NEWS:  March 30, 2012

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Bird’s Eye View of the News

Atila Sinke Guimarães

BLUEPRINT FOR A PAPAL COMMUNISM  -   If someone wants the broad picture of Benedict’s trip to Cuba, he should insert it into the context of international politics. In the last year-and-a-half, the world has watched the toppling of military and civil tyrants who have oppressed their peoples in the East for decades: Mubarak in Egypt, Gadafi in Libya, Ben Ali in Tunisia. Syria is presently in a civil war to determine whether it rejects or maintains the dictator Assad.

The Unites States became deeply involved in these events by helping the rebels - politically, militarily and economically - to depose their governments. Before the political beheading of each of these dictators, a media campaign - both local and international - was unleashed and duly orchestrated to put public opinion on the side of the rebels. The accusations against the dictators in this media blast highlighted the poverty of the people, oppression, denial of liberty, elections and other human rights.

Eastern dictators fall one by one

The removal of Mubarack, Gadafi, Ali & the Assad pave the way for the toppling of the Castro Bros
In this toppling atmosphere, a simple gust of wind could move the global indignation from the Mediterranean dictators to the Caribbean, and transform the already uncomfortable condition of the two Communist tyrants of Cuba into a desperate situation. The antipathy toward those despots grows as the world and Cuba watch the violent repression of the few who dare oppose their regime – particularly the brutalities against the Damas de Blanco, wives and mothers of political prisoners who plea freedom for their husbands and sons. Sparks of this general anger have been flying on the Internet and reaching large media organs.

Added to this picture is the fact that the political-economical situation in Cuba is particularly bad, a fruit of the Communist system. This propitiates more dissatisfaction with the regime.

What could be done to save the two Caribbean Stalinists? Nothing could be better for the duo than a papal visit to bless them and show the world that they are good boys. This formula had already been applied many times by JPII. A few examples: In 1983 he supported a puny Jaruzelski in Poland; in 1989 he strengthened a floundering Gorbatchev by receiving him gloriously at the Vatican; in 1998, he went to Cuba to try to pressure America to lift the embargo and so bolstered its stunted economy. It is my opinion that Benedict XVI did something similar for the Castros in Cuba this week.

Similar I say, because Pope Wojtyla supported those radical regimes as such, and now, Benedict purports his aim is to change Cuban Communism. Let me analyze the facts.

The on flight “condemnation” of Marxism

As Benedict was flying to Mexico on March 23, a reporter asked, “May Cuba open to the world and may the world open to Cuba?” He was converting to a question the final words of the speech John Paul II delivered in 1998 at the Plaza de la Revolution in Havana.

Onboard the papal flight to Mexico

On his flight to Mexico B16 made sensational and misleading statements
Pope Ratzinger answered: “It is clear today that Marxist ideology as it was conceived no longer responds to reality. In this way we can no longer respond and build a society. New models must be found, patiently and constructively. In this process, which requires patience but also firmness, we wish to make our contribution in a spirit of dialogue, in order to avoid traumas and facilitate the way to a fraternal and just society for all people. Obviously, the Church is always on the side of freedom, freedom of conscience, freedom of religion. ... The faithful can also contribute to the progress of this journey” (VIS, Reuters, March 23, 2012; Los Angeles Times, March 24, 2012, p. AA2).

These words cannot be interpreted as an anti-communist statement. The criticism is not about any of the principles of Marxism, but of its functionality. It is “constructive” criticism to help Communist Cuba to adapt itself to a new system where things will work better. It is the opposite of a threat to topple the regime. It is a guarantee that – with the help of the Church and the support of the Catholic population – the government can continue on without traumas and slowly become better.

I wonder which model the Pope was referring to when he said new models must be found to replace the Marxist one that is rulling Cuba. Regarding mere effectiveness, the model of Chinese Communism with its slave work force but a controlled openness to Capitalism has been quite successful. Or perhaps the one dominating Russia - with its “democracy” and “religious liberty” - was the improved model indicated by the Pope. The old Polish brand of Communism in force until 1989 – which was not so productive, it is true, but very open to the Church – should not be excluded from the list.

Another is the red model being applied in Brazil for the last nine years. Indeed, Cardinal Arns, the patron of thousands of Base Christian Communities and adepts of Liberation Theology, supported the election of the Marxist candidate Lula as President of Brazil. Arns happens to be a very close friend of Fidel Castro, which can make it easier for Cuba to adopt the Brazilian model. Lula’s mentor was Dominican Frei Beto, who also is a good friend of the Castro brothers and inspired some timid steps taken toward liberalization in Cuba.

So, what Benedict encouraged the Cuban regime to do was in no way to abandon Communism and adopt Capitalism, but to study what new model of Communism would better fit its needs to enter the path of greater productivity and a general liberalization.

