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Back in December, I predicted that Pope Francis would be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his success in reconciling the worst men in Cuba with the worst men in the United States. His tour of the island and the U.S. was clearly intended to cement his chances. No Cuban dissident has ever been awarded that prize. Nor any pope — not even John Paul II, whose contribution to world peace by defeating Communism in Europe and bringing a close to the Cold War were epochal (his conduct during his own sojourn to Cuba, however, was fully as cretinous as Francis'). It is also possible that Obama and Raúl Castro will share the prize with the pope. At the start of his presidency, Obama was awarded the Peace Prize for not being George Bush (as were Al Gore and Jimmy Carter before him for the same reason). Still, that should be no impediment to his getting the prize a second time: the first time for attendance and the second for "statesmanship." In fact, this infamous trio deserves to be immortalized together. Call them the new "Marx Brothers." http://josemartiblog.blogspot.com
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On the flight from Santiago de Cuba to Washington, DC, Pope Francis was asked by a reporter from CNN whether he would ever meet with Cubans persecuted by the Castro regime. A reporter from Spain's El País characterized the pope as "discomfited" by the question and his answer as "evasive." In fact, his answer is highly revealing though hardly unexpected given his conduct in Cuba: a coward's verbal self-portrait and a very badly executed one. The journalists on the plane were shocked by Francis' answer because he is known for his ability to turn any critical question to his advantage. Here, however, he showed no such finesse, but reinforced the perception that "he had been very deferential to the regime of the brothers Castro while ignoring, at the same time, the repression unleashed against Cuban dissidents." Having abandoned the sheep to tend to the wolf on his now completed first trip to Cuba, the pope addressed the question from the perspective of whether a future "encounter and dialogue" with Cuban dissidents was contemplated. He had sponsored and extolled in the highest terms the "encounter and dialogue" between the worst men in Cuba and their counterparts in the U.S. Would he agree to meet with the bravest and noblest of Cuba's sons and daughters who represent the entire dignity of the Cuban people? Rosa Flores, CNN: Good afternoon, Holy Father. I am Rosa Flores of CNN. We understand that more than 50 dissidents were arrested outside the nunciature [in Havana] as they were trying to have a meeting with you. First, would you like to have a meeting with the dissidents, and if you had that meeting, what would you say? "Look, I have no news that that ever happened. I can't say yes, no I can't. I don't know. Would I meet directly with them? I just don't know. Would I like to? What would be the result? These are questions to be answered in the future. I like to meet all kinds of people. I consider, first of all, that all people are children of God and have the right [to meet me]. And, secondly, that meeting other people is always rewarding. As to what may lie in the future, I don't have an answer." The pope's sentences are halting and clipped, as if he were afraid of developing his thoughts fully because his thoughts frighten even him. He asks himself questions aloud which he then declines to answer [e.g. "Would I like to (meet them)?" and "What would be the result?"] The only thing that he appears sure of is that he shouldn't answer the question. He doesn't explain why but proceeds to suggest that he should meet with them "because they are God's children and have the right [to meet me]." Still, Francis is non-committal: is it necessary or desirable that he should meet "directly" with them? There is a Noli me tangere [Don't touch me] aspect to his reaction. Francis postpones his answer to an open-ended futurity. In a more literal translation, his answer is: "your question is futuristic" and therefore does not conform to present reality (like landing a man on Mars or ordaining women as priests). The pope continued: "If you want me to speak more about the dissidents, you can ask me something more concrete. For the nunciature, first, it was very clear that I was not going to give audiences because not only the dissidents asked for audiences, but also audiences [were requested] from other sectors, including from the chief of state. And, no, I am on a visit to a nation, and just that. I know that I hadn’t planned any audience with the dissidents or the others. The pope asks for "concrete questions" when he seems incapable of giving a concrete answer. He does reveal for the first time that it was never his intention to meet with Cuba's dissidents. Apparently, he doesn't want anyone to assume that he was constrained from doing so by his hosts, which, incidentally, is exactly what happened. Half a dozen of Cuba's most prominent dissidents were invited to a meet and greet at the nuncio's palace in Havana, but were arrested by the regime on their way there. Perhaps all that Francis intended to do was wave at them from his window, but he was not even given the opportunity to do that. In fact, the Vatican was obliged to submit lists of all Cubans who had been invited to attend the pope's masses in Cuba. The regime