03/16/13 - Cuba-L Document (Albuquerque) - For the Historical Record: The Catholic Church and the Cuban Revolution
[The Cuban Catholic church has a Havana publication named Espacio Laical, a monthly. Recently, the monthly had dedicated various issues at re-writing Cuban history. Oddly, it has failed to deal with its own historical record. Rather, Espacio Laical has attempted to produce a revisionist history where the role of conservative and reactionary institutions, processes or institutions have been redefined while progressive elements have been dismissed. Although it is not the task of Cuba-L to get involved in shaping the present or the future of Cuba, we have a strong interest in preserving the historical record. It should be noted that this particular document was produced two months after the Central intelligence Agency began preparing an invasion of Cuba and initiated a psychological counterrevolutionary [Peter Pan] Operation led by the Cuban Catholic church. ]
THE SITUATION IN CUBA - Pastoral Letter Issued on May 17, 1960
Most Rev. Enrique Perez Serantes, Archbishop of Santiago
Faithful to our sacred pastoral duty to care for, nourish and defend the
flock entrusted to us by the Supreme Head of Christianity, the Vicar of
Christ, we feel obliged today to address ourselves to our beloved faithful.
We do this to remind them, or inform them if need be, of the line of
conduct they must follow at this period of time that is causing confusion
and serious worry among many who undoubtedly await guidance from us.
In so doing, we feel certain that we are lending a good service to the
church and to the motherland, our two great loves, the constant objects of
our watchfulness and anxiety.
THE ENEMY IS WITHIN
We begin by saying that the ranks are already marked between the church and
its enemies. This is neither rumor nor speculation.
It cannot be said that the enemy is now at the doors, because actually it
is within, speaking loudly as though settled in its own domain.
It is not in vain that some of the better informed, those with perceptive
minds, became alarmed and wary some time ago, and prepared themselves for
the struggle against those who arbitrarily try to impose the heavy yoke of
the new slavery, for the true Christian cannot live without freedom either.
Nor does he wish to live in condition of servitude.
It must not be forgotten that always and everywhere, from Rome to Budapest,
it has always seemed better to us to lose all, even to shed blood, than to
renounce the liberty which is the attribute of the children of God.
We know, furthermore, that Communism is the great enemy of Christianity
today; Communism always vigilant, always alert, always ready to fall upon
its prey, overriding everything to go directly for its Objective.
It is easy to discover Communism everywhere and in all places, whether
erect or crouching, is easy to find everywhere; and it is present
everywhere. Nevertheless, even among our own there are some who -
heedless, innocent or extremely cautious - persist in denying it and even
resent that not everyone thinks as they do.
Church doctrine, which is binding upon all Catholics, is clear and final
on this point; and, even though many pontifical documents have been devoted
to it, it can be stated in a few words: "Communism, says Pope Pius XI in
the Enciclica Divini Redemptoris, is intrinsically wicked." We shall
therefore cite only some of the reasons for this plain, terse statement
given in the same document.
Dialectical materialism . The first principal reason is that Communism is
based on the dialectical materialism of Marx, albeit obscured by
occasionally deceptive appearances. The doctrine of materialism teaches
that there is only one reality: matter and its blind forces; therefore,
everything in the world is matter in the process of evolution, and society
itself is no more than a manifestation and aspect of matter.
Communism is atheistic.
The second, which follows logically from the first, if matter is
everything, is that there is no room for God; there is no difference
between matter and mind, nor between body and soul; no survival of the soul
after death, and, consequently, no hope of life after death. This premise
explains why Communism proclaims itself atheistic.
It follows from the above that Communism, like materialism, is the negation
of all human values, which in this system lack the spiritual foundation
which elevates man and places him above the purely organic.
Under Communism, man, reduced to a completely material being, is without
liberty and moral restraint against the assault of the lowest passions,
which are not pacified by any purely human consideration.
