Raining on the Cardinal's Party

Thursday, March 15, 2012
As Pope Benedict XVI's trip nears, Cuban dissidents have peacefully occupied various Catholic churches throughout the island to call attention to their repressive plight.

Previous attempts at sending letters and formal requests for a meeting with the Pope have fallen on deaf ears.

The response of the Catholic Church has not been akin to their teachings.

In the town of Holguin, Bishop Emilio Aranguren even physically assaulted one of the occupiers.

According to Cuban pro-democracy activist Maria Antonia Hidalgo, Bishop Aranguren "behaved worse than a policeman."

Meanwhile, back in Havana, the Church's spokesman put out a statement decrying that "nobody has the right to disrupt the celebratory spirit of the faithful Cubans, and many other citizens, who await with joy and hope the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Cuba."

He's apparently referring to the Cardinal, his entourage and the four planes full of tourists (at $2,000 per person) arriving from the Archdiocese of Miami and the U.S. Conference of Bishops.

Of course, the statement was promptly reproduced by the Castro regime's state media.

Ironically, Reuters reported today that "Cuba is still dotted with abandoned Catholic churches and while the Church says 60 percent of Cubans are baptized as Catholics, it acknowledges that only about 5 percent actively practice the religion."

It's safe to say the insensitivity of the Church's leadership is unlikely to improve upon that.