excluded by intimidation or force all whom it deemed unacceptable. To acknowledge that every detail of his trip to Cuba was micromanaged by Castro's henchmen would have reflected badly on him and his hosts. Francis would rather seem despicable by denying any intention to meet with the dissidents than by admitting the fact that he was a willing stooge for the regime. Since he actually did grant audiences to both Raúl and Fidel Castro, it is mendacious for him to suggest that he didn't meet with the dissidents because he chose not to give an audience even to the chief of state! Even if we take him at his word, we must ask why he granted no audiences in Cuba but dozens of audiences in the U.S. And, secondly, from the nunciature, some people made some calls to some people who are in these groups of dissidents, where the responsibility was given to the nuncio to call them and tell them that I would greet them with pleasure outside the cathedral for the meeting with the consecrated [religious]. I would greet them when I was there, no? That did exist. Now, as no one identified themselves in their greetings, I don’t know if they were there. I said hello to the sick who were in wheelchairs. … Oops, I’m speaking Spanish. I greeted those who were in wheelchairs, but no one identified themselves as dissidents; but from the nunciature calls were made by some for a quick greeting." Ah, the poor pope! He was willing, after all, to greet the dissidents — and "with pleasure." too —outside the doors of the Cathedral but they did not introduce themselves to him. It does not occur to the pope that the dissidents had already been arrested before he arrived at the Cathedral, or that, if any had managed to get beyond the police barricades, they would have been arrested on the spot before they had the chance to introduce themselves to him as dissidents (Castro's goons are aware of who they are and do not require introductions). The pope certainly would not have intervened on their behalf. Francis had that opportunity when dissidents were arrested in front of the popemobile after his first mass and he chose to look the other way. María Flores of CNN then asked the pope a follow-up question: What would you tell the dissidents if you had the opportunity to meet with them? Refusing to be baited into saying anything that could be construed as compassionate, humane or Christian, Pope Francis replied: "Oh, my daughter, I don’t know what I would say. (laughs) I would wish everyone well, but what one says comes in that moment and … You’ve got the Nobel Prize for being a reader of the future, eh?" (laughs) Francis is not just a bad pope. He appears to be a preeminently bad man.
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Parsing Pope Francis' Speech on His Arrival in Cuba Mr President, Distinguished Authorities, Brother Bishops, Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you, Mr President, for your greeting and your kind words of welcome in the name of the government and the entire Cuban people. [There is no legally-constituted "government" in Cuba, and the ruling clique responsible for this fact does not represent the Cuban people nor is it entitled to speak for them. The pope can acknowledge the thanks of its chief capo in the name of the criminal enterprise that has hijacked Cuban freedom for 56 years and made the Cuban Church a clinging vassal of the State; he should not, however, presume that Raúl Castro's gratitude for the undeserved legitimacy which the papal visit confers on his regime is something for which the Cuban people themselves should feel grateful]. I also greet the authorities and the members of the diplomatic corps present at this ceremony. My gratitude also goes to Cardinal Jaime Ortega y Alamino, Archbishop of Havana, the Most Reverend Dionisio Guillermo García Ibáñez, Archbishop of Santiago de Cuba and President of the Episcopal Conference, the other bishops and all the Cuban people, for their warm welcome. [Archbishop García Ibañez should have been named first because the archdiocese of Santiago de Cuba is Cuba's oldest and therefore he, and not Ortega, is the primate of Cuba (that is, the titular head of the Cuban Church). Of course, the power if not the title has been conferred by the Holy See on Cardinal Ortega, a cretinous collaborator of the Castro regime who denies the existence of political prisoners in Cuba, refers to Cuban dissidents as agents of Miami's exiled "worms" ["gusanera"] and threatens them with arrest by Castro's henchmen when they dare to attend church services or have the effrontery to present him with a list of Cuba's political prisoners]. I thank, too, all those who worked to prepare for this Pastoral Visit. Mr President, I would ask you to convey my sentiments of particular respect and consideration to your brother Fidel [The dictator emeritus of Cuba will later be thanked personally by Francis, who will no doubt reiterate then his "particular respect and consideration." Since Francis' "respect and consideration" is "particular" (that is, distinct from and superior to his respect for other "authorities," etc.). it would not be fastidious to ask on what he bases his "respect and consideration." Is it for the eradication of the Catholic Church from the daily lives of the faithful? Or is it for allowing Catholics to join the Communist Party?] I would like my greeting to embrace especially all those who, for various reasons, I will not be able to meet, and