Friday, April 25, 2008

Jaime Cardinal Ortega: The "Dorian Gray" of Cuba

From the Catholic News Agency:

Church in Cuba Hopes for Greater Government Cooperation, says Cardinal Ortega

Havana, Apr 23, 2008 / 03:18 pm (CNA).- The Archbishop of Havana, Cardinal Jaime Ortega, said relations between the Church and the Communist government have improved in recent times, but the hope is that there will be more openness with regards to access to the media and education.

In an interview with the magazine
Temas, Cardinal Rivera [sic] said the country is living “a very special” moment, as “a period of much reflection and debate (about life in Cuba) has begun and is very noticeable in the people, and sometimes in the electronic media, although not always.” “This is an interesting moment and we are looking on with hope,” he said.

Cardinal Ortega said the good relations with the government “could improve with greater openness for the Church.” He specifically referred to the media and noted that while the bishops do have access to local radio stations, in the future they hope to have a program that is broadcast on a more regular basis, whether weekly or monthly.

He also expressed hope that the Church’s publications could be circulated throughout the country in accord with established law.

Regarding education, Cardinal Ortega admitted that there is less of a chance of the Church gaining greater control over the administration of Catholic schools than for the Church to have greater access to the media.

The cardinal said that requests by the bishops today are given greater consideration than before, such as “requests for missionaries or religious to come to Cuba for pastoral work, which are obtained today with relative ease.”

Cardinal Jaime Ortega, archbishop of Havana, is rarely mentioned in the Catholic press in the U.S. Of course, there is very little reason to mention him and many reasons to ignore him. We were surprised, then, when the Catholic News Agency devoted a few brief paragraphs to the indescript prelate.

The title really says it all: the Cardinal expects greater "government" cooperation. That makes him the active agent when he has never been the active agent. It is not the Castro regime which will offer greater cooperation to the Cardinal, but the Cuban Church which will become even more cooperative with the regime. Perpetual capitulation is its normal mode. The concept of a church militant is completely alien to it. The Cuban Church is, rather, a church complicitous. As such it fears the future more than it fears the present. It is completely accommodated to the present. The future, when it will called to account for its betrayal of the Cuban people, and when the magnitude of that betrayal becomes known in all its horrific dimensions, is something that hierarchs like Cardinal Ortega should like to postpone as long as they can, indefinitely if possible. That is, atheistic communism is preferable to them than democracy and freedom of religion. In the shadow of tyranny, the Cardinal can continue to live his hedonistic lifestyle. Exposed to the light of a free press and not protected by the mechanism of tyranny, he would wither like the portrait of Dorian Grey.

The first thing to notice in the article is that the reporter immediately forgets the Cuban Cardinal's name. He refers to him as "Rivera." This, as we have already explained, is entirely understandable. I wish it were as easy for me to forget his name. The official history of the Universal Church will certainly have no place in it for him and even the annals of the Cuban Church will try to ignore him. But, of course, such attempts to erase history will be in vain while there are still millions of witnesses to it.

So this is an "interesting moment" and the Cardinal is looking forward "with hope (read horror)" to future developments. As regards the Church, it is "better relations with the government [sic]" which holds the key to "greater openness for the Church." Not freedom for the Cuban people, God forbid, but more space for the Church to preach resignation to tyranny to the Cuban people.

Specifically, the Cardinal wants greater access to the media. Not to seem ungrateful, he points out that "the bishops do have access to local radio stations" (that is, they can be invited to appear on the propaganda shows); but this is not enough for Ortega, "in the future [he] hopes to have a program that is broadcast on a more regular basis, whether weekly or monthly." Isn't that just precious! On a "more or less regular basis" and "whether weekly or monthly." 12 days out of the 365 would satisfy this very-easy-to-please cardinal. Before the Revolution, the Catholic Church owned its own radio station in Cuba, one of the island's most powerful (closed and confiscated by Castro). Now, it would be content with 30 (censored) minutes every month.

And forget about the return of Catholic education to Cuba. Such an idea is thoroughly alien to the Cardinal, as alien, indeed, as it it to the regime. Incidentally, the Catholic News Agency does not know, and certainly got no inkling from the Cardinal's interview, that there are presently no Catholic schools in Cuba. In fact, can Cardinal Ortega actually be obscuring that fact himself when he is quoted as "admitt[ing] that there is less of a chance of the Church gaining greater control over the administration of Catholic schools than for the Church to have greater access to the media." What "Catholic schools?" Empirically, the Cardinal's statement is true, however. The Cuban Church does indeed have a lesser possibility of regaining "administration" over its confiscated schools than it does of getting a monthly 30-minutes on state-controlled radio.


nonee moose said...

