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Pope takes a swipe at state ideology in Cuba

HAVANA (SE): Pope Francis took a swipe at the ideology of the revolutionary Cuban government when he addressed an estimated crowd of half a million people gathered for a papal Mass in Havana’s Plaza de la Revolucion on September 20.

In addressing the congregation, he pointed out that serving the people is the cornerstone of the Code of Ethics for the leaders of the Cuban state.

He then went on to warn how dedication to service is prone to corruption, saying that serving the people can easily degenerate into self-service, by helping yourself to what other people have.

He stressed the value of serving others without using them for self-gratification, saying that this is an invitation, not only for Christians, but for all people to take up.

He described service as implying, “Being a Christian entails promoting the dignity of our brothers and sisters, fighting for it and living for it. That is why Christians are constantly called to set aside their own wishes and desires, their pursuit of power, and look instead to those who are the most vulnerable.”

However, speaking in a nation that for 50 years has suppressed the Church and religious activity in favour of promoting its own ideology of revolution, he said, “Service is never ideological, for we do not serve ideas, we serve people.”

He described the principal gift that the Catholic people of Cuba have given to their nation as being a taste for joy and living with hope.

“God’s holy and faithful people in Cuba are a people with a taste for parties, for friendship, for beautiful things. They are a people which marches with songs of praise. They are a people with wounds, like every other people, yet know how to stand up with open arms, to keep walking in hope, because they have a vocation of grandeur,” he said.

“Today I ask you to care for this vocation of yours, to care for these gifts which God has given you, but above all I invite you to care for and be at the service of the frailty of your brothers and sisters. And among these fragile brothers there are probably many Cubans disappointed by the revolucion, the inability to maintain this high moral value of service.”

Pope Francis told his congregation that what he would like them to take home with them is a sense of the importance of people as individuals, a sense that must be based on how they seek to serve their neighbour, especially those who are vulnerable and weak.

He added that this is the first fruit of being human, warning, “Whoever does not live to serve, does not serve to live.”


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