Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Recently I was speaking with a priest friend with whom I travel about going to Cuba one day. It appears Pope Francis has interceded for us in this regard! I have a couple of Cuban friends who won't like this, but I think it will be a win win opportunity for everyone and a door being pried open for more freedoms in Cuba!


Anonymous said...

Hooray for Barack, Raul,Francis. All we are saying, is give peace a chance....

Gene said...

Yes, the Pope is all about Communism and Communist countries. Maybe he can make Obama the Papal nuncio to Cuba.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

One of the concerns voiced during Pope Benedict's papacy was the decline in Vatican initiatives on the world stage on the behalf of peoples and peace. I'm not sure this was actually the case behind the scenes but here was cynicism about the Vatican and Vatican diplomacy. I am sure one of the mandates of the cardinals in the synod was the reestablishment of the Vatican as a potent force for goodwill and peace in the world and I think we have seen with Pope Francis a huge, bigger than huge, stride in this area. I don't remember the last time I hear a sitting president thank by name a pope for enabling normalacy in relations between countries.

And I have to agree with President Obama, the USA has normal relations with China, had it with the Soviet Union and we could even travel behind the iron curtain prior to its fall, such as Eastern Europe and East Berlin. We are able to travel to Viet Nam if we desire!

It is ridiculous that we haven't had similar type relations with Cuba!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

cardinals in the conclave, not synod...

Gene said...

Cue music: "I'd like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony, grow apple trees and honey bees,
And snow-white turtle doves…" *toke* *toke*

Paul said...

For a couple of weeks during the 1936 Olympics Germany presented an open and cosmopolitan society. Germany knew otherwise, the world didn't.

Talking is, generally, a good thing but only if the participating parties know and in the proper context of what they're talking about.

Would Satan and its followers talk of "peace", "freedom" and "prosperity"? Absolutely.

I will always call into question all of the motives of anyone of authority who permits (or champions) the "right" to kill 4,000 innocent children per day in the USA alone.

Anonymous said...

Paul...ween you said
anyone of authority" who did you mean?

Templar said...

Looking for the silver lining in a dark cloud I guess I should be glad for any time Francis spends fouling up the political arena as it's time spent away from speaking heresy about Catholic Doctrine.

Daniel said...

On this issue, of course, the Holy Father is just following in John Paul II and Benedict's footsteps.

Paul said...

Who would "anyone of authority" be?

Those people would include: Priests, elected or appointed government officials (in a legitimate government), those who authority has been bestowed upon them for service, knowledge, experience or need.

Authority, from Latin auctoritas.

Is Anonymous an authority?

Andrew said...

There is a difference between negotiation and appeasement – today, the Bishop of Rome helped cement communist (aka the Castro family) rule in Cuba.

Maybe the Holy Father can help solve the Falkland Island question?

I wonder what would happen?

The Holy See is doing what our less ecumenical Protestant brothers and sisters have always accused. To use the merciful language of the Holy Father, she is becoming more and more like the Misunderstood, Complex, and Nuanced Professional Woman of Babylon.

Anonymous said...

A pretty snotty reply, Paul, but thanks.

Thanks for the Latin too. Are you an authority? I noticed that the first authority you noted was "priest". Are you a priest?

Gene said...

Anonymous complaining about snot is like a hog complaining about mud.

Gene said...

When is the Pope going to speak about the thousands of Cuban political prisoners who have rotted in prison and died there at the hands of the Cuban regime? Or about the terror spread by government thugs intimidating political enemies and threatening their families? Talk to some of the Cuban families that fled Castro... Let's rename this guy Pope Che the First.

Rood Screen said...

Pope Benedict went to Cuba. That was surely a peaceful move on his part.

Gene said...

Yeah, but Benedict did not try to influence US policy, either.

Marie said...

" I should be glad for any time Francis spends fouling up the political arena as it's time spent away from speaking heresy about Catholic Doctrine."


John Nolan said...

The Holy See (not the Vatican, strictly speaking) is an important and experienced diplomatic player on the world stage, the more so since the end of the papacy's temporal power nearly 150 years ago. In the 1970s I was very critical of the Ostpolitik pursued by Paul VI and Cardinal Casaroli, and there are still aspects of it which I find regrettable, notably the treatment of Cardinals Mindszenty and Slipyi. But recent studies and the (posthumous) publication of Casaroli's own writings show that many of us at the time were too quick to condemn the cardinal as a fellow-traveller who was 'soft on Communism'. Similarly there are those today who still condemn the Concordats with pre-war Italy and Germany and believe the Soviet disinformation campaign against Pius XII which gained wide currency with Rolf Hochhut's 1963 play 'Der Stellvertreter'. In 1965, a year after Casaroli and the Hungarian regime exchanged protocols, Paul VI said (significantly from the Catacombs of Domitilla):

'The Holy See abstains from raising its voice more frequently and vehemently in legitimate protest and disapproval, not because it ignores or overlooks the reality of the situation, but for the sake of a mind inspired by Christian patience, and in order not to provoke worse evils.'

Normalization of relations with Cuba is not something dreamed up by Obama. Earlier this month HMS Argyll paid an official 'Defence Engagement visit' to Havana.

One of Pope Francis's first acts was to appoint an experienced diplomat, Pietro Parolin, as Secretary of State. The best thing the Pope could do now would be to take a back seat - as we all know, tact and diplomacy are not his strongest cards.

