President Raul Castro, replete with Soviet-style honours gave a rambling speech on the glories and achievements of Marxist-Leninist Cuba. The Holy father, on the other hand, offered the President and the Cuban nation the truth of Christ. Developing earlier themes of his Pontificate regarding a false anthropology, a false humanism - the Holy Father stresses Cuba's glorious Catholic heritage and the deepest aspect of the Cuban soul being devoted to Mary. In some ways the Pope's welcoming address reminded me of Pope John Paul's addresses to General Jaruzelski following the imposition of martial law.Years later, the General confessed to be shaking with anxiety over the encounter.
The Holy Father pointed out that Cuba is at a cross-roads - continue down the road of sixties-style Soviet delusions or truly allow the Catholic Church to release Her dynamic power of re-evangelizing the nation. No man has full control over a nation; each and every person is a moral agent - yet, the Castro brothers have enormous influence. May they see the Church as the greatest friend of Cuba. May they return to the Faith of their forefathers and - since Christ always offers the Graces of repentance and conversion - assist the Church to revitalize that small island nation. The Castro brothers have an extraordinary opportunity (grace?) to strengthen the nation. If not, Cuba will fall prey to the forces of a degrading form of secularism that is haunting western Europe, Canada, the United States (the so-called "West").
|Pope Benedict and President Raul Castro: Welcoming Ceremony, Cuba 2012|
Many parts of the world today are experiencing a time of particular economic difficulty, that not a few people regard as part of a profound spiritual and moral crisis which has left humanity devoid of values and defenceless before the ambition and selfishness of certain powers which take little account of the true good of individuals and families. We can no longer continue in the same cultural and moral direction which has caused the painful situation that many suffer. On the other hand, real progress calls for an ethics which focuses on the human person and takes account of the most profound human needs, especially man’s spiritual and religious dimension. In the hearts and minds of many, the way is thus opening to an ever greater certainty that the rebirth of society demands upright men and women of firm moral convictions, with noble and strong values who will not be manipulated by dubious interests and who are respectful of the unchanging and transcendent nature of the human person. Dear friends, I am convinced that Cuba, at this moment of particular importance in its history, is already looking to the future, and thus is striving to renew and broaden its horizons.