“One wonders what it would take for the Vatican to condemn Saddam’s regime,” writes Christopher Hitchens. “I suppose if Saddam came out for partial-birth abortions or the ordination of women or the acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle he might be hit with a condemnation of some sort.”
Don’t count on it. Milwaukee’s former archbishop Rembert Weakland supported (or rationalized) all those positions, and I don’t remember any Vatican condemnation of him. For years American bishops have placed employment ads for jobs in their chanceries in a heretical newspaper, the National Catholic Reporter, which advances arguments for abortion “rights,” the ordination of women, and the homosexual lifestyle. Has the Vatican ordered the bishops to knock that off? Nope.
This is a Vatican loath to condemn or confront anyone. The watchwords of the post-Vatican II Church are conciliation and dialogue. Church officials went from fighting the world, the flesh, and the devil to accommodating them. This was the new peace.
The quasi-pacifism so popular in the Church today belongs to this “spirit of Vatican II.” Jesus Christ drove the corrupt out of his temple with a whip in his hand; the post-Vatican II Church invites them into the temple for a press conference.
The Church pacifist has been a blessing for dictators. Ask Fidel Castro. He basked in the reflected glory of the Vatican last week at the inauguration of a convent in Havana. “The purpose of the event, which was broadcast live on radio and television, was for the Communist leader to help bless the newly restored convent in Old Havana,” reported the press. To their credit, Cuba’s bishops deliberately avoided this farce. But a Vatican official showed up, as did a Mexican cardinal.
The Brigidines — an order which promotes ecumenical dialogue — received the convent building from Castro’s bloody hands. The order can use it “thanks to the Comandante,” said the house’s superior, Mother Tekla Famiglietti. “He confided in me that three Sisters have made an impression on him: a Cuban Sister, Mother Teresa of Calcutta and … I. He wished that I would have 4,000 Sisters in the world, like his doctors spread out on the planet.”
In the March issue of Mondo e Missione, a monthly publication of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, Sister Tekla Famiglietti speaks of the “cordial dialogue” between her and Fidel Castro. “You are welcomed and will not have any difficulty because you have all my support and the help of my collaborators,” he told her.
She won’t get any difficulty from Castro because she isn’t giving him any. “Ecumenical Catholicism” is putty in his hands.
The blessing ceremony gave Castro a chance to pose as a religious figure. “We are here today to dedicate not a school, a polyclinic, a factory, a hotel or any other of the thousands of social or economic works carried out by the revolution, but rather the new home of a noble, symbolic and prestigious religious institution,” he said. (He also told reporters at the ceremony that he applauded the Pope’s opposition to the American war.)
The convent, Castro said, will remind everyone of the Pope’s visit to his paradise. Castro made sure a picture of the Pope and himself shaking hands was tacked up at the convent.
Had the Pope’s visit weakened Castro, he wouldn’t be opening a convent dedicated to recalling it. “Relations with the Cuban government remain essentially the same,” a Cuban Cardinal recently answered when asked if Castro’s stance toward the Church had changed since the Pope’s visit. “The social-political space is always very limited and it appears often the Church is ignored… The government does not recognize the Church is a public entity that should have access to the communications media….There is a silence in terms of information about the Church.”
The “spirit of Vatican II” has made a believer out of Fidel Castro.
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