Cuban Cardinal Assails Pro-U.S. Accusations

Says Ambassador’s Statements «Unacceptable and False»

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HAVANA, SEPT. 11, 2005 ( The president of Cuba’s bishops’ conference denied allegations by made the country’s ambassador to the Holy See that the Church works here as a tool of the United States.

Cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino, archbishop of Havana, issued a statement in response to an interview given by Cuba’s ambassador to the Holy See, Raúl Roa Kourí, to the Italian news organization ASCA.

In that interview Roa praised the Holy See’s posture vis-à-vis the government of Cuba, but accused the country’s bishops of taking sides with foreign powers.

The cardinal said Roa’s comments make it seem that «all the responsibility for the difficulties of Church-state relations in Cuba fall on the bishops, ignoring all that corresponds to the government of our country,» and that that episcopate serves the interests of the United States in the island nation.

The archbishop of Havana added: «We, the bishops of Cuba, are used to reading all kinds of newspaper articles, where we are accused of being ‘collaborationists with the Castro government,’ of supporting a specific dissident group or leader and of other contradictory things.

«This, although unpleasant, is possible in newspaper articles, but the insinuation, repeated by Mr. Roa that the Church in Cuba through her bishops has always responded to foreign powers is totally new and gratuitous.»

«His opinions on the Cuban bishops and their estrangement from priests are unacceptable and false,» stated the cardinal.

In the paragraphs of the interview that refer to the Church in Cuba, Roa «uses disrespectful and at times offensive language, never used before by any ambassador of Cuba to the Holy See in public documents,» added the prelate.

Cardinal Ortega added: «This is an unpleasant surprise and I want to affirm our total rejection of the content of his words and of his wounding and anything but conciliatory style.»

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