Cuba Breathes Catholic Fervor

HT Photo Feature 

Stations of the Cross. Havana, Cuba

HAVANA TIMES, March 18 — Less than two weeks before the coming of Pope Benedict XVI to Cuba, the Catholic Church of the island is stepping up an offensive to bring renewed preferential status to a once ostracized institution and gain new devotees.

During the last five weeks the Catholic Church of Cuba has carried out a Stations-of-the-Cross (Via Crucis) in different parishes of the archdiocese of Havana, which ended on Friday in the Alamar housing projects.

Previously, at the end of 2011, the Church conducted a highly attended visit of the Virgin of Charity of El Cobre figurine , Cuba’s Patron Saint, to different churches around the city.

Such public demonstrations of beliefs and proselytizing are rarely allowed by any other unofficially organized group in Cuba.

The renewed status of the Catholic Church in Cuba comes at a time when the government has sought allies to implement its economic reforms while maintaining strict Communist Party political control over the population.

The resurgence of the Catholic Church of Cuba represents a big change over the first decades of the Cuban revolution when being an outward follower of the Catholic Church or any other religious institution meant being blacklisted at work places, educational centers and in neighborhoods.

Since 1992, Cuban citizens who practice a religion have been allowed to be members of the Communist Party and are no longer discriminated against by the government because of their religious beliefs.

Pope Benedict XVI will visit Cuba from March 26-28 and will offer public Masses in both Santiago de Cuba and Havana. Workers have been given the days off to facilitate their attendance to the open air gatherings in the Revolution Squares of the two cities.

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7 thoughts on “Cuba Breathes Catholic Fervor

  • All who believe in the illogical and immoral acceptance of the death of Christ to forgive our sins is invited to view Christopher Hitchen’s 12 minute video at You-Tube on ” vicarious redemption ” and I invite any to refute the factual and logical content of what Hitchens had to say in that video .

    I viewed all the pictures in this article on the upcoming visit of the Pope and shuddered when I came to the one with the priest holding the young boy .

    If it were YOUR son, would you be comfortable with that scene?

    Reply
    • I feel that you, John, and people like you have done enormous damage to the socialist transformation by conflating atheism with socialism. I tend to agree with your appraisal of Catholicism, and religion in general. But our lights in this regard have nothing to do with socialism.

      Religion and spiritual conscience is a private matter. In the decades and eons to come religion will develop on its own merits, or lack thereof. The socialist movement need not and must not conflate the advocacy of atheism with the strategic program of socialist reorganization under socialist state power. If it does so, it retards our ability to reach the masses and win them to our program. It blocks their appreciation of what socialism is all about.

      Socialism is not at war with religion. It is at war with monopoly capitalism. You and people like you have got to stop confusing these two distinct issues.

      Think about this, John: If the counter-revolution think tanks were trying to come up with ideas to undercut the socialist movement, wouldn’t they hit on the idea of conflating atheism and socialism, in order to turn the masses against it? Of course they would . . . and they have. Please stop playing their game!

      Socialists should be in the forefront of those defending complete freedom of religion and spiritual conscience.

      Reply
      • It is indeed ironic that strident anti-capitalist like John tend to be equally strident atheist. What better historical example of a socialist than what the bible teaches about the life of Jesus Christ? His communal perspective (insert loaves and fishes), free medical (sight for the blind) and his tirade against the money-changers (capitalists) in the temple the markings of a true socialist.

        Reply
      • Grady,
        I have no problem with deists. If you want to believe in an imaginary being, that’s fine .
        Theists, on the other hand , afflict their beliefs on everyone.
        The misogyny, recommendations of slavery, genocide, discrimination based on sexual preference that are rife in the Bible, , the creation, acceptance and perpetuation of child rape and of sexual perversion ( (abstinence) in the Catholic Church may be things that some can accept but not me.

        The Catholic Church is counter revolutionary and has been for centuries since democracy is anathema to belief in a celestial (God) and terrestrial (Pope) dictatorship .

        I’m not forsaking logic and humanity for the purposes of having people like me .
        It’s a matter of principal.

        I do not believe that socialists nor communists should be dealing with the enemy nor adopting its illogical and anti-social beliefs .
        Throughout humanity’s 100,000 or so years on the planet we have created and discarded over 1000 separate gods, each of which in turn has been discarded as false.
        We are now down to one which brings us ever closer to the actual number (Hitchens)

        Socialism and communism are the future.
        Atavistic , misogynist, and totally illogical beliefs in imaginary beings should be relegated to humanity’s past .

        To repeat, I have no problem with deists but the socially primitive concepts of blind obedience , women’s inferiority, the illogic and all the other evils brought to us by organized religions (theism) have no place in socialist thinking and neither should they be made acceptable in the illusion that by doing so the (godless) capitalists will ease up on their war on Cuba’s revolution.

        For Moses,

        The teachings of Jesus Christ , helping the poor are no more adhered to anywhere in the world than they are in Cuba . Of necessity, The teachings of Christ are ignored in the capitalist world .

        Would Christ condone the wealth held by the Church, indeed the money, time, resources Cuba is spending on Benedict’s visit rather than spending on the poor?

