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.