Pope Francis, Raul Castro, Cubans: Who won and who lost
Havana (AsiaNews) - If there were only "profit" and "loss" margins, despite the complexity of economics, everything would be infinitely easier to evaluate. When it comes to events of a profoundly human nature, with all the cognitive and especially emotional components that affect the consciousness of a people and a culture with unsuspected depths, it is almost impossible to make a precise assessment.
This is even more difficult when, as in the case of the Pope's visit to Cuba, it involves the religiosity of a people and its history. In Cuba there is an indisputable Catholic Christian matrix. So much so that one cannot understand us or our history without following Catholic evangelization since the time of Miguel Velazquez, through to the heyday of the famous bishops Compostela, Valdes, Santa Cruz, Espada and the illustrious Felix Varela who taught us to think in Cuban nurturing a generation of heroes, the formation of which created the most universal of our compatriots: José Martí.
Who won, who lost? These are simplistic questions if formulated in terms of "profit" and "loss". Instead these are wise questions if they foster in us the desire to build a country "with all and for the good of all", and if, as Varela said, "there is no motherland without virtue, there is no virtue without piety [religiousness-ed] ".
The Cuban government certainly gained from its unprecedented media coverage in which state journalists had to resort to Father Rolando Montes de Oca to save face as much as possible, amid ignorance and inaccuracies created by a hasty last minute documentation on the subject. This media hype communicated a clear message to ordinary people that could be formulated thus: the government is sympathetic to Catholicism ... For those who have a historical memory, the formulation would be a bit 'different: it is an attempt to "wipe the slate clean ..." which, in any case, from the perspective of faith, is to be welcomed, although the "thaw" and flashy looks are more cosmetic than real.
The institutional Church won in being recognized, in fact, as a social factor that integrates, a backbone of patriotic values rooted in the Catholic faith. This recognition means it must strive to be the "voice of the voiceless", and they are not few in our reality.
The average believer of any faith has won, seeing in all of this a strong incentive to free himself of the fears that for so long burdened religious expression. The timid and emerging informal education institutions won, which by dint of sacrifices and amid advances and error, have been established. The strong discourse in support of the family won, which had been so badly hurt by the exclusionary economic, educational, reproductive policies [that affected a part of the population - Ed], and which largely led to the migration of young people of childbearing age. The same was echoed during the visit of St. John Paul II in Santa Clara, when he said: "Cuba, take care of your family to keep your heart healthy."
The Churches great request for more hope to be given to young people by society also won. Listening to the talk on the streets it would seem that the that the perception of a Church - institution and the community of believers - on the side of the people won.
However, the warning remains against the ever present risk of a Church that is a parallel power or, worse still, the image of the Church of the "colonial pact". Francis came at the right time, saying "who does not live to serve, does not serve to live" and to mark the victory of the culture of encounter, dialogue, strengthening the participation of all ... "the long dead system of dynasties and groups"(José Martí).
Finally, the Cuban people won, those in Cuba and those pilgrims in different parts of the world, children of this endless migration and exile. The words, actions and gestures throughout Francis’ presence in Cuba were stellar. They mark a before and after ... He was so clear, so merciful, concrete, full of hope and instilling hope ... There is no turning back ... He put the human person, every man and women, looked upon and embraced with affection, at the center of all human relationships and encounters. And this is certainly a gift of the Spirit, "Kairos", a time of grace. In short, it was a victory for the Kingdom of God.