to Cubans throughout the world. [Those that he "will not be able to meet" (or chooses not to meet) are Cuba's dissidents and political prisoners, his flock's most abandoned sheep. They are so very abandoned that the pope does not even dare to acknowledge their existence at all, though he nevertheless wishes to "embrace" them with his silence. The only hint that he means Cuba's "disappeared ones" is that this unnamed group is classed with "Cubans throughout the world," that is, the one-fifth of Cuba's population that has fled Castro's island-prison. The pope, of course, is free to "embrace" Miami's exiles on U.S. soil, but he will never succor the victims because that would offend his hosts, who seized the property of the Church in Cuba and now have it in their power to return it in exchange for her support. The irony, of course, is that the property that was stolen by Castro & Company was donated by those that the Church now spurns]. This year of 2015 marks the eightieth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Cuba and the Holy See [It is ridiculous to mention this historical fact since there is no connection between the Republic of Cuba that existed in 1935 and the Castro dictatorship. It is the dictatorship itself that would be the first to disavow such a connection]. Providence [Is "Providence" another name for Raúl Castro?] today enables me to come to this beloved nation, following the indelible path opened by the unforgettable apostolic journeys which my two predecessors, Saint John Paul II and Benedict XVI, made to this island [he does indeed follow in their footsteps, and, like them, will say nary a word that would offend his hosts, while posing for photographs with them that leave no doubt about his support for the regime]. I know that the memory of those visits awakens gratitude and affection in the people and leaders of Cuba [in the "leaders of Cuba," certainly. Who would have thought that a tinpot dictator could make three pontiffs dance to his tune?] Today we renew those bonds of cooperation [collaboration] and friendship [opportunism], so that the Church can continue [?] to support and encourage the Cuban people in its hopes and concerns, with the freedom, the means and the space needed to bring the proclamation of the Kingdom to the existential peripheries of society. [The Church needs "the freedom, the means and the space" to "bring the proclamation of the Kingdom to the existential peripheries of society" (whatever that means). The Cuban people, however, do not require (in the pope's estimation) "the freedom, the means and the space" to accept or reject such a proclamation. The Church wishes to be co-equal with the State in the exercise of her fueros (rights). She is not interested in upholding the free-will of the Cuban people. In fact, her interests (like those of the State) are best served by denying the Cuban people any say in their future, as this would lead to the rejection of both]. This Apostolic Journey also coincides with the first centenary of Pope Benedict XV’s declaration of our Lady of Charity of El Cobre as Patroness of Cuba. It was the veterans of the War of Independence who, moved by sentiments of faith and patriotism, wanted the Virgen mambisa to be the patroness of Cuba as a free and sovereign nation. [Pope Francis should have praised the generosity and willingness to forgive of Cuba's veterans at least as much as their "faith and patriotism," since, in petitioning the pope to have Our Lady of Charity declared Patroness of Cuba, they had to overlook the fact that Pius IX and Leo XIII had sided with Spain against the Cuban people during our Wars of Independence (for that sordid history, see here).] Since that time she [the Virgin of Charity, we suppose, but certainly not the Catholic Church] has accompanied the history of the Cuban people, sustaining the hope which preserves people’s dignity in the most difficult situations and championing the promotion of all that gives dignity to the human person. The growing devotion to the Virgin [as Ochún] is a visible testimony of her presence in the soul of the Cuban people. In these days I will have occasion to go to El Cobre, as a son and pilgrim, to pray to our Mother for all her Cuban children and for this beloved nation, that it may travel the paths of justice, peace, liberty and reconciliation [while remaining a one-party police state which obstructs all paths to justice, peace and liberty. As for "reconciliation," there is no way of reconciling with unrepentant evil that does not make us its accomplices — a theological premise that the pope should take to heart]. Geographically, Cuba is an archipelago [he is right, for once], facing all directions, with an extraordinary value as a "key” between north and south, east and west. Its natural vocation is to be a point of encounter for all peoples to join in friendship, as José Martí dreamed, "regardless of the languages of isthmuses and the barriers of oceans.” [But certainly not regardless of whether a tyrant oppresses his people or endangers his neighbors. Martí regarded despotic regimes as incompatible with human dignity and refused to live under the sway of any tyrant however outwardly friendly or hospitable. He intended Cuba to be a point of encounter for all the free nations of Our America, not the axis for subverting freedom everywhere on the continent. It is an insult to Martí's memory to suggest that Castro's Cuba fulfills what Martí