Friday, February 29, 2008

John Paul II and "Che" Guevara Honored In One Monument

Tarcisio Cardenal Bertone has donated a lifesize statue of Pope John Paul II to the Cuban people who would have preferred two words of succor to 2000 lbs. of bronze. I don't know if the former Eastern bloc countries have erected statues to the late pontiff. They certainly have greater cause to honor him than we do, although we too may honor him as their liberator. He, of course, did nothing for us when he was finally allowed to visit Cuba nearly a decade after the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe.

The John Paul that visited Cuba in 1998 was a different pope from the one who 10 years earlier had confronted and defeated Communism. He came to Cuba to preach reconciliation not resistance and forgiveness where there had never been justice. Like Bertone, he decried the trade embargo against Cuba which the Vatican had supported against South Africa. While he held the other Communist satraps at arm's length and rebuked Marcos like an unruly school child, he was nothing if not deferential with Fidel, never criticizing him in his homilies nor the inhuman system he had fostered on the Cuban people, so inhuman himself in fact and detached from the reality that surrounded him and cried out to him for recognition, that one would have thought he had left Rome for Cuba to do as the Cubans do, or at least as Castro and his henchmen do — scoff at the suffering of the Cuban people. His words of praise for "Che" Guevara's good intentions and for the Revolution's social regression, but, above all, the posed photographs of John Paul and Castro hand in hand, literally and figuratively, may some day condemn his donated statue to the same fate as "Che" Guevara's, which is only few meters from it in Santa Clara.

In fact, it could be argued that Pope John Paul II's statue is part of a monumental complex dedicated to "Che" Guevara. The statue was a gift from Cardinal Bertone but its placement and configuration was determined by the regime. The statue has a stone canopy above it which, according to Granma, represents "La Loma del Capiro, an historical site in Santa Clara associated with the liberation of this city by troops under Comandante Che Guevara in late December 1958."

The union of Catholic and Communist iconography in this sculptural ensemble is strangely appropriate. John Paul II was a great admirer of Guevara. Guevara, of course, would have had only the greatest contempt for John Paul and if his hands had ever touched his it would not have been fraternally, but Guevara missed the John Paul phenomenon and his feelings are not on record. There is also the symbolism which the statue denotes, for Cuba's collaborationist Church (or, at least, its hierarchs) are indeed under the protection of the State as the State itself enjoys the support and benediction of both the Cuban and the Universal Church.


Charlie Bravo said...

Nothing surprise me anymore. Immunity?

Vana said...

Yes he came to Cuba but did not give a damn about it's citizens, of course this was not Poland, the place of his birth, the only place he gave a damn about.

Anonymous said...

Ya'll are really low (and isolated) to critize the Vatican. And you call yourselves Catholics?

afina said...

Vana, sorry everyone doesn't see teh world EXACTLY like you.

Sorry, the vatican believes in self-determination, even if that means paradoxically , more repression of the cuban people.

The cuban people, by the way, do not see the Vatican as "not giving a damn"..

on the contrary, I was just speaking to Cuban friend (who lives in cuba) , he says everyone was really touched about the cardinal's visit. He also said the the word on the street was that they admire teh Cardinal.

this is fact.. talk to your cuban friends (not connected to Miami US AID money), they'll tell you the same, for better or worse.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


The pope and the Catholic faith are two different entities however much the Vatican has tried since the 19th century to weld the two as if Catholicism were about the worship of Christ's vicar, not Christ.

It is the Vatican that should emulate Christ's lowliness and end its isolation from Christ's people. Only when Rome stops serving the interests of Christ's enemies will it be worthy of the support of Christ's people.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


Since your comment is only 3 minutes apart from that of Anonymous, I will presume that you are one and the same person.

It seems odd to me that you choose to comment anonymously for fear of non-existent reprisals while assuming that the Cuban people can freely do so in the face of persecution by the State.

Your poll of one does not impress me. Wait till Cuba is free and you will know what the Cuban people really think of collaborators like Cardinal Bertone, of course, when Cubans are free he will be as irrelevant in Cuba as the Cuban prelates who degraded the Church by serving Caesar.

Charlie Bravo said...

Afina, Anonymous,
thinking that we Catholics cannot criticise the Pope or the Vatican is just akin to thinking that as Cubans we cannot criticise castro.
Catholicism you wear in your soul.
Cult of personality lives in the soul of some, who also wear it on the sleeve. There's no difference on who the recipient of the cult of personality is.
As a reminder, the Catholic Church is about Jesus the Christ, and for his children, it's not about the Pope and his Princes.

Vana said...


I never said anyone should see the world through my eyes, I'm only stating my beliefs, sorry if you don't like my views, I don't care, is the way I feel and am sticking to it.

Ms Calabaza said...

"Ya'll are really low (and isolated) to critize the Vatican. And you call yourselves Catholics?"

Don't you believe in dissent? Beware of "blind" followers. The free world should wallpaper the Vatican with letters, phone calls and e-mail messages condemning Bertone's words and actions.

Agustin Farinas said...

Those commenters who find us reprehensible for criticizing the Catholic Church should refer to the prayers of Cardinal Ortega for the prompt recuperation and votes for the improvement of the President's health (meaning the tyrant Castro)
If you find nothing wrong with this abyect and bootlicker behaviour on the part of "your Church", then obviously either you are not Cuban, or don't care very much for the freedom of the Cuban people, which puts you in the wrong camp, as far as I am concern.

Mi Tres Cubano said...

"John Paul II was a great admirer of Guevara." Mano, as always I think you stretch Pope John Paul II's understanding of che a bit farther than what you can prove.

With that said, this is gem of a line is almost a winner for me: "There is also the symbolism which the statue denotes, for Cuba's collaborationist Church (or, at least, its hierarchs) are indeed under the protection of the State as the State itself enjoys the support and benediction of both the Cuban and the Universal Church." I do believe that is what the statue symbolizes, and why it was placed there.

I would change your words "Universal Church" to the "Catholic Hierarchy in Cuba." Simply because the term Universal Church implies all who are Catholic, and I as well as many other Catholics are opposed to cagastro. Thus, Universal Church does not apply to your comment. There are also many Bishops that I have personally encountered who are opposed to cagastro, and thus it would not be right to say all of the Catholic Hierarchy (or the Magisterium as it is officially known) supports cagastro. This leaves us with the Catholic Hierarchy in Cuba. And unfortunately, with the exception of a few Bishops from Pinar del Rio, IT IS CERTAIN that the majority of the Catholic Hierarchy in Cuba (starting with Cardinal Ortega himself) dances around egg shells when it comes to the regime. And it is with this fact the image and placement of JPII's statue is

A comment for Afina/Anonymous:

The Catholic Church is NOT perfect as it is made up of HUMAN beings. Moreover, the Catholic Church is not and can never be politically infallible. What is needed is to not to defend the Magesterium when it errs, but to realize that as Catholics WE ALL make up the Church. As Catholics we have the right, and the obligation, to speak against Church leaders when they are blinded from the truth they vowed to uphold. To say that the Catholic Hierarchy in Cuba remains silent because the Church believes in a paradoxical self-determination is to ignore the fact that this unfolding of self-determination is done so in a state of sin --a sin which is contrary to the teachings of Christ. What is needed is to accept the fact that there are those in the Church who are corrupt, and to have the strength to speak out against corruption --not out of hated or contemption for the Catholic Church, but out of love and hope for what the Church can fully be in this world.

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