Catholic Priest Expels Cuba's Ladies in White From Mass

Monday, June 29, 2015
From Breitbart:

Cuba: Catholic Church Bans Relatives of Political Prisoners from Mass

A Catholic church in the central Cuban city of Cienfuegos has banned female relatives of political prisoners from attending mass unless they no longer wear white, a color associated with political imprisonment in the nation. The slight to families of the abused follows the bewildering remark from Archbishop of Havana Jaime Ortega that Cuba no longer has prisoners of conscience.

Eight members of the Ladies in White activist group have attended Sunday Catholic Mass wearing white for years, sitting in the pews in silence unless participating in the Mass. No reports have surfaced of the women themselves–mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters of prisoners of conscience–disturbing the Mass. Nonetheless, a priest in Cienfuegos expelled them from his service, ordering them never to wear white again in his church if they wish to attend services.

The priest, identified as “Father Tarciso,” told Diario de Cuba that the women were “disrespectful,” stating, “I had told them that the way things are could not continue to be... I cannot allow our community to be further fractured,” he argued. He accused them of taking photographs inside the church, which the ladies deny. Miladis Espino Díaz, a representative of the Ladies in White, noted that they were expelled from the church and, upon walking out, could hear the priest apologize to those in attendance for not having done it sooner.

“We do not only go to church because we are Ladies in White,” Espino Díaz told the newspaper, “but because we believe in God. We sing, we pray, we participate, we do nothing wrong.”

Following their removal from the church, the women testified to being the victim of a number of offensive acts, including a man “exposing himself and urinating in front of them,” “obscene gestures using fingers,” and “being called prostitutes.”

Offenses to the Ladies in White are common as they attempt to attend Mass; in a particularly gruesome instance last year, one woman was tarred for wearing white to the service.

Two male supporters of the group, Emilio García Moreira and Alexander Veliz García, began a hunger strike Thursday to support the return of the women to Mass.