believed to be his country's destiny. It is, if anything, the negation of that destiny and the antithesis of everything that Martí hoped, struggled and died for. (Since Pope Francis likes to quote Martí in support of what Martí would have found reprehensible, I offer him a quotation that cannot be misconstrued and admits but one interpretation: "Christianity died at the hands of Catholicism.")] Such was also the desire of Saint John Paul II, with his ardent appeal: "May Cuba, with all its magnificent potential, open itself to the world, and may the world open itself to Cuba.” [Fidel Castro closed Cubans off from the world. It is he who created fortress Cuba and imprisoned 11 million people within its walls. Pope John Paul II was right to ask Castro to open Cuba to the rest of the world, that is, to return it to the concert of civilized nations. He was wrong, however, to ask the world (read the United States) to "open itself to Cuba" since this would entail the acceptance of a tyrannical regime as the representative of the Cuban people in perpetuity. For the world to open itself to Cuba necessarily means that Cuba itself will never be opened to the world. You do not promote justice by rewarding injustice, nor endow freedom by underwriting tyranny]. For some months now, we have witnessed an event which fills us with hope: the process of normalizing relations between two peoples following years of estrangement. It is a sign of the victory of the culture of encounter and dialogue, "the system of universal growth” over "the forever-dead system of groups and dynasties.” [Again the pope misquotes Martí in the best manner of those who proclaim him the "Intellectual Author of the Cuban Revolution." Martí is condemning "the forever-dead system of cliques and dynasties," as represented today by Francis' hosts, who have created a system in Cuba that is the very negation of "the system of universal growth.” The "culture of encounter and dialogue" [no such "culture" is mentioned let alone endorsed by Martí] has supposedly scored a victory because "the system of universal growth” has somehow been found to be compatible with "the forever-dead system of cliques and dynasties," Martí is right — the two systems are incompatible and no amount of encounter or dialogue can make them compatible. Pope Francis is wrong to suggest otherwise and worse than wrong to falsify Martí's thought to buttress his own feeble moral relativism. Encounter and dialogue are of no value in themselves if they lead to the adjuration of justice and the embrace iniquity]. I urge political leaders to persevere on this path and to develop all its potentialities as a proof of the high service [Raúl Castro has performed "a high service?" To whom? The Church? Humanity? The Americas? The Cuban people? The pope no doubt means all of the above] which they are called to carry out on behalf of the peace and well-being of their peoples, of all America, and as an example of reconciliation for the entire world. The world needs reconciliation, as it experiences an atmosphere of a third world war that's happening in stages. [So the reconciliation of the U.S. and Communist Cuba will defuse "a third world war that's [been] happening in stages" since the 1960s when Fidel Castro first tried to blow-up the world and failing that transformed Cuba into the epicenter of Soviet-sponsored terrorism in the Third World. The pope believes that ISIS will lay down its arms because the U.S. has made peace with the granddaddy of international terrorists! In truth, the U.S. could have "peace in our time" with ISIS if Obama offered to surrender to these terrorists without prior conditions also]. I place these days under the protection of our Lady of Charity of El Cobre, Blessed Olallo Valdés and Blessed José López Pietreira [sic], and Venerable Félix Varela, the great promoter of love between Cubans and all peoples, so that our bonds of peace, solidarity and mutual respect may ever increase. [Blessed Fray José López Piteira (yes, the pope misspelled and misspoke his name) was a 24-year-old Cuban-born priest who was killed by firing squad during Spain's Civil War (1936-39). He was one of 4,000 priests and nuns murdered by Spain's Stalinist "Republicans." Because he was a foreigner, he could have been reprieved, but preferred to die with his brothers in Christ. He was the first Cuban to be beatified. Cardinal Ortega did not attend the ceremony in Vatican Square in 2007, nor did any representative or delegation from Cuba. Ortega even said that Blessed José was not a real Cuban ("cubano cubano") because he been raised and educated in Spain (as was that other "non-Cuban," José Martí). A Cuban killed by Communists for his religious beliefs is not the ideal patron saint for the accommodationist Cuban clergy and certainly a source of great personal embarrassment to Ortega. Still, the pope had no choice but to name him among Cubans worthy of veneration. Perhaps he softened the blow by mangling his name. For more on the Cuban martyr, click here]. [As for the Venerable Félix Varela, he was a priest and champion of Cuban freedom, not just the "great promoter of love between Cubans and all peoples." Pope Francis may wish to explain why three successive popes (including himself) have refused to canonize Varela on their trips to the island when this is customary on papal visits elsewhere. For the answer, click here]. Once again, thank you, Mr. President [does he mean Obama?].