Good post, MAT.

I wish it were as easy for me to forget his name.

Is there something more to this statement? Or is his co-optedness just one more on your list?

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


It is men like Ortega who opened my eyes to the truth of Martí's statement: "Christianity died at the hand of Catholicism."

This revelation was not pleasant for me. I doubt it was pleasant for Martí, either.

It was not motivated, however, by Martí's supposed "anti-clericalism," but by the Church's want of Christianity in his day no less than in ours.

nonee moose said...

Any human who vows to be an agent for perfection is doomed to disappoint.

And I often share your disappointment.

Esteban Dido said...

Manuel are you sick?

A post not related to our compatriots Val and Henry?

Are you really well today

Keep taking those pills PLEASEEEEEEEEEEE

Cordura Manny

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

esteban dido:

When they have nothing stupid to say, I have no need to correct them. In fact, it is they, not I, who determine when they take their medicine.

Anonymous said...

lol mat

Vana said...

Cardinal Ortega will settle for anything the regime hands out to him, heaven help us if they do open Catholic schools in Cuba, the "Cardinal" will have more little boys to predate upon.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't it like that before the Revolution, too?

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


Batista also shielded Cuban prelates from the consequences of their "indiscretions" but never extracted fealty to him as the price. In fact, the Cuban episcopate issued regular condemnations of Batista and were to a man sympathizers of Fidel Castro. He was, after all, their "boy."

Batista was educated as a charity student at a Quaker school in Cuba. Fidel at Belén.

Need I say more?

Anonymous said...


Where are fantomas and alex? Did you lock them in the Madhouse?

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


I think they are off on vacation together.

Fantomas said...


Anonymous said...


You never left . most of the anon comments were from you.


Anonymous said...


you missed me!

tu novia

Fantomas said...

a leaner, more savvy, intelligent, calm, direct, kinder, gentler, Fantomas is back .

a peticion popular

Fantomas nunca miente . El siempre desenmascara a los tiranos de Cuba, de Venezuela , de china y de Ecuador


Anonymous said...

fontomas who?

Aqui no te queremos. pal laton de basura con el

Fantomas said...

A ver quien fue el anonimo que que se atrevio a decir eso, a ver que levante la mano

nombre completo , direccion de id y pais por favor

Fantomas said...

manuel dime a que numero de comments quieres llegar 33 o 55 en este thread ( hilo)

los dejo por un rato voy a ver Maria Elvira Live

Anonymous said...

The Gentler & Kinder Circus is back in town.

Anonymous said...

No importa si esto es un relajo aqui, preguntale a manuel este es el blog de la jodedera , donde se joden a los otros bloggers for free

it has been a circus since day 1. desde que se inaguro

Anonymous said...

The only circus in town is Babalu.
La mayoria son unos pallasos.

Anonymous said...

Mat que esta pasando ? Ni el regreso de fantomas le ha dado fuerza a e blog.

Tienes que cambier el sistema.

Anonymous said...

tomate otra cervezita y acuestate a dormir. Es vienes social mi hermano.

El unico relajo aqui eres tu y Henry.

Fantomas said...

video nuevo fresquecito de la dra hilda molina

los miquis dicen que fidelito ya se pira para Chile

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


Yes, Val wanders here regularly in the hope that he will be mentioned. Henry has been getting most of the attention lately and that wounds Val in the deepest of his being. Although I believe that RCAB validates Henry more than it does Val, I know that Val's obsession with it has given him no rest since it was inaugurated a year ago and that he has never stopped kicking himself for being the catalyst that brought it about. (He will also kick anybody who mentions this blog's name to him).

Fantomas said...

Manny no me das la bienvenida en mi retorno triunfal after a couple of days hiatus

Capullo said...

I think they are off on vacation together

Eso sono medio gay mat

Anonymous said...

Fantomas: thank you for your support. Your donations to Cuba Nostalgia are greatly appreciated.

Yours friends from Babalu.

Fantomas said...

Mat chequea los ip hay un impostor por aqui que no sabe escribir español y se hace como el que sabe trying to boycott your fine blog

No le hagas caso que estan sembrando cizañas las cuales no seran fructiferas.

Fantomas has NO ENEMIES

paz y amor , mucho amor para todos

Anonymous said...

El uniko impusitor ke ai aki se yama fantomas

ha kien les hestas disiendo ke no able e spañoll ?

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


You would be surprised how many friends take vacations together to places like Philadelphia.

But, rest assured, nothing untoward was meant.

Fantomas and Alex simply coincided in their vacation plans, like two strangers who board the same airplane.

P.S.: All in all, I think it is probably better not to be on that flight.

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