Pope Francis in Cuba

Elio Delgado Legon

The Pope during his Mass Sunday at the Plaza of the Revolution. Photo: Kaloian/cubadebate.cu

HAVANA TIMES — Much has been written about Pope Francis since he became the leader of the Catholic Church, owing to his declarations in defense of the poor and his critique of the adoration of money.

Pope Francis has been called incendiary, a socialist and a communist. He has been criticized for meddling in political issues instead of addressing religious matters exclusively. His critics seem to forget that politics governs the life of societies, and that politics determine whether a society is plural and inclusive, selfish and exclusive, and whether it promotes peace or war.

In his homilies, Pope Francis has criticized savage capitalism, a system which does not place humanity at its core but which reduces everything to the search for profits.

When Pope Francis refers to all of these issues and expresses these ideas, he is not so much talking politics as he is advancing the ideas of the Gospel, as Jesus was the first to preach love among all human beings. Jesus was the first to criticize the exploitation of the poor by the rich, at a time prior to capitalism and economies based on trade. The Bible tells that Jesus threw the merchants out of the temple, a symbol of his defense of the poor.

Today, Jesus would condemn capitalism for its exploitation of workers, for the damage it causes the environment, for the sole purpose of selfishly accumulating riches with no regard for anything else. This is what Pope Francis has expressed in his defense of the poor, the underprivileged and the marginalized.

Dominican priest Frei Beto, a proponent of Liberation Theology and author of numerous books, has called Pope Francis a revolutionary, but not in the political sense of the word, but in the sense that he has revolutionized the Catholic Church by applying the ideas of Jesus more faithfully that had been done to date. For many years, the Catholic Church had been the church of the rich, while today we could affirm, without fear of contradiction, that it has become the church of the poor under Francis.

Pope Francis has devoted the greater part of his life to the defense of the poor and underprivileged and he will continue to do so, as that is his interpretation of the Gospel.

Perhaps not many people ask themselves why Jesus was sentenced to die on the cross, after being tortured so he would abjure his ideas. The fact of the matter is that the first man to hold socialist ideas, even though this social doctrine did not yet exist and he preached as the son of God, was Jesus.

That is the reason Pope Francis is against war, where the poor suffer the most, and has instructed that every church in Rome take in, at least provisionally, a family of refugees fleeing from wars.

In the homily he delivered Sunday at Havana’s Revolution Square, the Pope called for an end to the war in Colombia and thanked President Raul Castro for having accompanied and facilities the peace process there.

His life of service unto others was expressed in his final remarks: “He who does not live to serve, is not fit to live.”

Elio Delgado Legon

Elio Delgado-Legon: I am a Cuban who has lived for 80 years, therefore I know full well how life was before the revolution, having experienced it directly and indirectly. As a result, it hurts me to read so many aspersions cast upon a government that fights tooth and nail to provide us a better life. If it hasn’t fully been able to do so, this is because of the many obstacles that have been put in its way.


17 thoughts on “Pope Francis in Cuba

  • September 28, 2015 at 6:39 am
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    I am afraid you missed my point entirely. I concurred there is nothing wrong with disagreeing with any issue. It is the personal attacks on the individual that I have problems with.

    Elio’s personal religious beliefs and fighting for the Revolution is simply a non issue unless one wants to use that in a personal attack implying he is hypocritical.

  • September 27, 2015 at 8:59 pm
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    Elio did not write anonymously. He has the right to express his views and did so. I and indeed others, have the right to disagree with him and to attack the ideas he promotes. He is a regular contributor to the Havana Times and we who read it are experienced in reading his views.
    In the free world, those who express political views frequently have those views attacked. However, there are in communist countries, those who think that views expressed by the faithful should be accepted without demur and in Cuba one can be locked up for doping so. In these columns I have read savage attacks by self appointed progressives upon elected US Presidents and officials without a murmur from you in their defence.
    It is as you should know, a fact that under the Castro regime, there was persecution of the Catholic Church, Catholic organizations and Catholic believers. Elio is now professing to be of the faithful and it is reasonable to question how he managed to hide his faith from the other revolutionaries. That he did so, appears undeniable as he was promoted to being a sergeant.