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Parsing Pope Francis' Speech on His Arrival in Cuba Mr President, Distinguished Authorities, Brother Bishops, Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you, Mr President, for your greeting and your kind words of welcome in the name of the government and the entire Cuban people. [There is no legally-constituted "government" in Cuba, and the ruling clique responsible for this fact does not represent the Cuban people nor is it entitled to speak for them. The pope can acknowledge the thanks of its chief capo in the name of the criminal enterprise that has hijacked Cuban freedom for 56 years and made the Cuban Church a clinging vassal of the State; he should not, however, presume that Raúl Castro's gratitude for the undeserved legitimacy which the papal visit confers on his regime is something for which the Cuban people themselves should feel grateful]. I also greet the authorities and the members of the diplomatic corps present at this ceremony. My gratitude also goes to Cardinal Jaime Ortega y Alamino, Archbishop of Havana, the Most Reverend Dionisio Guillermo García Ibáñez, Archbishop of Santiago de Cuba and President of the Episcopal Conference, the other bishops and all the Cuban people, for their warm welcome. [Archbishop García Ibañez should have been named first because the archdiocese of Santiago de Cuba is Cuba's oldest and therefore he, and not Ortega, is the primate of Cuba (that is, the titular head of the Cuban Church). Of course, the power if not the title has been conferred by the Holy See on Cardinal Ortega, a cretinous collaborator of the Castro regime who denies the existence of political prisoners in Cuba, refers to Cuban dissidents as agents of Miami's exiled "worms" ["gusanera"] and threatens them with arrest by Castro's henchmen when they dare to attend church services or have the effrontery to present him with a list of Cuba's political prisoners]. I thank, too, all those who worked to prepare for this Pastoral Visit. Mr President, I would ask you to convey my sentiments of particular respect and consideration to your brother Fidel [The dictator emeritus of Cuba will later be thanked personally by Francis, who will no doubt reiterate then his "particular respect and consideration." Since Francis' "respect and consideration" is "particular" (that is, distinct from and superior to his respect for other "authorities," etc.). it would not be fastidious to ask on what he bases his "respect and consideration." Is it for the eradication of the Catholic Church from the daily lives of the faithful? Or is it for allowing Catholics to join the Communist Party?] I would like my greeting to embrace especially all those who, for various reasons, I will not be able to meet, and to Cubans throughout the world. [Those that he "will not be able to meet" (or chooses not to meet) are Cuba's dissidents and political prisoners, his flock's most abandoned sheep. They are so very abandoned that the pope does not even dare to acknowledge their existence at all, though he nevertheless wishes to "embrace" them with his silence. The only hint that he means Cuba's "disappeared ones" is that this unnamed group is classed with "Cubans throughout the world," that is, the one-fifth of Cuba's population that has fled Castro's island-prison. The pope, of course, is free to "embrace" Miami's exiles on U.S. soil, but he will never succor the victims because that would offend his hosts, who seized the property of the Church in Cuba and now have it in their power to return it in exchange for her support. The irony, of course, is that the property that was stolen by Castro & Company was donated by those that the Church now spurns]. This year of 2015 marks the eightieth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Cuba and the Holy See [It is ridiculous to mention this historical fact since there is no connection between the Republic of Cuba that existed in 1935 and the Castro dictatorship. It is the dictatorship itself that would be the first to disavow such a connection]. Providence [Is "Providence" another name for Raúl Castro?] today enables me to come to this beloved nation, following the indelible path opened by the unforgettable apostolic journeys which my two predecessors, Saint John Paul II and Benedict XVI, made to this island [he does indeed follow in their footsteps, and, like them, will say nary a word that would offend his hosts, while posing for photographs with them that leave no doubt about his support for the regime]. I know that the memory of those visits awakens gratitude and affection in the people and leaders of Cuba [in the "leaders of Cuba," certainly. Who would have thought that a tinpot dictator could make three pontiffs dance to his tune?] Today we renew those bonds of cooperation [collaboration] and friendship [opportunism], so that the Church can continue [?] to support and encourage the Cuban people in its hopes and concerns, with the freedom, the means and the space needed to bring the proclamation of the Kingdom to the existential peripheries of society. [The Church needs "the freedom, the means and the space" to "bring the proclamation of the Kingdom to the existential peripheries of society" (whatever that means). The Cuban people, however, do not require (in the pope's estimation) "the freedom, the means and the space" to accept or reject such a proclamation. The Church wishes to be co-equal with the State in the exercise of her fueros (rights). She is not interested in upholding