Cuban priest dares to challenge government’s definition of ‘dignity’

From our Bureau of Meddlesome Priests with some assistance from our Bureau of Valiant Quixotic Gestures

“No tiene pelos en la lengua” (his/her tongue has no hairs on it) is an expression used by Cubans to describe people who aren’t afraid to say what needs to be said.

This expression fits :Father Alberto Reyes perfectly. No other Catholic priest in Cuba challenges Castro, Inc. as often as he does. Thus far he has somehow managed to escape open persecution, but he must certainly know that if he continues to misbehave he is likely to suffer the same fate as all other dissidents in Cuba, including a high number of Protestant clergy.

“Meddlesome priests” who rub tyrants the wrong way often end up feeling their full wrath in very unpleasant ways.

From Catholic News Agency

Father Alberto Reyes, a priest of the Archdiocese of Camagüey, Cuba, recently shared a reflection on Facebook about human dignity as experienced in his homeland.

He noted that “dignity” is one of the most beloved words in the public discourse of this nation. “‘We are a dignified people,’ we repeat ad nauseam, although then when you ask: ‘What does dignity mean?’ people have no idea,” he wrote.

The Cuban priest explained that dignity is a gift given by God and not something that is received from a government authority, and therefore he called on his compatriots to “grow in the awareness of one’s own dignity” and to defend it.

In the Nov. 30 post, Reyes pointed out that although “dignity is never lost,” what “can be lost, or manipulated, is the awareness of dignity, the awareness of one’s own value.”

The priest explained that sometimes “a person’s dignity is tied to what he possesses, to his social status,” which is a view that is “false and manipulative, because our value lies in our being as persons.”

Reyes pointed out that the same thing happens when dignity is linked “to political discourse, which conveys the message that the person has worth if he joins a political or ideological program, if he defends a certain line of thought, if he participates socially in support of a partisan project.”

The priest said that this message conveyed by the government makes it clear that the person who doesn’t support its political discourse becomes a “second-class citizen” and falls in the category of “the opposition” if he expresses “his disagreement with the current political program,” risking “being denied the right to express himself” freely or to remain in his own country.

Reyes explained that this causes many to be in a state of panic over “‘not losing value’ before the evaluating and inquisitorial gaze of (those in) power” and so they seek to make it clear that “they are behaving well” by participating in all initiatives, demonstrations, and government meetings, including in “all elections, even if they’re a farce.”

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2 thoughts on “Cuban priest dares to challenge government’s definition of ‘dignity’”

  1. What the Priest is saying is extremely important. DO NOT fall prey to the ideas of the government – any government. Only follow the truth as given by God. The lies of the government can and should be ignored. The person who is jailed for speaking the truth, is innocent and the only crime that has been committed has been done by the government.

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