The main challenge to the Church and the world in the 21st century does not come from tinpot pseudo-Marxist states like Cuba. Think militant Islam.

Anonymous said...

Father McDonald,

Normalizing relations without any concessions is irresponsible and a betrayal of those who are suffering under the tyranny of a murderous atheistic regime and to the memory of all those who were tortured victims. I'd like to think that the Pope voiced objection to giving away the store without at least some commitment from the Castro brothers on religious and human rights. But I'd be shocked if he did. In terms of dealing with communist regimes I think Will Rogers said it best; "The USA would sell pitchforks to the devil if it knew it could make a profit." We unfortunately have a history of lousy negotiation with Marxists that began with Woody Wilson through Carter.

Before you rush to support our basketball player president for his duplicitous diplomacy I think there is a difference in dealing with world powers on the other side of the world and bootlickin' a troublemaker from an island nation that is 90 miles off your border.


George said...

' and in order not to provoke worse evils.'

One of the reasons the Holy See has taken the diplomatic approach it has in certain parts of the world (the Middle East for instance) is out of consideration for Catholics who are a minority residing in countries where they could easily find themselves in circumstances where practicing the Faith is difficult, if not impossible.
For Catholics in Iraq and Syria, this has become the reality.

Anonymous said...

And what would JPII think of such a move, given with how he acted on behalf of Poland? Am I just imagining it, or did JPII have a healthy knowledge and repugnance of communism the current Pope doesn't share?

Gene said...

Wow, Mike…I think you just nailed it.

Daniel said...

History lesson for Bee: John Paul II worked to build bridges between the East and West, not to put up new barriers or take down the old ones. The U.S. had normal diplomatic relations with both Poland and the USSR throughout his papal years and he made no attempt to change that. Arguably, the Soviet dictatorship of that time was more brutal and cruel than Cuba's today, but even the Vatican maintained diplomatic relations. So your objections, and others before yours, ignore history and make no sense.

Daniel said...

Gene, Pope Benedict did most certainly speak out against the US embargo, when visiting Cuba two years ago.

Knowing history is dangerous thing.

MARCH 2012

Pope Benedict criticises US trade embargo on Cuba

Pope Benedict XVI has criticised the 50-year-old US trade embargo imposed on Cuba, as he ends a visit to the island.

The Pope called for greater rights in Cuba, saying he wanted a society in which no-one was denied basic freedoms.

This aim was not helped by economic measures which "unfairly burden" Cuba's people, he said.

Earlier, Pope Benedict met Cuba's revolutionary leader and former president, Fidel Castro, and celebrated Mass in front of vast crowds in Havana.

The Pontiff made his parting comments in the airport in Havana, in the presence of the current president, Raul Castro.

He said all Cubans should be able to share in "forging a society of wide horizons, renewed and reconciled".

"No-one should feel excluded from taking up this exciting search by the limitations of their basic freedoms, or excused from this by indolence or a lack of material resources - a situation which is worsened when restrictive economic measures, imposed from outside the country, unfairly burden its people," he said.

The US trade embargo, known as the blockade or "el bloqueo" in Spanish, was introduced soon after the 1959 Revolution.

The crowd in Revolution Square was a mixture of the devoted and the dutiful, some having been bussed in by local party officials.

When the Pope arrived, he was driven around the square in his glass-sided car as the crowd surged forward to catch a glimpse. Many Cubans are religious, even if the majority are not strict Catholics.

In the Vatican's own subtle way, this has been a chance to bolster its standing on the island while also gently pushing the case for reform.

It is something which cannot come quickly enough for many Cubans who hope that this visit, like that of Pope John Paul II 14 years ago, will bring basic improvements to people's everyday lives.

It was strengthened in 1962, with the support of Cubans who had fled to the United States, after Fidel Castro's Cuba nationalised the properties of American citizens and corporations.

Earlier, Pope Benedict met the revolutionary leader and former president.

The meeting was described by a Vatican spokesman as "animated and cordial", with the two men even sharing a joke about their ages.

According to the spokesman, Federico Lombardi, they discussed Church liturgy and the inability of science to solve all future challenges.

He said Fidel Castro, wearing a track suit, had said he was glad that Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa of Calcutta had been set on the way to sainthood "because both did a lot for Cuba, especially Mother Teresa, who gave her life for the poorest of the poor".

But it does not appear that the Pope directly raised the political questions that he has been addressing in his sermons.

Anonymous said...

Daniel: I was referring to the defeat of communism in Poland by the work done by JPII and his support, personally, of Solidarnosc and Lech Walensa, not work done by Vatican diplomacy. It is well known JPII did all he could to defeat communism in Poland, even if he had to be careful in doing so. In making my comment, I was trying to point out Pope Francis, by contrast, did nothing personally to end communist rule in Cuba, but only to encourage diplomatic ties. And so, in my mind at least, the difference in their actions perhaps suggests differing tolerance for Marxist ideologies between the two Popes.

Gene said...

Daniel, Obama and the press are bragging about the Pope's support for the admin's policies. Look, you can yak all you like, this Pope is a closet Marxist and is too enamored of Third World dictators. Why has he not spoken out about Cuban torture of political prisoners, the countless abuses of political opponents, the squalid jails and prisons? He is so busy snuggling up to Muzzies and Commies that he misses the point completely.