the free-will of the Cuban people. In fact, her interests (like those of the State) are best served by denying the Cuban people any say in their future, as this would lead to the rejection of both]. This Apostolic Journey also coincides with the first centenary of Pope Benedict XV’s declaration of our Lady of Charity of El Cobre as Patroness of Cuba. It was the veterans of the War of Independence who, moved by sentiments of faith and patriotism, wanted the Virgen mambisa to be the patroness of Cuba as a free and sovereign nation. [Pope Francis should have praised the generosity and willingness to forgive of Cuba's veterans at least as much as their "faith and patriotism," since, in petitioning the pope to have Our Lady of Charity declared Patroness of Cuba, they had to overlook the fact that Pius IX and Leo XIII had sided with Spain against the Cuban people during our Wars of Independence (for that sordid history, see here).] Since that time she [the Virgin of Charity, we suppose, but certainly not the Catholic Church] has accompanied the history of the Cuban people, sustaining the hope which preserves people’s dignity in the most difficult situations and championing the promotion of all that gives dignity to the human person. The growing devotion to the Virgin [as Ochún] is a visible testimony of her presence in the soul of the Cuban people. In these days I will have occasion to go to El Cobre, as a son and pilgrim, to pray to our Mother for all her Cuban children and for this beloved nation, that it may travel the paths of justice, peace, liberty and reconciliation [while remaining a one-party police state which obstructs all paths to justice, peace and liberty. As for "reconciliation," there is no way of reconciling with unrepentant evil that does not make us its accomplices — a theological premise that the pope should take to heart]. Geographically, Cuba is an archipelago [he is right, for once], facing all directions, with an extraordinary value as a "key” between north and south, east and west. Its natural vocation is to be a point of encounter for all peoples to join in friendship, as José Martí dreamed, "regardless of the languages of isthmuses and the barriers of oceans.” [But certainly not regardless of whether a tyrant oppresses his people or endangers his neighbors. Martí regarded despotic regimes as incompatible with human dignity and refused to live under the sway of any tyrant however outwardly friendly or hospitable. He intended Cuba to be a point of encounter for all the free nations of Our America, not the axis for subverting freedom everywhere on the continent. It is an insult to Martí's memory to suggest that Castro's Cuba fulfills what Martí believed to be his country's destiny. It is, if anything, the negation of that destiny and the antithesis of everything that Martí hoped, struggled and died for. (Since Pope Francis likes to quote Martí in support of what Martí would have found reprehensible, I offer him a quotation that cannot be misconstrued and admits but one interpretation: "Christianity died at the hands of Catholicism.")] Such was also the desire of Saint John Paul II, with his ardent appeal: "May Cuba, with all its magnificent potential, open itself to the world, and may the world open itself to Cuba.” [Fidel Castro closed Cubans off from the world. It is he who created fortress Cuba and imprisoned 11 million people within its walls. Pope John Paul II was right to ask Castro to open Cuba to the rest of the world, that is, to return it to the concert of civilized nations. He was wrong, however, to ask the world (read the United States) to "open itself to Cuba" since this would entail the acceptance of a tyrannical regime as the representative of the Cuban people in perpetuity. For the world to open itself to Cuba necessarily means that Cuba itself will never be opened to the world. You do not promote justice by rewarding injustice, nor endow freedom by underwriting tyranny]. For some months now, we have witnessed an event which fills us with hope: the process of normalizing relations between two peoples following years of estrangement. It is a sign of the victory of the culture of encounter and dialogue, "the system of universal growth” over "the forever-dead system of groups and dynasties.” [Again the pope misquotes Martí in the best manner of those who proclaim him the "Intellectual Author of the Cuban Revolution." Martí is condemning "the forever-dead system of cliques and dynasties," as represented today by Francis' hosts, who have created a system in Cuba that is the very negation of "the system of universal growth.” The "culture of encounter and dialogue" [no such "culture" is mentioned let alone endorsed by Martí] has supposedly scored a victory because "the system of universal growth” has somehow been found to be compatible with "the forever-dead system of cliques and dynasties," Martí is right — the two systems are incompatible and no amount of encounter or dialogue can make them compatible. Pope Francis is wrong to suggest otherwise and worse than wrong to falsify Martí's thought to buttress his own feeble moral relativism. Encounter and dialogue are of no value in themselves if they lead to the adjuration of justice and the embrace iniquity]. I urge political leaders to persevere on this path and to develop all its potentialities as a proof of the high service [Raúl Castro has performed "a high service?" To whom? The Church? Humanity? The Americas? The Cuban people? The pope no doubt means all of the above] which they are