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Article: Cuba: How the Church is Cultivating the Seed of Liberty

April 3, 2007

From Chiesa:

Since Fidel Castro, at the end of July last year, formally gave up power, a great vigil has begun for Cuba and the Cuban Catholic Church. The final outcome is more uncertain than ever. But the goal toward which the Catholic Cubans are resolutely aiming is summed up in a single word: freedom.

(…)

(Interview with Dagoberto Valdés Hernández)

Q: What role does the Cuban Church play in this delicate phase of transition toward a “just, liberal, and united” country, as cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino has said?

A: The Church is the only institution in Cuba that over the past half century has maintained autonomy and independence from the state. In the Church there is still a trace of that civil society which otherwise has been perversely dislocated from actual socialism. In recent years, the ecclesiastical institution has played a fundamental role in the accompaniment and reconstruction of civil society, offering ethical education, civic formation, training in community participation and responsibility, education for freedom, justice, and peace. The Church has, moreover, alleviated the despair of many Cubans and given them reasons to remain in the country.

Q: How do you see the relationship between the Church and political power today?

A: The Church has maintained its identity, its mission, and its areas of responsibility, even if its incorporation into society has been limited by a state that presumed to control everything and everyone. The Church has succeeded in sowing the Gospel in the midst of the most incredible difficulties. Many priests, religious, and laypeople have worked for years and years as faithful witnesses, even at the risk of their own safety and that of their families. All of this is a great gift from God!

Q: Half a century under a communist regime. Is there something special that the Church has learned during this time and from which everyone can learn?

A: I believe so. We have learned to believe in the force of smallness, in the efficacy of the seed, in the power of the leaven in the dough. We have learned to be humble, to live with our feet on the ground, sharing the fate of those who suffer injustice. We have learned that the Church grows and purifies itself in the midst of tribulations, and that this is a time of glorious crucifixion and resurrection for us, the disciples of Christ living in Cuba.

Full article here.

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