Friday, June 12, 2015

Crony Catholicism

“The demise of Soviet totalitarianism has made room for a tropical Marxism that is less than total but still highly controlling.”

“Catholic authorities face increasing competition from fast-growing evangelical denominations, many with close ties to U.S. churches.”

“At one point, the Vatican hosted meetings for U.S. and Cuban negotiators, and the pope’s blessing has provided President Obama with political cover as he faces opposition to the rapprochement with Castro from Cuban American lawmakers.”

“The benefits of the engagement approach are evident today in the rehabilitation of the Catholic Church as the island’s only significant independent institution. Cardinal Jaime Ortega, Cuba’s highest-ranking prelate, has negotiated directly with the government for the release of political prisoners. The church publishes magazines, hosts lecture forums open to Cuban dissidents and has organized MBA courses for aspiring entrepreneurs.”

“Such privileges are somewhat resented among other Christian denominations on the island, which cannot match the Catholic Church’s institutional profile.”

“Cuban authorities and the Catholic Church both look warily on the rapid spread of evangelical denominations across the island, as hundreds if not thousands of tiny churches have popped up in Cubans’ living rooms. There is often no hierarchical structure for the Cuban government to relate to, and many smaller Christian groups have resisted the government’s attempt to organize them. (The island also has small Jewish and Muslim communities.)”

“The issue is a reminder that while the Cuban government holds the reins, its social policies are sometimes calibrated to balance among different groups.”

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