called to carry out on behalf of the peace and well-being of their peoples, of all America, and as an example of reconciliation for the entire world. The world needs reconciliation, as it experiences an atmosphere of a third world war that's happening in stages. [So the reconciliation of the U.S. and Communist Cuba will defuse "a third world war that's [been] happening in stages" since the 1960s when Fidel Castro first tried to blow-up the world and failing that transformed Cuba into the epicenter of Soviet-sponsored terrorism in the Third World. The pope believes that ISIS will lay down its arms because the U.S. has made peace with the granddaddy of international terrorists! In truth, the U.S. could have "peace in our time" with ISIS if Obama offered to surrender to these terrorists without prior conditions also]. I place these days under the protection of our Lady of Charity of El Cobre, Blessed Olallo Valdés and Blessed José López Pietreira [sic], and Venerable Félix Varela, the great promoter of love between Cubans and all peoples, so that our bonds of peace, solidarity and mutual respect may ever increase. [Blessed Fray José López Piteira (yes, the pope misspelled and misspoke his name) was a 24-year-old Cuban-born priest who was killed by firing squad during Spain's Civil War (1936-39). He was one of 4,000 priests and nuns murdered by Spain's Stalinist "Republicans." Because he was a foreigner, he could have been reprieved, but preferred to die with his brothers in Christ. He was the first Cuban to be beatified. Cardinal Ortega did not attend the ceremony in Vatican Square in 2007, nor did any representative or delegation from Cuba. Ortega even said that Blessed José was not a real Cuban ("cubano cubano") because he been raised and educated in Spain (as was that other "non-Cuban," José Martí). A Cuban killed by Communists for his religious beliefs is not the ideal patron saint for the accommodationist Cuban clergy and certainly a source of great personal embarrassment to Ortega. Still, the pope had no choice but to name him among Cubans worthy of veneration. Perhaps he softened the blow by mangling his name. For more on the Cuban martyr, click here]. [As for the Venerable Félix Varela, he was a priest and champion of Cuban freedom, not just the "great promoter of love between Cubans and all peoples." Pope Francis may wish to explain why three successive popes (including himself) have refused to canonize Varela on their trips to the island when this is customary on papal visits elsewhere. For the answer, click here]. Once again, thank you, Mr. President [does he mean Obama?].
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"God’s holy and faithful [black] people of [America] is a people with a taste for parties, for friendship, for beautiful things. It is a people which marches with songs of praise. It is a people which has its wounds, like every other people, yet knows how to stand up with open arms, to keep walking in hope, because it has a vocation of grandeur. Today I ask you to care for this vocation of yours, to care for these gifts which God has given you, [and party on, you indolent carefree Negroes!]." — Pope Francis, in his homily at the mass officiated at Revolution Square, Havana, on September 20, 2015 Of course, Pope Francis was not addressing African-Americans, but Afro-Cubans and all other Cubans. But imagine, just imagine, what the reaction would have been if the Argentine pope had spoken the same words before an audience of Obama's countrymen? Another Argentinian, Ernesto "Ché" Guevara, said very much the same thing about blacks that Pope Francis has just said about Cubans (black and white): "The blacks, those magnificent examples of the African race who have maintained their racial purity thanks to their lack of an affinity with bathing, have seen their territory invaded by a new kind of slave: the Portuguese. And the two ancient races have now begun a hard life together, fraught with bickering and squabbles. Discrimination and poverty unite them in the daily fight for survival but their different ways of approaching life separate them completely: The black is indolent and a dreamer; spending his meager wage on frivolity or drink; the European has a tradition of work and saving, which has pursued him as far as this corner of America and drives him to advance himself, even independently of his own individual aspirations." — Ernesto "Ché" Guevara, in The Motorcycle Diaries Are all Argentinians innately racist? Well, that is the reputation that they have throughout Latin America, whether they actually deserve it or no (and we suspect that their own predominantly European background and orientation may account for some of the hostility directed at them). Nevertheless, leftists who have had to confront and explain this "Ché" quotation attribute it to Argentine attitudes about race which Guevara was exposed to and internalized in his youth. They claim that he overcame his racism by helping to establish a police state in a more racially variegated country. We are rather inclined to think that it was in Cuba that his racism found its fullest expression. This pope must have a face and heart of stone to suggest that Cubans have "a vocation for grandeur," which is a job description of the office which he occupies. The vocation of Cubans is another, one which this pontiff does not understand much less honor. We mean, of course, that theirs is a vocation for suffering, which in the Church is known as heroic virtue and is valued above all others.
