Cuba and the Catholic Church’s “Selfless” Help

by Fernando Ravsberg

Photo: Raquel Perez Diaz

HAVANA TIMES — The Cuban press appears to be re-editing that old maxim of “the selfless aid of the Soviet Union,” replacing the USSR with the Vatican. It remains to be seen whether they’ll be able to “sell” citizens the illusion of such help once again.

The political influence of the Catholic Church is bound to continue growing in Cuba. Some years ago, Catholic dissident Oswaldo Paya warned Cubans that the Church was starting to behave like a political party and condemned it for “wanting to replace the opposition.”

Behind the political leadership sought by the Cuban clergy and Vatican we find – among other things – the desire to evangelize citizens and to spread the philosophy and values of the Church (some of which are as positive as fraternity, mercy and the care of the elderly and ill).

These issues have already been extensively addressed by the island’s official press, which seems to be in a kind of honeymoon with the Church. Here, I will play the “devil’s advocate” (some will feel there’s no better term for it, given the context), delving into the other aspects of Catholic doctrine.

It is no accident that, in the course of 17 years, 3 Popes have visited Cuba, a country in which the Catholic Church has never been able to draw many devout. Photo: Raquel Perez Diaz

Blogger Harold Cardenas, to mention one example, revealed what the Pope thinks about the union of people of the same gender. Pope Francis wrote that fighting against such unions is a “holy war” (does he mean a jihad?) and that “the devil” is behind the legalization of same-sex marriages.

Curiously, a group of Cuban experts drew up a new Family Code that, among other things, recognizes the union of people of the same sex. A decade later, the Cuban parliament hasn’t even bothered to discuss it. Is this a mere coincidence?

Increased influence by religious institutions will affect more than the gay community. The Catholic Church is also opposed to the distribution of condoms and, for the purposes of preventing the spread of AIDS, Pope Benedict XVI suggested sexual abstinence by single persons and strict fidelity among married couples.

If the doctrine of the Church were imposed on Cuba, we’d start seeing long lines of people waiting to confess, as sex outside of marriage is considered a grave sin. Cubans will likely continue to make love, but they will do so with guilt and plenty of confessions, as God decrees!

Of course, if they could, the first thing they would prohibit is abortion. I recall Pope John Paul II say in Cuba that abortion is a crime. Thus, all Cuban women who have had abortions will go straight to hell, as though we were back in the time of King Herod.

The Catholic Church converts its devout from birth, when one cannot decide for oneself what life philosophy to adopt. Photo: Raquel Perez Diaz

For the Vatican, children are a gift from God, even when carried by a 9-year-old child left pregnant by a rapist. The “merciful” Catholic Church excommunicated the child, her parents and the doctors involved because they arranged an abortion for her to save her life.

Needless to say, they also make no concessions for divorce, because, “no one is entitled to tear asunder what God put together.” The problem is that God seems to make plenty of mistakes in his amorous experiments and no one wants to spend the rest of their lives bearing the cross of his error.

It would be hard to convince Cubans to renounce their right to divorce or persuade women to accept waiving their right to decide over their maternity. They would need to change people’s mentalities, and you can only achieve that through the media and education.

It is clearly no coincidence that the Catholic Church has set up schools in its parishes, while applying pressure to have religious authorities be appointed to all levels of the country’s educational system and secure a permanent space on television and the radio.

This is no evil plan designed to harm Cubans. On the contrary, they mean to “save” them. The problem is that those who have never raised a family are the ones dispensing the advice, and they insist that all those without children ought to have them.

If the Catholic Church were to be granted a permanent space on TV, it would be fair for the practitioners of Santeria to be granted the same benefit, to broadcast the yearly predictions Cubans are so interested in, For instance. Photo: Raquel Pérez Díaz

Every month, the Catholic Church loses thousands of followers across Latin America owing to its archaic doctrines, doctrines it can take to Cuba to continue down the road traced before the revolution, when divorce and abortion laws were approved.

Every time religion partners up with political power, scientists are burnt at the stake, entire peoples perish in bloody crusades, the massacre of indigenous populations is sanctified, slavery is justified, a holy war on gay marriage is declared and raped children are stigmatized.

The ironic thing is that, 2,000 years ago, the founder of this religion suggested the separation of Church and State, for the benefit of both. “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s,” the son of the carpenter wisely said.

5 thoughts on “Cuba and the Catholic Church’s “Selfless” Help

  • John, since you have so deftly described what capitalism is, would you deign to share with the unenlightened your definition of socialism and cite your source please?

  • Billionaires don’t lead to $2 a day earnings. If Cuba had 50 billionaires spending money building economicly competitive businesses, the country would be wealthier. Their employees would make more than $2 a day.

    A system that forsakes spirituality ultimately degrades to one where only materialism matters. Combine that with need for everyone having exactly the same things and you have a dysfunctional society. We are not ants. We don’t need everything to be the same to be happy.

    Communism has failed. The Soviets Union collapsed in 1991 from years of built up failures of one central plan after another. The hold outs from that era are also moving to state capitalist systems based on a monetized economy. Some level of socialism can be supported by a working economy, it just can’t be the central driver of the economy. Look at Central America’s leftist economies as they struggle with too much crony interference. And look at the basket case that is Venezuela. They can turn back or implode, their choice.

  • You cannot name a religion that is not sexually repressive.
    Communism has no need of a fictitious god nor does any rational person.
    Communism is an ECONOMIC system and like your beloved free-enterprise capitalism, God does not enter, is not necessary for its practice
    Capitalism is about amassing profits regardless of its negative effects on people and obviously goes against Christian principles, .
    The Church teaches fictions which is not a healthy thing.
    The truth is always preferable to legends and fantasies.
    You are conflating “jealousy” with the bitter feeling one gets when some people have billons of dollars and millions of children die of starvation because they don’t have $2.00 a day to eat under capitalism.
    The crazy right-wing radio hosts on U.S. TV also talk about the left waging “class warfare” i.e. complaining about the horrendous wealth divide between the 1% and the billions of poor when the problem IS that immoral wealth divide and not people “jealous ” ( the correct word is envious) about that wealth divide.
    Again -since we’re discussing the Church, the Bible says “Ye cannot worship God and mammon”

  • Fernando writes as if it were some 90% of Cubans and not the 20% or so who attend Catholic Church services and who would chose to follow teachings of the Church like birth control and abortion that have become ignored in a Cuba which has outgrown its childish need for an Eternal Father.
    Still, the Pope THIS Pope appears to be practicing what Christ taught : helping the poor, visiting those in prison, comforting the afflicted and because Cuba does provide the necessities of life, especially to the poorest, those Christian principles have much in common with Cuban government policy.
    This is unlike any other CAPITALIST country.
    U.S. right-wing talk radio is just having fits about the Pope rightfully bashing capitalism> Faux News host Sean Hannity, himself a (self-professed) Catholic said that this Pope was a huge disappointment to him and that Francisco the Pope was “perhaps naïve” about the greatness of capitalism .
    This Pope stands a good chance of assassination by someone on that crazy far right should he persist in bashing capitalism and the policies of the United States and becomes effective; sways the general public. .

  • The Church is unlikely to get far with several sexual restrictions. Other parts of the dogma will fair better in Cuba. Communism is a godless empty experience. The Church can fill that void while underpinning a very similar ethos as the revolution. China is doing something similar with rebirth of it’s ancient religous traditions. That’s the thing with communism, it is not just a failed economic model, it leads to an empty materialism full of jealousy.

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