From our Bureau of Captive Churches with some assistance from our Bureau of Muffled Dissent
The bishops of Cuba’s Catholic Church have issued a statement in which they very carefully camouflage their criticism of the island’s 64-year-old totalitarian dictatorship.
They say they are optimistic about Castro, Inc. allowing greater economic and political freedom, emphasizing that such changes are essential for bringing an end to Cuba’s current crisis. They also say: “The wealth that the plurality of thoughts, opinions and ideas, increasingly present among us could bring to our nation is not sufficiently recognized”.
Is this dissent? Yes, but it is muffled and very carefully worded. The bishops’ expressions of faint optimism are couched in the same pleading tone as any prayer for healing, or any words uttered by a child with abusive parents.
Father Alberto Reyes, the most outspoken clerical critic of Cuba’s dictatorship, has already explained why Cuba’s Catholic clergy don’t dare to openly express what they really think and feel:
“We have been threatened with prosecution and imprisonment if we continue to publish our opinion on the situation in the country in the media, when it does not coincide with the official version of the government,” said Father Reyes in a recent interview.
Loosely translated from Diario de Cuba:
The Catholic bishops of Cuba presented the Pastoral Plan of that Church on the Island for the period 2023-2030, a proposal that “comes contemporaneously with the experience of one of the most difficult moments in the history of the country,” they said.
One of the plan documents states: “We are probably in the most serious crisis in recent decades. Food and medicine shortages have reached levels never seen before among us. There is growing inflation and discontent with a significant burden of stress, hopelessness and neglect. Our communities and pastoral agents participate in the fatigue generated by daily subsistence in Cuba. The wealth that the plurality of thoughts, opinions and ideas, increasingly present among us could bring to our nation is not sufficiently recognized”.
In what the plan defines as a “believing look at reality,” the bishops describe current Cuban society: “For an important sector of the people, especially young people and qualified people, the way out they see is emigration (… ) We are experiencing an increase in citizen insecurity. The deterioration of moral values is deeper, the non-perception of good and truth, and adherence to them”.
The religious express their optimism in the face of some changes introduced by the Cuban regime: “Perhaps a certain opening in private entrepreneurship, with the consequent change of mentality about the value of these initiatives, is the most significant element of a transformation that is taking place, so longed for in other spheres by many Cubans”.
Regarding the claims of this plan, its points 17 and 18 state: “We want to get closer to this people of ours as brothers, since we share the same vulnerability (…) On this path we choose to love and give life, as Jesus did For this reason, we cannot take detours or go on for a long time in the face of so many wounds and abandonment that surround us. A personal and community conversion is necessary today that implies getting closer and committing ourselves to vulnerable humanity in Cuba.”
Continue reading HERE in Spanish