Anti-Capitalist tone of the visit

As soon as he arrived in Cuba on March 26, Benedict was greeted by the dictator Raul Castro. Supposedly showing a “great openness” to religious values, he mentioned the role Our Lady of the Charity plays in Cuban history. Then he went on to lambast Capitalism, while praising Benedict XVI. Raul said:

Raul and Fidel Castro with Pope Benedict

A great papal effort to present the Caribbean dictators in a good light
“Finances are an oppressive power… Instead of solidarity, a systematic crisis caused by irrational consumerism spreads in opulent societies. A very small part of the world population accumulates enormous richness while the ranks of the poor, the hungry, the sick without health care and the abandoned increase.

“In the industrialized world the ‘indignant’ can no longer bear the injustice. Especially among the youth, there is an ever-growing distrust of the social models and ideologies that destroy spiritual values and generate exclusion and selfishness. …

“It is certain that the global crisis also has a moral dimension and that there is a lack of connection between the governments and the citizens they claim to serve. The corruption of politics and the absence of true democracy are evils of our time.

“On this and on other topics we are in agreement with your ideas [the ideas of Pope Benedict]” (L’Osservatore Romano, March 28, 2012, p. 10).

To these words, the Pope responded with a still more violent attack against Capitalism, indirectly blaming it for the fiasco of Cuban economy. Here is how he answered Castro in his first address in Cuba:

“Today many parts of the world are experiencing a time of particular economic difficulty, which not a few people regard as part of a profound spiritual and moral crisis that has left humanity devoid of values and defenseless before the ambition and selfishness of certain powers that do not care about the true welfare of persons and families. We can no longer continue in the same cultural and moral direction that has caused the painful situation we are all experiencing” (L’Osservatore Romano, March 28, 2012, p. 10).

Therefore, both leaders agree that what should disappear is Capitalism, not Communism, and still less Cuban Communism.

Upon leaving Havana for Rome, March 28, Benedict turned to attack the U.S. embargo against Cuba. Speaking about the lack of material resources in Cuba, he emphasized that this situation “is worsened when restrictive economic measures, imposed from outside the country, unfairly burden the people” (L’Osservatore Romano, March 30, p. 1).

Changes already made or on their way

His entire stay on the Island can be summarized as a support for the measures the regime has taken favoring the Church and a request for more liberty.

For example, in the Sanctuary of the Virgin of the Charity during his visit on March 27, Pope Ratzinger alluded to changes underway:

Repression in Cuba overlooked by the Pope

A Cuban expressed his anger with the regime to the Pope, only to be ignored by him and imprisoned by the police
“Let all those you know, whether far or near, be aware that I have entrusted to the Mother of God the future of your country, which is advancing along the road of renewal and hope for the greater good of all Cubans (L’Osservatore Romano, March 29, p.8).

In his homily at the Mass said in Havana’s Revolution Square on March 28, he was more explicit:

“We must recognize with joy that in Cuba steps have been taken to enable the Church to carry out her essential mission of expressing her faith publicly and openly. Nonetheless, this must continue forward, and I want to encourage the country’s authorities to strengthen what has been achieved and to advance along this path of genuine service to the common good of the whole of Cuban society” L’Osservatore Romano, March 30, 2012, p. 8)

Support of the Church

In exchange for the liberties Benedict asked for the Church and citizens, he promised the full support of the Church and Catholics. For example, in the same homily at the Revolution Square he stated:

“The right to religious liberty, both in its private and communitarian dimension, manifests the unity of the human person, who is simultaneously a citizen and a believer. It also legitimizes the believers to offer their contribution for the building of society. … It is to be hoped that the moment will soon arrive where, here too, the Church can extend to the fields of knowledge the benefits of the mission that the Lord entrusted to her." (ibid.)

As he departed Havana for Rome, the Pope further remarked: “May the light of the Lord … foster social harmony and allow the blossoming of all that is finest in the Cuban soul, its noblest values, which can be the basis for building a society with broad horizons, renewed and reconciled. May no one be prevented from taking up this exciting task because of limitations of his fundamental liberties, or be excused from it because of indolence or lack of material recourses.” (L’Osservatore Romano, March 30, p.8).

A corrected Communism…

It is not difficult to see that Benedict went to Cuba to save the regime and encourage the installment of a better model of Communism with the two Castro Bros. This collaboration is meant to proceed forward without trauma, little by little, under the aegis of a Church preaching the rights of man promoted by the French Revolution.

In this Communist-Catholic regime, no one knows what the role of private property will be. Not a single word was said about it, although this is one of the most fundamental points that distinguishes Catholicism from Communism.

Today the bad regime that can no longer be sustained is Capitalism.

Even more than in the previous anti-Capitalists statements of Pope Ratzinger, his remarks on this trip reveal the total inversion of the Church’s position on social-political regimes. Under Pius XI the Church defined that Communism is intrinsically evil and Catholics cannot work with it. Capitalism has defects and many abuses, but intrinsically follows the Natural Order; Catholics can work with it, correcting and improving it.

Now, it is Communism that can be corrected and Capitalism that is intrinsically evil. It is hard to believe that we are reading the teachings of the same Church.


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