US Bishop: Church in Cuba More Than Surviving

Orlando Prelate Lauds Construction of New Seminary

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

MIAMI, Florida, AUG. 25, 2009 ( The Church in Cuba in more than just surviving — and a seminary under construction is proof of its strength — still, Catholics on the island nation need hope, says the bishop of Orlando, Florida.

Bishop Thomas Wenski made this reflection in an article printed today in the Miami Herald, in which he speaks of his visit last week to Cuba.  He was accompanied in Cuba by Cardinal Sean O’Malley, archbishop of Boston, and Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Cantu of San Antonio.

The Florida prelate recalled that the U.S. bishops — visiting the island to express solidarity with their counterparts there — had the chance to reiterate that both Cuban and U.S. prelates «have been opposed to the [U.S.] economic embargo for decades. It has failed to change policy but has inflicted needless suffering on the Cuban population.»

Bishop Wenski went on to note other statements the delegation had made at a press conference in Havana: that the Church-state relationship is «not what it should be, but it’s better than it has been»; and that help sent from U.S. Catholics for hurricane relief had reached its intended destination.

He continued: «One reporter asked: What does Cuba need now? The answer I gave I have yet to see in print but it was brief. I answered with one word: ‘Hope.’

«Today, Cuba is marked by growing uncertainty and an increasing sense of hopelessness. For many, especially the youth, hope is defined as ‘leaving.’ […]

«When a society closes the door to the Infinite, to transcendence […] hope is exiled. While Cuba is no longer an officially ‘atheistic’ state, 50 years of communism during which religious practice was actively discouraged has had its effect on Cuban society.»

Still, Bishop Wenski affirmed, «Through it all, the Church — though weakened and reduced in numbers — survived. Today the Church in Cuba, beyond just surviving, is striving to be a witness to hope. And, in spite of difficulties and lack of resources, it is gaining new members and more space in which to carry out its mission.»

A particular sign of hope, the prelate noted, is the construction of a new seminary outside of Havana, being funded largely by the Knights of Columbus.

«This seminary is the first significant construction project undertaken by the Catholic Church in 50 years,» he said. «It will be completed in late summer of 2010, a fitting way to close the Year for Priests on that island nation.»

The Florida prelate concluded by citing Benedict XVI in affirming that the Church will always prevail through difficulties.

«In all ages,» he quoted, «the Church, the People of God, also lives by the light of God and, as the Gospel says, is nourished by God. Thus in all the trials in the various situations of the church through the ages in different parts of the world, she wins through suffering. And she is the presence, the guarantee of God’s love against all the ideologies of hatred and selfishness.»

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation