His Holiness, Benedict the latest and greatest, has been kind enough to bless us with his presence here in the US, Popemobile and all.
The president even presented him with a decadent birthday cake the size of a compact car for his birthday. I’m guessing that broke a few of the seven deadly sins, but let he who is without sin have their cake and eat it too.
The Vatican, of course, is above politics and doesn’t lecture world leaders about the shortcomings of their governments and embarrass them in public. Or so we were told when Cardinal Bertone visited Cuba recently. In Cuba, the Roman did as the Cubans do and blamed the U.S. “embargo” for Cuba’s fifty years of misery.
While celebrating Mass in the United States however, the Pontiff, saw fit to chastise America for its past sins.
“To be sure, this promise was not experienced by all the inhabitants of this land; one thinks of the injustices endured by the native American peoples and by those brought here forcibly from Africa as slaves.”
At the risk of excommunication, one can also think that an ex-Hitler-Jugend who now heads a Church that has been responsible for its share of “injustices” should not be throwing stones in that glass cathedral. Perhaps Benedict may want to visit Gettysburg while he’s in the D.C. area to see the steep price that America paid for its “original sin” of slavery. And maybe he can visit the Seminole Hard-Rock Casino in Hollywood to see the Native American’s unfulfilled promise of the American dream.
But, back to Cuba and the Church.
Today, as Cigar Mike points out, Cuban author, poet, ex-political prisoner and devout Catholic, Armando Valladares, addresses the Vatican’s political duplicity in a Wall Street Journal Op.Ed.
The Catholic Church has taken a hardline position against right-wing dictatorships. But in Cuba, the Church has been silent – or worse – ever since 1960, when Fidel Castro expelled hundreds of Catholic priests because they alerted their parishioners of the communist danger surfacing in government circles.
By pressuring the U.S. to lift the embargo, Cardinal Bertone plays the sad role of an effective ambassador of Cuban communist diplomacy. He also subverts the appraisal of Cuba’s real “crucial problems” when he denounces the external embargo, while remaining silent about a communist regime that muzzles and holds in misery 11 million souls.
It is very easy, you see, to criticize the United Sates. Anyone can do it. It takes absolutely no courage. In fact, It’s encouraged.
But, to go into the lion’s den, to go to Hell on Earth and stare down evil, that’s a different story. That’s the stuff of martyrs like Boitel.
One can pray that Benedict, whose strong condemnation of the “dictatorship of relativism”, which has so far been the defining message of his papacy, will meditate on the moral relativism of pleading the case of the terrorists being held on the 45 square miles that comprise the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba…
(The statement also said Bush and Benedict “touched on the need to confront terrorism with appropriate means that respect the human person and his or her rights” – an apparent reflection of the Vatican’s strong condemnation of the mistreatment of prisoners.)
… while the rest of people on the remaining 110,815 square miles live oppressed, without respect for their person or rights and in misery, under a dictatorship that is not relative but absolute, under a tyranny that he is helping to legitimize and failing to condemn.
One can pray.