        This is precisely why I have no time for those who wish to excuse , to overlook the evil, the hypocrisy, the antithesis of the teachings of Christ that today’s religions and in particular the Roman Catholic Church represent..

        For all those who think the Church is so good, would you leave your 12 year old son or daughter overnight with a priest ?

        Reply
        • John, thanks for the reply; however, you apparently did not understand a word I said.

          We are socialist “transformationaries.” I do not use the word “revolutionaries” anymore because I know that winning the people to socialist consciousness is a prerequisite to the acquisition of socialist state power. Semantics are important, and ought to condition what we let jump out of our mouths. The second word above connotes violence, and is therefore obscures the essence of what we are about. This reduces our ability to expound our program before the people, and is therefore avoided as much as possible. History, not our rhetoric will determine whether violence is forced on the people as the social sea changes.

          To be in the business of socialist transformation is to be in the business of winning the people and raising their consciousness to a higher, a socialist level. Correct semantics is a part of this, and this is analogous to the counterpoising of religion and socialism.

          You have confused the question of whether religion, the Catholic Church, and all religious belief forever should be discarded by humanity with the totally separate question of whether society should be reorganized through a new socialist state power and a new socialist mode of production. What is wrong with your thought process?

          If we were trying to organize a trade union, would we confuse the question of whether the workers should unite and struggle together with the question of whether there is a god up in the sky? If we did, we would reveal ourselves as idiots. In similar fashion, if we should confuse the question of whether there is a god up in the sky, or whether religion is progressive or retrograde, with the totally separate question of whether we need a socialist republic to get us out of this horrid monopoly capitalist hellhole, we would reveal a similar reality.

          If you wish to mount your a stallion and flail with a rhetorical sword against the windmills of religion, go right ahead. But don’t proclaim to the world that this represents socialism, because it does not! To do so is detrimental to winning the people to the socialist program of reorganization and transformation, and you ought to stop it immediately and in perpetuity.

          It is possible that you have confused these two totally separate questions because you don’t really have a charismatic, workable socialist program of reorganization and transformation to offer the broad mass of the people, and therefore must rant and rave about a totally unrelated aspect of society that you personally abhor. If this is the case–and only you can be introspective and discern the answer–then may I suggest that you write to me in Santa Monica and request a copy of my new book Hope for the Future: Foundations of the Cooperative Republic Movement. This book would give you such a workable socialist program, something well worth ranting and raving about.

          Reply
          • THIS IS THE CORRECTED TEXT

            Grady,
            I am not interested in moderating my positions to win over the U.S. public . IMO they are so far gone on the capitalist Kool-Aid that they are irretrievable . You can’t say the word socialism to an American without the specter of Joe Stalin and all the other totalitarian goons rising in their minds . It’s truly casting pearls before swine in the true sense of Matthew 7:6 ; present the truth of socialism to them and they will tear you to pieces
            .
            The socialist change we seek has been opposed by the Catholic Church for at least 80 years and Cuba had to expel all the pro-fascist Spanish priests for their work against the revolution .
            The Church’s stance against Liberation Theology in Central America is also well known .
            Their association with Hitler is historical fact.
            This Pope’s and the prior Pope’s anti-communism is fact .

            Why not hold up pictures of Hitler and Reagan alongside the Pope when he visits ?

            Catholicism is misogynist.
            Is that something you’d want in your future society
            Women hold up half the sky in my vision of the future.

            Catholicism officially practices the most unnatural sexual perversion: abstinence and unofficially (Though officially sanctioned ) practices pederasty.
            Do you have room in your future society for that ?
            I don’t
            Catholicism is based on the acceptance of the forced acceptance of the death of Christ for our sins which is illogical on the face of it.
            That’s the stuff of the dark ignorant past of humanity and runs counter to a society in which we are all responsible for our actions and where scapegoating has no place.

            I see no contradiction in being for socialism and against any and all anti-social organizations .
            If people don’t understand that then THEY have a problem .

            Compromising with the enemy is what the Stalinist Communist Parties did so that people would think better of them . I have no interest in following their strategies.

            Personally, I believe that we will reach our mutual goal but not in the way that most socialists or revolutionary socialists envision it will happen and it matters not a whit whether I do what I do, think how I think , write what I write and/or you do something different.

            I am very comfortable in the belief that the coming transformational change will clothesline a lot of people . We’re all looking ahead but because we collectively think in a linear fashion not many can see how that change will occur nor how fast . You might say it will be REVOLUTIONARY .

            I will check out your book, indeed I look forward to reading it but I do feel that any plans for the future no matter how rationally thought out or how grandiose are like planning renovations on your small shabby house when you’re about to win the lottery .

            No matter.
            IMO It’s all going to work out just fine. Better than fine.
            Fasten your seatbelt.

            F

  • One more observation: Remittances from Cuban exiles have tended to disproportionately be received by White cubans. This exacerbates the divide between the haves and the have-nots on the island along racial lines. Now, as Catholicism gains political and spiritual visibility in Cuba, again, disproportionately practiced by white cubans, does this not continue to blow the racial embers on the island. Black cubans tend to practice Santeria which, albeit widespread, does not carry the clout that Catholicism currently maintains.

    Reply

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