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Pope Francis had not one but two meetings with dictator emeritus Fidel Castro; the second, which took place in "his" home, included his wife, children and grandchildren, all of whom asked and received the papal blessing. The pope could not, however, spare one minute to meet with Cuba's dissidents and political prisoners. That would have given offense to his hosts and the pope would never be so rude. The meek may inherit the earth some day but until that happens the "people's pope" will pay court to the Pharisees and serve as their chaplain, bringing aid and comfort to the enemies of Christ while turning his back on his people. Immediately after visiting the Castro clan and rendering unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar, Francis attended a vespers celebration at the Cathedral of Havana, where he addressed for the first time Cuba's priests, nuns and seminarians. He advised them to value their poverty, which is Christ's greatest gift to mankind. "Material wealth," he said, "impoverishes because it deprives us of the only wealth worth having" — presumably the immaterial (or spiritual) kind. He called poverty "the wall and the mother of consecrated life" because like a mother it fosters greater trust in God and acts as a wall against worldliness. Any man who has not lived a cloistered life knows that the poor are not exempt from materialism or worldliness. If anything, poverty makes one even more keenly aware of the benefits derived from wealth and anxious to share in them. The "spirituality of poverty" as a meme may appeal to the wealthy, but not enough for them ever to embrace it. It can have no charms for the poor who do not idealize poverty because they actually know something about it, as apposed to dictators and popes. Like the slave masters of old, they extol a culture of poverty but would not cast off their wealth to share in its supposed blessings. It is not given to every man to be wealthy, but any man who desires to be poor can be poor. The pope railed against "excessive consumption" in a country where nothing is consumed in excess thanks to an economic model which for 56 years and counting has kept the Cuban people on the edge of starvation (and sometimes over the edge) as a means of societal control. The Castros, like the Church, also regard poverty as a "mother" and a "wall" which fosters greater dependence on the State and dampens materialism. They also feign poverty as does the pope and blame it on the economic system that produces the least poverty while endorsing the economic system that produces the most poverty. But, of course, that is to be expected since poverty is a positive good (for others): "Our holy mother Church is poor. God wishes Her to be poor, as he wanted our Holy Mother Mary to be poor. Love poverty as you would love a mother." And, by implication, be grateful to those who keep you poor and thus assure you the Kingdom of Heaven. The pope does not take a vow of poverty, as do other religious. He is the richest of the rich: so rich that he is above money. The pope receives no salary and never carries money on his person (neither does the queen of England); but, as a benefactor once observed of Gandhi, it takes a great deal of money to keep him "poor." Francis' "poverty" is more symbolic than real. In fact, the pope presides over the world's largest real estate holdings and controls an art collection worth a trillion dollars. This is the so-called "patrimony" of the Church, which the pope is nonetheless free to do with as he pleases. 264 successive popes have added to that hoard, not one has ever willingly disbursed any part of it. It is the ne plus ultra of hypocrisy for the pope to preach the gospel of poverty in a country and among a people where abject poverty has been imposed for 56 years by the ruling kleptocracy. If hunger refines the spirit, then the Cuban people are all spirit by now. This well-fed pope did his penance in Cuba's tropical heat by wearing layers of petticoats and capes. But these, after all, are no hair shirt and will soon be cast off in the privacy of the papal suite. The sliminess of his hypocritical notions, which clings to him like a second skin, cannot be as easily shed.
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Manuel Tellechea is now following The Typepad Team
Sep 22, 2015