We believe that the above will suffice to justify the condemnation of
Communism as intrinsically wicked. We need not point out that it denies the
existence and indissolubility of matrimonial bonds, the right to own
property, and so many other tenets, and even tries to break down the entire
social system to its very foundations, under the pretext of creating a new
humanism without God and his holy law, submerged in a sea of hatreds and
What must be the attitude of Catholics? Our attitude must be loyalty to the
Pope. We must therefore always follow his instructions faithfully:
Have nothing, absolutely nothing to do with Communism. In view of the
repeated condemnations received from the supreme authority of Catholicism,
we deem it a vital necessity to urge, and even threaten, our diocesans, who
include all Cubans, not to cooperate in any way, or have contact, with
Communism; moreover, they must keep as far away from this implacable and |
powerful enemy of Christianity as they can, and not let themselves be
impressed by the more or less disguised or alluring, but always fallacious
and cunning, statements and promises, nor by the cleverness which Communism
displays in extending its hand, as it does so charmingly to Catholics,
since this is actually only a well~ contrived strategy for catching the
unwary more easily, we wish to reaffirm our distinction between Communism
and Communists. For the latter, individually, we must not fail to do
anything we can for them, in pursuance of the divine commandment of
Everyone must keep two things well in mind: first, that we must make no
concessions of principle; second, that the enemies of the Church,
particularly Communism, know what they are after, and pursue their
objectives tirelessly and unwaveringly.
The social doctrine of the Church . It would be well if the Catholics would
at least make efforts to acquaint themselves with the social doctrine of
the Church, which offers a satisfactory solution to all problems in the
economic and social fields. They would find out the reasons why sincere and
naturally honest Communists, when they came to know about this doctrine,
have to say: "this is the real solution to the social problem."
The material aspect . Although we are not concerned with this today, at
least directly, we may nevertheless be permitted to say that the Church has
always called for a more just distribution of material goods. No one has
spoken up more loudly for the needy than the Church, to which, alas, the
possessors of wealth and the usurpers of public property should have paid
greater heed. We have said many times, and we repeat today, that, in order
that humans should not be in worse conditions than animals (as they
actually are in many parts of the world), one must understand what
resources each family has to meet the necessities of life. There should be
no human beings who face a new day without a mouthful of bread for them or
their children without knowing to whom to turn to remedy a state of misery
which brings many to the verge of desperation. This la downright inhuman
and cruel, and a shameful spectacle such as this, as well as the repugnant
slums in which many families still live, frequently not far from sumptuous
palaces, should make us all blush.
In this, and in other matters, the Revolutionary Government merits praise
for its solicitude for such needy and neglected classes; and we
congratulate it for that.
And let no one think that because God has been excluded, his daily bread
will arrive with the morning sun, nor that it will be easier to get it; on
the contrary, he may find himself without either God or bread.
Revival of Christian life . We love God: We need to. Worst of all is that
Communism and materialism have a distinct interest in having us all sail
the sea of life blindfolded, without compass and without a pilot, which is
the same as condemning us to a life without hope, without faith, and
without love, distrustful of everything and everyone.
Materialism and Communism are ejecting God everywhere; but it is a fact
that we Catholics, at least, cannot reconcile ourselves to a life without
God or his sacred law, without which any law designed by man lacks solid
foundation: to legislate without God is to build on sand.
We love God completely . We love God completely, everywhere, at every
moment. We love God in the home, presiding over the domestic social group.
We love God in the school. In the courts of Justice, in the legislature, In
business, in industry, in the field, in the hospital, and in prison. Poor
prisoners, and poor sick people without God.
We love God completely, because it is His due, because He has every right
to be in everything and everywhere, and because we all are in constant seed
of Him. We love God, finally, because without God there would be chaos.
Without God, there is no peace . We love our families, the Justice and
decency of life, and our country a great deal. Of all these things so dear
to our hearts, God is the mainstay, as he is the beginning and the end; and
further, knowing that men, even the greatest and best- intentioned, are
incapable, by themselves, of warding off the fearful social collapse which
threatens the world, or of pulling society out of the hole in which it has
fallen and become mired .
After all, who, other than God, can possibly bring about the real unity In
the thoughts and inclinations of all which is necessary to social well-
being? Without the aid of God, who can possible harmonize the so frequently
conflicting human interests, especially if the floodgates of natural
desires are broken? Who, if not God?
With God excluded from the life of society, where can we find the peace for
which individuals and nations so ardently hunger? Where?
And yet, peace, real peace is at hand. To attain it, it is necessary and
sufficient to make a half turn toward the right, for then we meet Christ,
who is "our peace." Everything else is a loss of time. Who does not know
The best armament is the Ten Commandments, To win this peace, let us employ
the power of reason, and not the reason of power. Let each man carry within
himself a policeman, strongly wielding the weapon of the Commandments .
And, by the same token, let no one anywhere, in the streets, taken to arms
invented by men to kill people and destroy property. How horrible!
Return to God .
