Tag Archives: Cardinal Jaime Ortega

Cuba: Catholic Church Bans Relatives of Political Prisoners from Mass

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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.
Catholic religion is heavily regulated in communist Cuba, where it is technically a counterrevolutionary activity but has managed to persist, particularly given overtures by Pope Francis towards the Castro dictatorship. “If he keeps talking like this, I’ll return to the Church,” Raúl Castro said of the Pope this year following his support of major U.S. concessions to the Castro regime. Pope Francis was a direct mediator between President Obama and Raúl Castro before the American head of state chose to strip Cuba of its State Sponsor of Terrorism status–despite no evidence in a change of support to either the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or Hezbollah–in exchange for nothing from Cuba.
Meanwhile, Catholic Mass remains among the most popular locations for mass political arrests. According to the watchdog Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, which keeps a monthly tally of politically motivated arrests in Cuba, authorities made 641 political arrests in May, the latest month for which statistics are available. Out of the 641 arrests, 219 occurred either at a Mass or outside a church, where Ladies in White were arrested before they could attend services. Thirty instances of Mass-related arrests took place in May.
Despite overt targeting on the part of Cuban authorities, Catholic officials have insisted on defending the Cuban government against their congregants. In an interview on Spanish radio this month, Archbishop of Havana Jaime Ortega made the perplexing claim that Cuba no longer houses political prisoners. “When Pope Benedict came [to Cuba], there was a pardon of the common prisoners, because there are no political prisoners left in Cuba anymore,” he alleged.
Multiple human rights groups have confirmed that there are at least 71 political prisoners in Cuba, with others arrested on vague charges of disturbing public order and “counterrevolutionary activities” that may also be politically motivated. Cuban activists have reacted with horror to Ortega’s remarks, particularly in light of a scheduled visit to the island by Pope Francis himself in September. The visit, said 17-year political prisoner Jorge Luis García Pérez, will be “a very dangerous visit, because it will serve to legitimize the regime like never before.” Berta Soler, head of the Ladies in White group, responded with similar outrage, given that Ortega’s remarks render the families of the women in her group nonexistent. “We find it deplorable that Cardinal [Ortega] uses the same rhetoric as the Cuban government. The Catholic Church should not be biased; it should protect and shelter every suffering, defenseless person,” she said in a statement.

Breitbart News

Cardinal Sins – A Castro cleric brings disgrace

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Have you heard about the awful Cardinal hack scandal? It brings shame and obloquy upon a respected organization which has spent many years building up its good name. How could moral myopia prevail at such a critical time? What manner of insensitivity and obtuseness would lead to such unconscionable behavior?
What’s that you say… the Saint Louis Cardinals hacking into the Houston Astros scouting reports…?
Oh, no, no, not about baseball at all. I was referring to the Cardinal of Cuba, Jaime Ortega, revealing himself to be a shameless political hack. Yes, it is true. The cleric, in Spain for a conference, was asked by reporters about the conditions of political prisoners in Cuba. His response: THERE ARE NO political prisoners in Cuba. Mercifully he stopped right there and did not treat us to a treatise about the exemplary democracy of the island nation, thriving merrily under the avuncular gaze of those benevolent Castro brothers.
So, I suppose, Yippee! Castro’s prisons are empty now, leaving extra space for other uses. Perhaps they can open more of those wonderful medical schools Michael Moore featured in his documentary. A Castro Convertible, as it were.

his whole Cuban business is thoroughly disheartening. A formerly thriving country had its kleptocracy replaced by a theocracy, the theology in this case being Communism. In the old days the government made out like bandits and the people made out like people. Instead the government is a bunch of superannuated sanctimonious creeps and the people are a mass of penniless hostages. Greed has been replaced by need: how lovely!
All this happened over half a century ago. The United States expressed its moral disapproval in the form of an economic embargo. The result has been a pathetic standoff where we do not buy their cigars nor sell them our cars. None of this has fazed the Artful Codgers who run the place like a failed experiment. If political science is a form of science (questionable premise) then Cuba is a dysfunctional world out of political science fiction.
Along comes President Obama to point out that the policy has not “worked” and it is time to try a new approach. That sounds great for the five seconds requisite to withstand TV news scrutiny. Naturally the “new approach” turns out to be moral abdication. This reminds us of the famous remark by an elderly gentleman in the 1960s: “This New Morality sounds to me a lot like the old immorality.”
Of course the old approach has not “worked” if working is limited to complete success in restoring the island nation to normalcy. However, the policy has worked very well indeed at achieving its moral objective. It has left Cuba isolated as a moral pariah, a cautionary tale, a stink bomb. When we lift the embargo we lift the white flag of moral surrender.
“We are beginning a new relationship with the people of Cuba,” intoned our trend-setting President, thereby committing the Sobran Fallacy. The late Joseph Sobran was the first to identify this rhetorical trick of the Left. They speak of their fraternization with the captors as if it is a form of communion with the captives. If, say, we initiate friendly talks with Boka Haram in Nigeria, is that a way of beginning a new relationship with the schoolgirls they have kidnapped? No way! Sucking up to the Castros is not a way to reach out to the people of Cuba.
Here in South Florida the media are happy to be the mouthpiece for this drivel. We hear a steady drumbeat of cheerful echoes supposedly emanating from the island. Yes, Cubans are excited! They are ecstatic! They are upbeat! They are hopeful! Then the propaganda is upended by that pesky bugaboo of the left; namely, reality. A few days ago Hallandale Beach bathers were startled to be joined by four desperate rafters. Apparently they still like their chances better broke and barefoot in Florida than basking in the Communist paradise.
Which brings us back to the pathetic hack, Cardinal Ortega, who went to Spain and ran with the bulls***. His congregants look to him in vain for guidance along the pathways of conscience. If businessmen have sold out, if politicians have sold out, our last slender hope reposes in the hardy souls of our clergy. When they betray that hope, the tyrants own us outright.  American Spectator