Archive for the ‘Catholic Church’ Category
Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to step down from his office was made soon after his trip to Mexico and Cuba in March 2012, according to a senior communications officer at the Vatican.
“What’s interesting is how long ago this decision was made, shortly after the Pope’s trip to Cuba, which was in March of last year,” said Vatican advisor Greg Burke.
Again, just to give some historical perspective, the last time this happened, Gutenberg hadn’t yet invented the printing press. What does it mean for the Catholic Church today, with 1.2 billion faithful and the state of the Vatican in the balance? Administratively, not much.
But, does Benedict get to keep his Twitter hnadle, @Pontifex?
While a federal appeals court ruled that
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius cannot enforce the Obamacare contraception mandate as it is written, but must follow through on a promise to rewrite the rule to accommodate religious liberty,
the cost of Obamacare could drive the Little Sisters of the Poor out of the US before the regulation is rewritten,
They [the judges] ruled that the Obama administration must rewrite the regulation by August 2013 and provide updates to the court every 60 days. If the government fails to do so, the lawsuits may proceed.
Even then, it may not help.
The nuns employ people of many denominations, which makes them ineligible for the exemption being granted churches. They have 300 sisters who tend to the elderly in 30 U.S. cities.
That’s what you get when, in order to know what’s in it, you have to pass a mandate.
Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart.
— Benedict XVI (@Pontifex) December 12, 2012
Holy Week in the island prison:
At least 43 Cuban dissidents have been arrested in areas near where Pope Benedict XVI visited last week, dissidents said Tuesday, as the United States urged their immediate release.
“We have been able to confirm that 43 opposition members have been detained — 10 women and 33 men — in a crackdown on Monday in the Santiago de Cuba area. All remain under arrest,” said Elizardo Sanchez, head of the outlawed but tolerated Cuban Human Rights and National Reconciliation Commission.
The visit raises two sets of questions,
One of those sets of questions involves the Church’s role in Cuba in the next several years. The second set of questions involves the future of the papacy.
Yeah, yeah, now the Pope’s given another Mass in Havana’s Revolution Square, right under the Che monument (Che monument soon to get a Galway branch, like a bank). Benedict gave lip service to hope and change.
Raul Castro got the photo-op of his lifetime, getting a Papal blessing, even when Hugo Chavez didn’t attend,
and Fidel Castro got a private audience with the Pope
The meeting followed Benedict’s open-air Mass in the same public square where a younger, healthier Castro once delivered official speeches that lasted for hours and frequently railed against the United States.
Here’s a photo,
For Christ’s sake.
Benedict turned a deaf ear to the people clamoring for freedom – in the video above you can hear the chant of “libertad, libertad” (freedom, freedom).
The Catholic Church remains silent on arrest of protestor and hundreds of dissidents in Cuba, yet,
Unofficial reports also seem to confirm the future saint Fidel’s first miracle: the instantaneous disappearance from the island of the Ladies in White and all dissidents.
I wouldn’t know about the hand of God.
But going by the evidence, one can safely conclude that the Pope sure doesn’t have b*lls.
Did Benedict meet Hugo?
Pope Blesses Cancer-Stricken Chavez in Cuba, Journalist Says (h/t Venezuela News & Views)
The alleged meeting, which Bocaranda first reported was in the works on March 25, was arranged by Venezuelan diplomats who used to work at the South American nation’s mission to the Vatican, the journalist said. All participants agreed the brief meeting would be without media coverage, Bocaranda said.
Plenty of time to meet the Communists, no time for anyone else.
Not only in Cuba, but also in Mexico,
Pope may have political agenda in Mexico visit
In Mexico, where he arrives Friday, the pope is expected to bolster a close ally, Mexico’s president, the devout Catholic Felipe Calderon, and his beleaguered ruling party, running behind in the polls for upcoming elections.