To gain such noble ends requires mobilizing all the forces of those who
would live with God; and, as God directs, throwing off the lethargy which
affects many, who cease to concern themselves with what is most important
and with what goes on around there, while the enemy allows himself not a
moment's rest .
It is accordingly absolutely' necessary that all of life, individual,
social, and national, revolve around God, and that everyone practice His
holy Law, which is equally- binding on all. There must be a return to God,
whose absence means death and vacuum which cannot be filled by anyone or
Practicing the Law of God and living as behooves a Christian, continually
strengthening our faith, requires sound and well-founded religious
instruction, the lack of which is a powerful ally of all of the enemies of
the Church. For Communism, which is lying in wait and on the maych, the
masses of peasants and citizens who are materially and spiritually
undernourished constitute the best field for its clearly atheistic
Every home a catechism class
In order to remedy the alarming shortage of priests and catechists, it is
essential that every home be turned into a domestic catechism class, where
children are taught from their earliest childhood every- thing which a good
Christian needs to know, as well as the practice, at the side of their
parents (this must always be done, even if there is an abundance of
priests) and together with their parents of the fundamental religious
duties of praising, blessing, and giving thanks to God. Such practice is
never forgotten and is carried in the heart, just as the first instructor,
the Blessed Mother herself is carried in the heart and loved.
However, in view of the fact that there are few homes in which the leaders
of the family are sufficiently qualified to fulfill this basic duty, in the
name of God we issue a fervent appeal to those persons who are best trained
to gather in their own homes or in some other suitable place the children
and even older persons in order to give them the proper religious
instruction; they should see to it that no one remains without this
instruction. We are referring chiefly' to the many' places in the country
and even in the cities where this work is most urgent.
Catechism instruction, the most urgent problem
Certain eloquent evidence corroborates this statement. Pope Plus XII has
stated that society is in need of urgent and effective remedies, few,
however, so urgent as catechism instruction. "Catechism instruction is the
first of all the works of Catholic activity. Religious ignorance is the
greatest stain on the Catholic nations . ' Pope Leo XII wrote: "The
catechism classroom is the battlefield on which it has to be decided
whether society will be Christian or pagan."
Contemplating the disasters brought about by the Paris Commune in the 19th
century, Thiers stated: "We must return to catechism instruction," and
Victor Hugo made this important confession: "Those parents who send their
children to schools where it is openly stated: No catechism instruction
here, deserve to be thrown in jail."
Finally, to be brief, Montalerabert stated in the French Assembly: "There
is no compromise between socialism and the catechism." Today we would say:
Work highly pleasing to God
The apostles of Christ knew beforehand that the teaching of the catechism
is highly pleasing to God Our Lord, for "the most divine of human works is
to teach others the way to heaven." They also knew that if they were able
but failed to do this work, they might one day hear from the lips of that
same Jesus Christ these terrible words :
"Depart from Me because I was hungry and you gave Me nothing to eat." We
have to "give a strict account to God, not merely' of the evil which we
have done but also of the good which we might have done and failed to do.
Think and meditate carefully about these words, beloved parishioners.
Coordination of work
We ardently desire that these catechistic centers contact their respective
parish priests, from whom they will receive the necessary catechistic
material, which we will give them if they need it. They may also directly
contact the Director of the Catechistic Work, Father Pedro Meurice,
Chancellor of the Archbishopric. Finally, id one should fail to report, at
least every three months, on the work he has done.
Best wishes . Let us , without delay , begin this evangelizing campaign,
which has the blessing of God and of His Holy Mother, Our Lady, the Virgin
of Charity, under whose sponsorship we place the work.
If everyone prepares to do the best he can, and if no one is indolent, only
God knows the great deal of good of all kinds which we are going to obtain
from His divine hand, which is more than generous, nay, extremely lavish.
Let no one fall to enroll in this campaign for good, even at the cost of
some sacrifice, which God will recompense a hundredfold, perhaps even in
earthly goods .
In this way we will work completely for God and for Cuba.
>From the priests , from the monks and nuns , we expect resolute , speedy,
and constant cooperation. We also expect this from all Catholic lay
organizations, which should mobilize with the greatest enthusiasm.
May. the Lord and the Virgin of Charity bless the work and all those who
collaborate in it.
Enrique, Archbishop of Santiago, Cuba
"This pastoral letter is to be read in all churches of this Archdiocese on
the first feast day after it is received, or within two days . "
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