HAVANA TIMES, Jan 9 — With God’s blessing, I don’t plan to attend the mass set for this coming March 28 in Revolution Square. Though it will be presided over by the Pope, for me he’s only a figure representing power, someone who I can’t associate with anything other than backwardness and false morality.
In 1998, when Pope John Paul II visited Havana, I attended the Mass held on January 24 in Jose Marti Square.
I remember that back than I was living in the outlying Electrico neighborhood. This meant that to get into town to get a good seat among the million people who turned out, I had to leave home at midnight the night before. Even so, the closest I got was some 60 yards from the “Sacred Father.”
In those days, I was much more misinformed than I am now. That’s why I only knew about the good side of John Paul II, who — with his image of the “tender grandfather” — it was impossible not to admire.
Later, my intellectual curiosity compelled me to investigate more and I discovered the other darker side of John Paul II. This same gentleman who had proclaimed his position “on the side of the poor,” years earlier had forced Nicaraguan priest Ernesto Cardenal to kneel down and beg for forgiveness. Cardenal was one of the representatives of Liberation Theology, that radical tendency within Christianity that supports the poor).
Yet at the same time, John Paul II was an intimate friend of no one less than Marcial Maciel, the head of the orthodox order the Legion of Christ. Despite his “strict and proclaimed morals,” Maciel was proven to have an extensive record of sexual abuse against children, as well as against the daughter of a “parishioner.”
In short, I won’t be heading for the Square this coming March 28. Nor will I attend any of the activities in the streets to welcome the “much awaited” Benedicto XVI.
Too much information has ended up making me distrustful of such an old power as that of the church. This is especially so when the current “Vicar of God” has openly and repeatedly declared his repulsion toward abortion and homosexuals.