PopeWatch: Double Standard



Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa discusses how the Pope views Cuba and the United States, the two countries that he is about to visit:


ROME, September 11, 2015 – The United States and Cuba, or the devil and holy water. The journey that Pope Francis has scheduled from September 19 to 27 will take him to the two opposite poles of his geopolitical vision: to the temple of the “economy that kills” and just beforehand to the outpost of the peoples on the path of redemption.

In the island of the Caribbean and in the “Alianza Bolivariana” already established between Cuba and the populist regimes of Nicaragua, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia, the Argentine Jorge Mario Bergoglio in fact sees a preview of the “Great Homeland” that he longs for so much, the springtime of an integration of the Latin American continent in a Catholic and anti-capitalist vein.

He has already visited two of these countries, Ecuador and Bolivia, and will soon arrive in the third, Cuba. And he has always treated their rulers with great regard and even with cordiality, including when they have presented the greatest trials.

Against the totalitarian trend in the Venezuela of Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro he has never expended a single word, nor has he ever responded to the appeals of a population reduced to hunger. He has promoted the unworthy Bolivian president Evo Morales to de facto leader of those antagonistic “popular movements” that are for him, the pope, the future of the redeemed humanity. As for Cuba, here too what is startling about Francis is his silence.

Of course, once he has landed in Havana Francis will speak. But in skimming the program of the visit, it is striking how scanty it is. In other countries the pope has never failed to enter a prison or to meet with refugees and the homeless. In the United States it is already known where and when he will do this. But not in Cuba.

In Lampedusa he threw flowers into the ocean and cried out, “Shame!” but it is unlikely that he will do so from the Malecón in Havana, in front of the ocean strait that has swallowed up thousands of Cubans fleeing toward the coasts of Florida.

In a prison it would be difficult for him to encounter any of the hundreds of political detainees.

The Damas de Blanco, wives and mothers of dissidents in prison, who go to Mass every Sunday dressed in white and brave the insults and violence of the police, would have a hard time finding a place in the front row of the pope’s Masses.

As for the dissidents living in surveilled and intermittent freedom, many of them Catholic, the only hope is that the pope may be able to meet with one of them away from the spotlight and outside of the official program, as the regime benignly allowed American secretary of state John Kerry to do on the day of the inauguration of the restored United States embassy in Cuba.

There is a great deal of Realpolitik in the silence maintained by Pope Francis so far on the lack of freedom for the Cuban people. Vatican secretary of state Pietro Parolin and his substitute Angelo Becciu were raised in the school of Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, a great diplomat at the time of the Soviet empire, and were nuncios in Venezuela and Cuba respectively. They know the country profiles, and Francis seems to adhere diligently to their instructions.

What the pope adds of his own is his personal, confidential approach, almost as a confessor, with the despots he encounters. He has succeeded in touching the notoriously stony heart of Raül Castro, leading him to express, after a private conversation at the Vatican, intentions of returning to the practice of the Catholic religion. Fidel can be counted on for an encore. The wager is that during his three days on the island Francis may come up with something else unplanned, capable of giving a minimum of substance to the cry “Libertad” already raised in vain by the Cuban crowds during the visits of the two previous popes.

In the United States it will be a completely different tune.

Go here to read the rest.  The Pope has the prejudices common to most Latin American leftists:  a hatred for the United States and a love for Castro’s Cuba.  If leftist platitudes are mouthed, any crimes can be excused, or at least not mentioned.  Castro’s regime is cracking down on Catholic dissidents in preparation for the Pope’s arrival:


Castro regime detains dissidents ahead of Pope Francis visit

Cuban police detained about 50 people when a predominantly Roman Catholic dissident group led a march in Havana on Sunday, less than a week before Pope Francis visits the communist-ruled country.

Such detentions have become common following regular Sunday marches by the Ladies in White, a group that has criticized the Roman Catholic Church and Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega for failing to advocate on its behalf with the Cuban government.

Ladies in White leader Berta Soler told Reuters the women planned to attend masses that Pope Francis will lead in Havana and Holguin while in Cuba from Sept. 19-22. The pope will also visit Santiago de Cuba.

“I would discuss with the pope the need to stop police violence against those who exercise their freedom to demonstrate in public,” Soler said.

Judging from the below article on the Babalu Blog, the go to site on the Internet for news on Cuba, the man at the top of the Church in Cuba knows what the Pope wants him to say about the Castro regime:

For the umpteenth time, Cuba’s Cardinal Jaime Ortega shows his corruption and iniquity. And for the corresponding umpteenth time, the Vatican and the Pope (current and past) will do absolutely nothing about it. May God have mercy on them.

Via Diario Las Americas (my translation):

You all get your information from worm-infested Miami’


A group of Cuban opposition members who attended 4th of July celebrations at the residence of Jeffrey DeLaurentis, the head of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, claim that Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino angrily told them “you all get your information from worm-infested Miami” when the dissidents attempted to give him a petition calling for amnesty for political prisoners.

According to the opposition members, they claimed the prelate denied the existence of political prisoners on the island during the altercation and then threatened to call security to have them removed from the residence if they continued to insist on giving him the document.

The incident took place on Thursday afternoon and opposition member Egberto Escobedo, who had the conversation with Ortega, corroborated the events that took place to DIARIO LAS AMERICAS.

Escobedo confirmed that at one time during the exchange, the Cardinal claimed that there were no political prisoners on the island and that “the information all of you [the opposition] receive comes from ‘worm-infested’ Miami.”

