Thursday, January 24, 2008

Church and politics

Cuba’s Catholic church takes a lot of heat from people outside Cuba who say it is not doing enough to promote political change inside Cuba. Some of that criticism is based on current events, and on a supposition that the church has a duty to go beyond its pastoral and charitable work, and involve itself in politics directly. If you scratch the surface you find that some of the criticism is rooted in events that took place decades ago, or even a century ago when Cuba was fighting for independence from Spain, and clerics sided with the crown.

Here, in a Catholic News Agency story, dissident leader Oswaldo Paya voices praise for the church’s work in Cuban society:

“The Church is playing a key role in the evangelization and in aid to the poor, not only economically but also in a human and moral plane as well. I would like to clarify that, as a Catholic, I can only speak of the Church in third person. Our local Church has suffered persecutions and de-Christianization in very difficult circumstances, but she has always been faithful to the Gospel, to the Church and to the Cuban people. This is a reality that is often ignored by international public opinion.”

That story, in English, also talks about his colleagues in prison, and his desire for national reconciliation.

And speaking of the church, here’s a roundup from Encuentro (in Spanish) of the church’s views on church-state relations, Cuban policies, and U.S. policies.

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