There is the issue of the pedophile scandals,
Pope Benedict XVI arrives in Mexico Friday to a very public reminder of one of the Catholic Church’s most egregious sex abuse scandals: A new book says internal Vatican documents show the Holy See knew decades ago of allegations that the Mexican founder of the disgraced Legion of Christ religious order was a drug addict and pedophile.
The documentation has been compiled in a book “La voluntad de no saber’’ (“The will to not know’’), which is coauthored by Jose Barba, a former Legion priest who along with other priests in 1998 brought a church trial against the Legion’s founder, the Rev. Marciel Maciel, for having sexually abused them while they were seminarians.
While details of the abuse were made public years ago, the new documents seem to solidify proof that the Vatican knew of the allegations long before taking action.
Excerpts of the book were published by the Mexican magazine Proceso on Sunday.
“The importance of this book is that it documents the irrefutable evidence and proof that the Vatican has been lying about Maciel,’’ said Bernardo Barranco, an expert from the Religious Studies Center of Mexico and author of the prologue of the new text.
Additionally, the Pope’s visit to Mexico refocuses attention on narco-church relations
Priests have to report suspicious donations to their dioceses, but the power of the drug cartels means it is not that simple
Pope Benedict comes to show Rome’s backing for a politically savvy cardinal who is pushing – ever so gently – for change on the communist-run island.
“Politically savvy” cardinals get to make speeches on government propaganda TV stations but are not agents for change in Communist countries: Cardinal Wyszynski (h/t Babalu) in Poland was not a “politically savvy” appeaser and instead was an agent for change
Throughout the Communist era, the Catholic Church in Poland was a bastion of freedom and a source of protection from and opposition to the Communist authorities. Activists received protection from the Church and refuge in churches across the nation. Throughout those years the Church grew in strength and influence. It emerged from the communist era not only as the highest moral authority but also as the most powerful institution in the country.
Czech Bishop Vaclav Maly, along with dozens of world dignitaries have also demanded the release of Cuba’s political prisoners ahead of the Pope’s visit. Instead, the Cuban government is preparing for the Papal visit as they only know how: The papal visit has unleashed more repression, and Cardinal Ortega is saying nothing.
The Vatican claims that the Pope’s trip to Cuba will help democracy. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s secretary of state, naively believes that the Cuban regime will not exploit the papal photo-ops for propaganda purposes.
The only way that won’t be the case is if the Pope names the dissidents in his sermon and then assertively goes and meets the dissidents in the middle of an official press conference.
The Pope can meet with Cuban dissidents if he so desires.
But, will he?
Post re-redacted with more links.
I’ll restore this week’s posts shortly. Thank you for your patience.
As readers of this blog know, the Ladies in White have requested to meet with the Pope during his visit to Cuba,
Numerous other Christians on the island have made similar requests. From the U.S., Yale Prof. Carlos Eire wrote a powerful plea on behalf of the Ladies for National Review Online on March 5: “Like the Canaanite woman who cried out to Jesus, ‘Lord, help me!’ or the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’s robe in hope of a cure, they are reaching out, full of faith, begging against all odds. In an island where everyone has been turned into a beggar, they beg for the rarest and most precious gift of all: your presence.” Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega’s office told the Ladies in White that the pope’s schedule is too tight.
Some dissidents wonder whose side the cardinal is on. In recent years he was instrumental in helping the regime deport scores of political prisoners who had become a liability for the regime’s image. Though he recently offered a Mass for ailing Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez, Ms. Soler’s request for a Mass for deceased dissidents has gone unanswered.
The cardinal has said that the purpose of the trip is “a new evangelization” and of course spreading the gospel is the Lord’s work. But it is hard to see how converts will be won if the pope snubs the marginalized and schmoozes with the powerful.
On Thursday, 13 Christians holed up inside Our Lady of Charity of Cobre church in Havana to demand that the pope hear their grievances against the regime were forcibly removed by police, reportedly at the request of Cardinal Ortega. Then on Friday the Vatican announced that if Fidel Castro wants to meet, “the pope will be available.”