“The Cardinal was indignant and insulted,” he emphasized.

The incident took place shortly after a musical group dressed in flashy blue uniforms and white hats played the national anthems of Cuba and the United States and after a brief welcome statement from DeLaurentis.

Go here to read the rest.  PopeWatch is confident that the Pope’s hosts in Cuba will hear not a discouraging word from him about their island gulag.

It is deeply shameful for the Vicar of Christ to take the side of the enemies of Christ, but Pope Francis sees no enemies on the left.



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  1. During those days immediately after Christ was crucified, it must have seemed hopelessly bleak for the trusting apostles….
    It seems that we are experiencing a bit of that now. The good news is that we know how the story ends, so we raise our minds to higher things and try hard not to slip into distrust or worse, hateful anger, giving victories to the diabolical.

  2. This may be extremely unfair, but it occurs to me that since the Church “loves the poor,” her leadership would want to see more of it. In the twenty or so years since I’ve been a member, I have heard nothing good of wealth and nothing good of the wealthy.
    This may be because “the wealthy” don’t have as much need of the Church’s welfare programs or maybe just don’t make it to Mass as often because of work commitments. Everyone wants to be needed, so perhaps the leadership caters to those who have material needs–which I think are somewhat easier to satisfy than spiritual/moral needs. And of course it is easier to lobby for welfare benefits for broken families (and be praised by the ruling elite) rather than teach moral values (chastity, hard work, don’t do drugs, etc) that help support wealth and independence.
    I grew up blaming the Church’s moral teachings for Latin America’s (and other Catholic countries) poverty–too many children, too many mouths to feed. I came to understand, however, that the Church is most correct on contraception, abortion, divorce and the like, but really off base on her economic teachings, and this keeps people down.
    It has become most odious to put into the collection plate and fund the Diocesan Appeal, as I believe those monies (at least some) eventually harm the people the Church claims to want to help.

  3. Cardinal Ortega possesses the rare distinction of having been awarded the Grand Cross of Humanitarian Merit in 2004 by the Intitution of Humanitarian Merit in Barcelona. I believe he was the first clergyman to be so honoured.

  4. Ironic is the word that came to mind upon reading the Cardinal’s use of the term ‘worm-infested’.
    The modus operandi of some Church power brokers is to answer a reasonable thought, though contrary, with contempt and contemptuous acts; as the world also does. Awards, Prizes, and high regard-ings seem to have emptied themselves of purity and universal esteem.
    (AFP (?) news had a little piece earlier today, which was reporting the Pope’s railing against ‘fake friends’; the piece has since disappeared. Mysterious and what Art Deco said.)

  5. “As expected, Cardinal Burke is not a Synod Father this time around.”
    Rorate link via Mr. Dale Price.

    I got a good laugh when I came to the last sentence from the link provided. Cardinal Burke would of been the Synod’s voice of reason and defense of doctrine, but of course he wasn’t chosen. I especially like the use of; “..this time around.” Very funny!

  6. Looked at from a purely pragmatic viewpoint, it would be unwise to come to the US with a stick and no carrot. From the descriptions of Catholic friends in France, Italy, and Portugal, Mass attendance and church service are no more robust now than they were when I observed the empty pews in the late ’80s.

    If the Church’s bills aren’t being paid by Europe and they are surely not being paid by the developing world, I guess that it is North America that is paying them. There are quite a lot of Catholics disgusted with their Cardinals and it wouldn’t take much to drive them away. What then? What will the Church do if its main benefactor quits?

    Setting aside the spriritual challenges of heaping nothing but scorn on a child, one shouldn’t be surprised if, when that child’s support is needed, he is disinclined to provide it. Quoting The Breakfast Club:

    Vernon: “You think about this… when you get old, these kids; when I get old, they’re gonna be runnin’ the country.
    Carl: “Yeah?”
    Vernon: “Now this is the thought that wakes me up in the middle of the night; that when I get older, these kids are gonna take care of me.”
    Carl: “I wouldn’t count on it.”

  7. “Perhaps James Hitchcock can produce an article on the last time a pope manifested so little sense of stewardship over the institution he led.”

    From the endless scoldings of both clergy and laity, you’d be hard-pressed to make an argument that we have a pope who likes the Church. Says it all, really.

  8. The key to understanding the Caudillo Pope is to understand his envoirnment, his days as a Jesuit priest and the time of his youth.
    Only by the grace of God has the Church in Latin America not collapsed as it has in Ireland. Like the Latin caudillos, the Caudillo Pope rules as he wishes, pays attention to superfluous things like the environment and ignores Christian persecution at the hands of Islam.
    We are in a period of chastisement, of purification. Agents against the Church have often labored within her, often in secrecy. We now know who many of them are. I am not Catholic because of or despite this or any Pope. Jesus never promised that all the clergy would be perfect. Pray. Do penance. Pull the log from your eye. I need to pull not a log, but the Allegheny National Forest from my eyes. Go to Confession. Don’t listen to silly things the Caudillo Pope says. Ask for the intercession of Servant of God Queen Isabel the Catholic, St. Catherine of Siena, King San Fernando, St. Joan of Arc, and your favorite saints. God will fix this in His time.

  9. Good words from Penguin Fan. The only point I would add is that no one should confuse Pope Francis with a religious leader. He is but a socialist politician masquerading as one. His focus is on ways to improve our material well being but whose methods will only destroy it. On every level Pope Francis ideas are confusing, dispiriting and consequently evil. Let us pray very hard for him and all the clergy that they may overcome the evil one.

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