WRITE about it perfectly. Would that this Pope had the smallest portion of Eire's sensibilities, intelligence and decency.

    Forgive my excesses here. I am very angry and disheartened by this week's events in Cuba.

    • To Honey (and all the others I may have offended),

      I apologize for my rather badly phrased remark. I was very angry and I lashed out. It is very difficult at times to forget the help we receive from "others" in our struggle against fidel. Our fight has been a Sisyphean task for 53 years. For trying to do what is right and just and good we receive nothing but opprobrium, ridicule and insults. There are some, such as you, who are staunch supporters. But you are so few that I sometimes forget that our fight is not ours alone.

      Again, I'm sorry for my remarks.

  • FreedomForCuba

    Honey,

    I'm sorry if were hurt by George post, he wasn't referring to you.

    We all know that you're 200 percent plus on our side. George meant all those that have the power to help and have abandoned us. Please don't feel insulted by the post.

    In a nutshell George all the others that have real power to put pressure on the Castro tyranny (such as the Pope) and do nothing to use use their influence in that regard.

    Honey if we had people like you with the power to make a difference, Cuba would be free a long time ago...

  • FreedomForCuba

    Correction:

    George meant all the others that have real power to put pressure on the Castro tyranny (such as the Pope) and do nothing to use use their influence in that regard.

  • FreedomForCuba

    Dr. Eire,

    That's what we need you here at Babalu, to guide us with your knowledge and experience and fend off the herds of liberal idiots that think they know what they're talking about.

  • asombra

    We should be grateful to Mr. Larison for condescending to trouble himself with anything Cuba-related. We really are not worthy. Besides, when one is sufficiently small, petty or otherwise dysfunctional, one must seize upon absolutely anything, no matter how trivial, inappropriate or ridiculous, to try to compensate somehow. Also, we must try to be pluralistic and inclusive. Remember, specious assholes are people, too.

  • asombra

    The pope chose to make a visit that Castro, Inc. and its “partner” Ortega wanted, and he accepted and observed the terms set by Castro, Inc. The Vatican has acknowledged this publicly via its official spokesman. Doing what Castro, Inc. wants, in the way it wants it done, for a price it has no problem paying, is an act of collaboration, not to say complicity or collusion, with Castro, Inc. This may be approved, rationalized, excused or otherwise justified, but the fact it constitutes collaboration is indisputable. Naturally, the Vatican expected to derive gain from the arrangement, and some such gain will no doubt be forthcoming. The question is what and to whose benefit, and very importantly, at what cost. Nobody gets anything from Castro, Inc. for nothing. Nobody. Surely, a German pope has heard of Faust, as well as others who thought they could deal with the devil and come out ahead. The devil, however, has other ideas, and those who make deals with it always wind up losing--the only question is when.

  • pototo

    Robert,
    I am unfamiliar in how to contact you. I would be more than happy to discuss the errors of the RCC interpretation of John 6 which amounts to nothing short of cannabalism. But this dabate is for another place. Let me know how to contact you.
    8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
    9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
    10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them

  • FreedomForCuba

    pototo,

    Click on his name on any of Robert's post and will get you to his website where you can see his email address.

  • FreedomForCuba

    You can also click on his name on the contributors list and will direct you there.

  • FreedomForCuba

    "Robert, no quoting of scriptures or rationalizing can take away the fact that neither this Pope nor his representatives ever MEANT to attempt to contact or say the right things about dissidents in Cuba. No hopeful statements about what this trip might mean eventually to the victims of persecution can erase that this Pope DID find time to gleefully criticized the U.S, "embargo", a la any good liberation theologian. That shows us where his mind is and it is not in a good place when it comes to knowing the difference between the oppressor and the oppressed.

    Bottom line, Robert, if this Pope understood scripture, if he understood right and wrong and which is which in Cuba, here's what he should have done. He should have announced in advance of the trip or had one of his flock announce that he will meet with the Ladies in White and Biscet as part of his trip in Cuba. Then when the inevitable refusal to allow him to do this came,.... no time or it is inconvenient or whatever...., the Pope should have announced in advance that this country has everything upside down and he will not visit Cuba under these circumstances. That would have sent the right message and accomplished what your wishful thinking thinks was accomplished."

    Honey,

    Thank you very much for this beautiful and powerful statement, you nailed in so clearly...

  • FreedomForCuba

    One last thing Honey,

    Several of us have been going back on forth on this topic for the last 24 hours and you summarized the essence of it all with those two beautiful paragraphs I previously highlighted.

    I'm certain Dr. Eire (and others) will agree with me on this issue...

  • Honey

    Listen, George and all others who are worried about my sensitive feelings being hurt. I am a grownup and it takes more than what George said to hurt me.

    I was not hurt. On the contrary it was I who was trying to soften the hurt and isolation George and the rest of you must be feeling because of the travesty of the events of this week. I wanted you to know we are out there. The struggle to fight tyranny is difficult and seems impossible. Those who are on the battlefield against tyranny feel isolated. I know whereof I speak having seen the same trends when it comes to Israel. It is so fashionable to blame the only free country in the Middle East rather than the mischief makers. Because if one takes a stand, it means one must act. It is so much easier to play the ostrich or blame the victims.

    This is standard operating procedure of liberals. You can imagine my exasperation now when I see liberals ready to sell Israel down the river just to make Obama look good.

    George, you should know by now that you are okay in my book. I love babaluers all. I feel at home here.

  • Honey

    Correction - isolation George and the rest of you must be feeling... Oh, the dangers of trying to reedit one's comments on the fly.

  • deanesmay, as aware as I am of notion that there is "no sin that is unforgivable in Catholic theology", I am a human being, and imperfect, and the best that I can hope for (and to paraphrase Heinrich Heine), is to forgive Castro, and his henchmen, but only after they are hanged.

    Professor Eire...as always, your words strike to the core, and as always, they are treasured. As I've thanked you before for writing books that will remain with me for years beyond expectation, I thank you for this as well.

    Luis Gonzalez

    • Holy crap. That essay is one of the single-most brilliant pieces of political blogsmanship I've read in a long time. Just 30 minutes ago at work I was asked who I was voting for and I said "a tuna sandwich and a side of cucumber salad."

      My congratulations to you sir!

  • Funny how things get around, you are the third or fourth person that's commented on my blog post this week...I didn't know that it got around that much.

    On a similar vein, back in November 2010, I was playing with my Photoshop programs, and made up a poster. It is composed of some artwork I found on the Internet, plus a word from the Merriam-Webster Slang Dictionary.

    I didn't like the definition I found, so I set out to pen a new one...and I posted the results online on November 1, 2010.

    A few days ago, someone (a stranger) sent me a note through my facebook account (that's where I put up my poster and the definition) congratulating me on the "impact that my work had" on Internet political blogs.

    To my utter amazement. my definition to the world "ineptocracy" is everywhere...even Andres Oppenheimer has used it.

    Who knew?

    "Ineptocracy" Original posting.

  • [...] Communist-oppressed island’s persecuted people. Now that the Pope’s trip is done and over, Eire has written (on the Cuban freedom blog, Babalú) a brilliant and pained commentary (‘Let Peter [...]

  • [...] C’s comment made me harken back to Dr. Carlos Eire’s excellent “Let Peter Weep” post right after the pope left Cuba two weeks ago. Peter indeed wept. He wept because he failed, because [...]