Stop the presses! No Catholic debate on Cuba deal!

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A Cuba Libre


A Cuba Libre

A Cuba Libre

A Cuba Libre

At a time when the pope is encouraging his flock to openly debate church policies, let me paraphrase the Sherlock Holmes story “Silver Blaze”:

Editor: “Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”

Silk: “To the curious incident of the Catholic right last week.”

Editor: “The Catholic right did nothing last week.”

Silk: “That was the curious incident.”

That’s to say that in re: the Francis-brokered normalization of U.S.-Cuba relations, there’s been none of the growling from Catholic conservatives that one has come to associate with liberal moves by the current occupant of the See of Peter. From the hierarchy, all we’ve heard are cheers from the likes of Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami and Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York and Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, New Mexico, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace.

In the conservative Catholic commentariat, Phil Lawler, Kathryn Lopez, Robert Sirico, and Father Z are all on board with Francis on this one. Bill Donohue too has bellied up to the bar. George Weigel, who made so bold as to criticize Pope Benedict for cuddling up to Fidel Castro during his trip to Cuba two years ago, has kept his peace. The only professional Catholic opinion-monger on the right I’ve found to slam His Holiness is Nicholas G. Hahn III, the editor of RealClearReligion.

The reason for this unusual political accord is the Vatican’s longstanding opposition to the U.S. trade embargo, even on the part of that most anti-communist of popes, John Paul II, who paid a visit to Cuba himself in 1998. So traditionalists dubious about Francis can embrace the view that what he’s pulled off here is in line with what the Church has taught since back in the last millennium.

All this leaves the foremost Catholic critics of the deal, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush and John Boehner, out in the cold, religiously speaking. Unlike Rubio, Bush and Boehner at least restrained themselves from criticizing the pope. But it’s hard to see them leading a successful anti-Cuban crusade without Catholic conservatives barking encouragement.

  • They have other priorities, so do not remark on this. This would not surprise you if you were not obtuse.

  • Kevin

    No one wants to talk about the political prisoners we have betrayed….it’s makes us Catholics look like heartless political opportunists.

  • Janet Baker
  • Augustine Thomas

    It must be comfortable in your echo chamber. There’s no virtue there, but there is cheap comfort.

  • Betty Clermont

    Regardless of GOP posturing as anti-everything-Obama-does, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce applauded the opening of Cuba because it presents new markets and investment opportunities.
    Raul Castro, in dire economic need that the embargo be lifted, released some prisoners in 2010 through the intercession of the Church to influence a Congressional bill easing the exporting of U.S. agricultural products.
    When Benedict visited the island in 2012, he denounced the embargo. Castro allowed the Church to open Cuba’s first business schools to train its first business leaders which will, no doubt, increase the Church’s influence..
    As an adjunct of U.S. big business interests and the GOP, naturally American hierarchs and other Catholic right-wingers favor opening Cuba to U.S. commerce.

  • cag

    Neither will Conservatives be objecting to the celebration of Christmas this year. The Cuba thing is a non -issue. Castro is effectively out of the picture, Cuba has decided to move along, and Communism there is in its last days. Why would anyone object to a small move calculated to end it sooner?

  • The Pope knows how things operate in the real world and behind closed doors. Rather unique for a Pontiff, even though past ones had the ear of GOD as well (or so they tell me). I wondered why the USA wanted to get together with Cuba again and where I am always suspicious of our politician’s actions but now I know I believe. American corporations and the super rich are wanting back the assets that were confiscated by Castro when he took over Cuba and put the into public ownership (now we can’t have that now can we with the capitalist system?) . therefore as usual Obama and the US government are doing he dirty works as usual for their powerful masters behind closed doors (the real world order) ‘The Destroyer of Worlds…the present Globalization ‘model’ –

    ‘The TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) will be an Absolute Disaster for the People of the EU (European Union) and the People of America (USA) in the long-term – We simply have to Vote AGAINST this behind closed doors Transatlantic Trade deal before it is signed up and too late for the People to do anything about it’ –

    ‘The KINGS of KINGS and Masters of Humankind’s Ultimate Kismet – the ‘New’ WORLD ORDER that will eventually dispatch Humankind to Oblivion and its Ultimate Extinction – The Greed of the Few Combined with Our Planet’s Natural Resources Running Out will make this Inevitable…We have to Change Our Development Mechanism from Corporate Globalization to Sustainability before we have Used Up ‘All’ the Non-Replenishable Natural Resources of the World…the planet belongs to all of us NOT the Few ! ‘ –

    Read how Obama sold the American people out and his soul behind closed doors in the White House as he made secret deals with the US bankers and told them that he would not be coming for them (letting them off the hook’ so that the American taxpayer would pick up the tab that they may never pay off – statistically and historically vast unpayable debt) – ‘Democracy died a death when ‘Partyocracy’ (a party-ruled ‘democracy) and ‘Corporatocracy’ Corrupted the System and became the New way to Control People and run a Nation’ –