Church makes dangerous bargain with Castro
The malevolence of the Castro brothers during their five decades regime is well documented: 3,615 executions by firing squad, 1,253 extrajudicial killings, the imprisonment of thousands of political prisoners in subhuman conditions, the 1994 tugboat massacre, the depravation of basic freedoms and the impoverishment of the country’s entire population, countless violations of human rights and much more.
Unquestionably, Fidel Castro’s 1962 Armageddon letter to Khrushchev advocating a Soviet preemptive nuclear attack on the United States is an expression of unmitigated evil.
Also known is the gentility and heroism of the Ladies in White, recognized by the European Parliament in 2005 with the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. This group of incredibly brave and devout women attends Mass each Sunday and then silently stands up to the regime by walking through the streets wearing white clothing to symbolize peace.
Both Fidel Castro and the Ladies in White requested an audience with Pope Benedict XVI during his Cuba visit. The Ladies in White requested only a minute of his Holiness’ time. In Joseph Ratzinger’s seemingly chauvinistic calculus, the Ladies in White did not merit his time, and Ratzinger elected to disown his most loyal flock on the island and chose instead to meet with Mephistopheles.
The church leadership’s obsequiousness in accommodating the Cuban government and its concern with sparing the Castros any political discomfort responds to a church strategy of gaining space in society for its ecumenical and humanitarian work. The bargain is a dangerous one as the church has, in fact, made a deal with the devil.
It may very well discover, as did Faust, the protagonist of the classical German legend, that it has surrendered its moral integrity and, that at the end of the term, Mephistopheles will claim his due.
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