  • September 27, 2015 at 7:32 pm
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    In the world today billions live under your beloved capitalism on just US$2.00 a day because capitalism concentrates the money in the hands of a relative few as a normal way of operation.
    It does not work to provide for human need.
    Cuba BTW is state capitalist with a socialist-style distribution system.
    They already have the totalitarian organization from the top.
    All they need do is cut out providing life’s necessities for all Cubans and they’ll have deprivation just like in all other underdeveloped free-enterprise capitalist countries.
    The bad news for you is that automation will kill capitalism within 20 years or less.
    (read : ” Rise Of The Robots: Technology And The Threat Of A Jobless Future” : Martin Ford

  • September 27, 2015 at 7:23 pm
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    Elio could well have been a practicing Christian during the revolution and after.
    Real Christians believe in following the word of Christ in helping the poor as a first priority and that is what the Cuban Revolution was all about.
    What he could not be was a Catholic under orders from a fascist-loving Pope.
    working against the revolution as the Church did before they were justifiably exiled and shut down for years.

  • September 27, 2015 at 7:14 pm
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    Suggested viewing and listening:
    Go to You Tube .
    ask for ” Christianity is false and immoral: Christopher Hitchens” and when you bring it up, watch that 13 minute video and see just how immoral the killing of Christ and then accepting his death as atonement for the sins of others really is.
    You sound like the TV evangelists who wear $1000.00 suits and own private jets .
    My bet is that you think that all you need do is believe in Christ and you’ll get into Heaven /avoid Hell and that doing good or evil will have no effect on your (heavenly/hellish fate.
    BTW, Forbes Magazine listed Fidel as one of the richest people on Earth because …….this is true….they said as dictator with absolute power he COULD drive into the Cuban National Treasury and drive off with whatever he wanted on any given day.
    You still want to go with that as true ?
    You’ll go from Christian-Right to Christian Wrong.
    Try this : ” It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a RICH man to enter the kingdom of Heaven “.
    See, Jesus seemed to understand what you cannot ; that if a man is sitting on a pile of money while others go without the essentials, that act of cruelty , of not helping the poor, will guarantee that rich man a place in Hell.
    Christ also said something like
    “As ye do to the least (poorest) among us , so you do to me ”
    Okay , now twist those words to have Christ mean ” fuck the poor.”
    I’m sure you’ll give it a shot.

  • September 27, 2015 at 8:38 am
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    Assuming Elio is both Communist and Christian, does that mean others have the right to constantly attack him on a personal level? While there is nothing wrong with posting your disagreement with a political or religious idea, attacking someone as a person because they have those ideas is an entirely different situation.

    My views on politics and religion are exceeded by my belief that others should have the right to speak openly about theirs without being attacked.

  • September 26, 2015 at 8:22 pm
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    Tut, tut Bob. Elio professes to be staunch Christian. If he had done so at the time of the revolution, he would have been persecuted and locked up with others who professed their faith.
    Saying that his post gives no indication of his personal beliefs is somewhat naïve – to quote what he wrote:
    “Today, Jesus would condemn capitalism for its exploitation of workers, for the damage it causes the environment, for the sole purpose of selfishly accumulating riches with no regard for anything else.”
    Do you really think that Elio is not expressing belief in Jesus by writing that, or do you actually regard him as a cynic?

  • September 25, 2015 at 9:35 pm
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    I must speak up in defense of Elio. He is entitled to his political opinions. He has a right to express them. Others need not agree with him. Others have the right to express their disagreement. But I continually see him being personally attacked in many comments to this post and preceding ones. I see comments attacking many of his non-political statements simply because of his political views. He writes his opinion of the Pope’s words and motivations and is personally attacked for his political views.

    Now Elio is now being personally attacked on religious grounds. He deserves better. This is especially interesting since many readings of his post above give no indication of his personal religious beliefs. Commenters are making assumptions based on his analysis of the Pope. I question some respondents knowledge of today’s Cuban culture if they do not know Communists who have strong religious beliefs, either Santeria or Christian.

    Some commenters here are so intolerant and single item agenda focused that they become blind to the rights of others to see things differently. Elio deserves better than dealing with the recreation of Joe McCarthy and his witch hunt.

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