Unless he has something up his sleeve, the visit may turn out to be a gross miscalculation. Cubans know that they are hostages in their own country. If the pope is perceived as going along with this big lie, it will only heighten the sense of betrayal toward Cardinal Ortega and it will do nothing to strengthen the Church in Cuba.
Here is the text of Carlos Eire’s letter, which I posted a couple of weeks ago before the blog crashed,
His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI 27 February 2012
00120 Vatican City
Most Holy Father:
I’m writing to thank you for your upcoming visit to Cuba. It is very heartening to know that you will be visiting eleven million prisoners. After all, that whole island is a prison, and all of its inhabitants prisoners.
I write not only as a Cuban but as one of your flock and as a scholar. The professorship I hold here at Yale University – named after Yale’s first Catholic chaplain – is the chair in Catholic studies. Oddly enough, many at this very secular university think that I am your nuncio and in constant contact with you, simply because I hold the Catholic chair.
So, I am now finally doing what they think I often do, writing to you.
All of the imprisoned in Cuba need your visit, desperately. Your physical presence will do much to uplift their spirits, and give them a glimpse of the world beyond their salt-water prison walls, perhaps even a glimmer of The Kingdom of Heaven itself, especially when you celebrate the holy sacrifice of the Mass and Christ is made present among them.
You will have to meet with the tyrants, jailers, and executioners, of course. That is inevitable. Not much has changed since Our Lord said “See, I am sending you out like sheep among wolves,” The tyrants and their henchmen will probably attend Mass, as they did when your predecessor the Venerable John Paul II visited the island some years ago.
These men need you too, in their own twisted way. They hope your visit will lend them an aura of legitimacy, fatten their coffers, and fool the world into thinking that they are not tyrants after all.
Many of your predecessors have dealt with such men, under worse circumstances. We Cubans know that those will not be easy moments for you. But our prayers will accompany every step you take, and every handshake too. And we are confident that the Holy Spirit will help you deal with these wolves as Our Lord Jesus Christ advised nearly two thousand years ago, when he told his disciples to be “as cunning as serpents yet as innocent as doves.”
I have but one request: please meet with the Ladies in White while you are in Cuba. They have asked for this themselves, through your nuncio Monsignor Bruno Musaro, with whom they met a few weeks ago. Bless them with your presence, please, Most Holy Father. They are brave beyond belief; but, subjected as they are to constant physical and mental abuse, and to the constant threat of imprisonment or death, they are in dire need of your blessing.
As you well know, they are often attacked and beaten and prevented from attending church; sometimes they’ve even been attacked inside churches. They are living out the gospel, at a high cost, laying their lives down for their brethren. Like the Canaanite woman who cried out to Jesus, ‘Lord, help me!’ or the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’s robe in hope of a cure, they are reaching out, full of faith, begging against all odds. In an island where everyone has been turned into a beggar, they beg for the rarest and most precious gift of all: your presence.
And, oh, what a sight that would be for all the world to see! You and the Ladies in White together. What a jolt to the senses: an image so unexpected, it might restore sight to those blinded by hate, perhaps, or stem the flow of blood that has stained that beautiful prison island for far too long. It might even make demons flee, too.
Your power as Vicar of Christ is unique. You command the world’s attention. You serve as the world’s conscience. Your public acknowledgment of the Ladies in White could change the course of history. They pray for that; we all pray for it too, along with them. I, a beggar, driven from my homeland fifty years ago, join the bold Ladies in begging. We beg like the blind man who would not stop crying out to Jesus and yelled all the louder when told to shut up.
And we beg in the name of Jesus, hoping you will hear our voices above the din made by those who want us not to be seen or heard.
Humbly yours, in Christ,
Carlos M. N. Eire
T. Lawrason Riggs Professor of History and Religious Studies
My translation, which was sent to the Ladies in White for them to read in Spanish,
Babalu is all over this story. Make sure to check them for updates.
And in other Cuba news,
Venezuela to Extradite Salvadoran Terror Suspect to Cuba