Saturday, April 7, 2012

Ramy on the Pope and Marxism in Cuba

An opinion about a Papal statement

Monday, 26 March 2012 09:37 Manuel Alberto Ramy

By Manuel Alberto Ramy

Marxism, which is nothing more than an instrument of analysis for society, was condemned by the Catholic Church more than a century ago. Leon XIII's papal encyclical Rerum novarum (1891) can even be assumed to be a response – the first one from a Pope – to that nascent ideology. The ideological differences between Catholic doctrine and Marxism, as a theory, go a long way back.

The novelty, pointed out to me by several readers and friends who have asked for my opinion, lies in a recent statement by His Holiness Benedict XVI with relation to his trip to Cuba. Traveling in the papal plane was the excellent journalist and Vatican specialist Paloma Gómez Borrero, who, with a direct question that was answered by His Holiness, unleashed some headlines that were a bit forced.

At one point in his reply (the exchange appears in Progreso Semanal), His Holiness says, “Today it is evident that Marxist ideology, as it was conceived, no longer responds to reality. In this fashion, it can no longer respond to the construction of a new society.”

In addition to having been the guardian of the faith during John Paul II's papacy, Benedict XVI is an intellectual, theologian and philosopher who has published about 20 books. He knows about thought, from his ideology, and also knows how to use the precise words to express himself.

The concept “no longer responds to reality,” he says –leaving open the question that, at some point, it might have responded to it – and continues by saying that “in this fashion” it's not valid for “the construction of a new society.” “This fashion,” I think, refers to the practice of applied Marxism, which to a great degree imploded in the former socialist republics, those in the so-called real socialism.

If I am right, we are not looking at a forced reiteration of positions in the field of ideas but to a statement about the experiences we've all lived.

It happens that His Holiness comes to Cuba when our country is going through a crucial moment in its history called an Actualization, which, in addition to reforming the socioeconomic system that has existed for half a century, is trying to erase old schemes of the Marxist praxis, copied from the USSR.

The Pope who visits us now is not the same Pope who visited us 14 years ago. But he also does not arrive to the same Cuba, which is something he knows. He will arrive into a society and country that are living through a process that leads to social and economic changes.

“In this process, which requires patience but also decisiveness, we wish to help in a spirit of dialogue, to avoid traumas and to help achieve a fraternal and just society with – for all the people, and we want to collaborate in this sense.”

“This visit has inaugurated a road of collaboration and constructive dialogue, a road that is long and demands patience but goes forward,” the Pope answered the journalist.

These words mean not only a disposition toward our government but also support for the bet on that option that the Cuban Catholic hierarchy has placed. Because of that decision, the Cuban hierarchy has been suffering attacks and pressures from powerful external forces, mainly from the administration in Washington.

That administration does not agree with Cuba's aspiration to make reforms that will lead to a new model of internal coexistence capable of excluding U.S. domination, or a model where the adoration of money does not prevail, something that the Pope mentioned in another context and upon which I wish he had been more forceful. (Marxism was a response to the then-emerging capitalism, which has since become globalized.)

Putting Washington aside, I opine that one of the possible objectives of the recent events in several churches – aside from the clear objective of pushing Church-state relations into a crisis – could be to alter the consensus that exists within the national hierarchy and turn it into confrontation.

“It is obvious that the Church is always on the side of freedom: freedom of conscience, freedom of religion. In this sense [INAUDIBLE] also contribute the simple faithful in this road forward,” the Pope said.

With all due respect, I cannot overlook and must lament the fact that His Holiness called "simple faithful" those who form the Church, which is nothing more than the communion of the faithful, the millions of people worldwide who share and practice the faith and preachings of the Son of God, the putative son of carpenter Joseph and Mary the virgin. Without the simple faithful, there would be no Church, only an institutional skeleton.

Progreso Semanal/ Weekly authorizes the total or partial reproduction of the articles written by our journalists, so long as the source and author are identified.

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