Will the Pope Absolve Fidel Castro?

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Pope Benedict XVI will visit Cuba in March. Two of Italy’s top newspapers are reporting that Fidel Castro will avail himself of the visit to confess his sins and be accepted back into the Catholic Church, which excommunicated him in 1962.

“During this last period, Fidel has come closer to religion,” says Castro’s estranged daughter Alina who lives in Miami. “He has rediscovered Jesus at the end of his life. It doesn’t surprise me because dad was raised by Jesuits.”

A baptized and confirmed Catholic, but lifelong layman, I don’t claim expertise in ecclesiastical matters. But before granting absolution the Catholic Church, I’m fairly sure, still requires contrition—sincere contrition.

On his 1998 visit to Cuba, Pope John Paul II remarked that he was “reserving judgment on Che Guevara who had served the poor.” Upon greeting the Cuban ambassador to the Holy See in 2005, this same pontiff hailed Cuba’s “gains in health care and education.” The above makes patently obvious that, on matters Cuban, the Vatican references the same media and academic sources gleefully bestowed Havana bureaus and visas by the Castro regime. Heaven knows the Vatican is not alone on this.

So if the Italian papers are right–and with all due respect to whomever has been tasked with hearing Fidel Castro’s confession and granting his absolution—I offer the following educational items regarding Castro’s historical record of sincerity:

“Cuban mothers let me assure you that I will solve all Cuba’s problems without spilling a drop of blood.” Fidel Castro broadcast that promise into a phalanx of microphones upon entering Havana on January 7, 1959. As the jubilant crowd erupted with joy, Castro continued: “Cuban mothers let me assure you that because of me you will never have to cry.”

The following day, just below San Juan Hill in eastern Cuba, a bulldozer rumbled to a start, clanked into position, and pushed dirt into a huge pit with blood pooling at the bottom from the still-twitching bodies of almost a hundred men and boys who’d been machine-gunned without trial on the Castro brothers’ orders. Many of the victims’ mothers, wives and mothers wept hysterically from a nearby road as their loved ones were thus buried, some still alive.

Thousands upon thousands more Cuban men and boys (along with some girls) crumpled before Castro and Che’s firing squads in the days and months and years to come.

“Viva Cristo Rey!”  (Long Live Christ the King) were the last words of many of the martyrs.   Catholic youth groups were among the first to mount resistance to Castro and Che Guevara’s Stalinization of Cuba. Tragically for them, in the early ’60s the Castro regime’s KGB mentors were still flush from massacring thousands of Catholic (among many other) freedom-fighters during the Polish, Ukrainian and recent Hungarian rebellions against Soviet rule. Denied U.S. help  (from 90 miles away) while the Soviets (6,000 miles away) lavished their Caribbean satraps with massive firepower and 40,000 “advisors,” Cuba’s anti-Communist rebels fared no better than did those in Eastern Europe.

In the process of extinguishing the freedom-fighters, Castro and Che Guevara’s regime jailed more political prisoners as a percentage of population than Stalin’s and executed more people (out of a population of 6.4 million) in its first three years in power than Hitler’s executed (out of a population of 65 million) in its first six. These figures come from the human rights group Freedom House and from the Black Book of Communism, authored by French scholars and translated into English by Harvard University Press, not exactly headquarters for “the vast-right wing conspiracy,” much less of “right-wing Cuban exile crackpots.”

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  • StephenD

    Frankly, it is irrelevant if the Pope says Castro is contrite and thus forgiven. Castro, Guevara, et al, will have to stand before their maker one day. I suspect they will probably hear, instead of words that are accepting, rather more on the lines of
    "It would (have been) better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck…."

  • Reason_For_Life

    Pope John the 23rd was the last pope for whom I had any respect because he had the guts to excommunicate that murderous SOB Castro. Neither Mussolini nor Hitler were ever excommunicated. Now the church is preparing to let Castro rejoin the church and undo the one proper excommunication?

    Benedict better hope that there isn't a God because no just God could ever forgive him for this.

  • Lois

    Scripture says that ANY sin can be forgiven when a sincere heart EXCEPT sins against the Holy Spirit. When someone has been enlighten to the truth of God's word, and rejects it intentionally, then it will not be forgiven. Don't judge the Pope, but pray for his guidance to be strong in God.'s will.

    • dirtbag

      Yes, we can't judge if Castro's repentance is sincere or not, neither can the Pope. God will be the one to judge.

  • AntiSharia

    In order for repentance there must be recompense. Is Castro going to bring his victims back to life? Is he going to rewind Cuban history to the point before he seized power? Denying the Holy Ghost cannot be forgiven in this world, or the next, and murder cannot be forgiven in this world. Castro, if truly penitent,(which I doubt) must pay for his sins after death.

  • elihu

    The RCC, under the guidance of the pope, is destined to become the leader of the New World Order Ecumenical Church, defined in the Book of Revelation. The overwhelming members of this church have no idea how they are being used to form this coming immense power; I'm not so certain the hierarchy of the RCC are so innocent.

    • GKC


      • southwood

        See my reply to elihu.

    • southwood

      You're right. The RCC is syncretistic and has had Muslims, Buddhists, Jews and just about everything else in gatherings at Assisi. It's also in their catechism that Muslims can obtain salvation. They will court anyone in order to gain power. No one with eyes and ears can deny the RCC is voracious for power. It is corrupt at many levels. The ordinary followers are dupes.

      • sebyandrew

        Southwood, can you give the reference out of the CCC to clarify?

  • Steve Chavez

    Communists raise aid in churches or from the believers in the Son of God, in the home of God, to aid an ideology that says "There is no God!"

    FIDEL IS AS FAKE AS REV. SHARPTON AND JACKSON but if the Pope reaches out to him, as expected, he should say "Well let my people go to be free from the chains of ATHEISTIC COMMUNISM!"

  • Ghostwriter

    The Pope should do himself a favor and stay home. He'd make a complete fool of himself if he went to see Castro. He must see some good in him. I don't.

  • johnnywoods

    No matter what the Pope does for Fidel, Che will be waiting for him and Raul in Hell.

  • Steve Chavez

    "At the end of Fidel's confession to the Pope, the Pope says, 'Say 659 trillion Hail Mary's and 953 trillion Our Father's and kill, lie, steal, cheat, torture, adultery, rape, NO MORE!"

  • stan

    listern all you lay people, there is no dam god, sicence has proved it, a long time ago people had no idea as to how the world came to being, so they believed in all sorts of mumbo jumbo so wake up,and face the facts it is a money spining machine like any other so be it

    • southwood

      Oh yeah ? Well, evolution is the biggest load of mumbo jumbo ever taken up by deluded mankind.

  • guest

    The Church requires contrition as well as reform of behavior- at least a sincere effort at reform. The grace received by the penitent is determined by his ability to receive it, and that requires an admission of the wrongs committed, a sincere sorrow for the wrongs and an understanding of exactly Who the wrongs were committed against- they are transgressions against God and society-and a sincere intention of redressing the wrongs and changing the behavior. It is not as easy as some people make it sound; it is as easy or as difficult as the penitent chooses to make it.

  • Abisja

    From an establishment such as the RCC one can expect anything. Libraries can be filled with the atrocities it committed over many centuries against true Christians, Jews and others. I will recall just what happened after WWII; thousands of Nazi war criminals escaped through the vatican Ratlines to South America, a RC safe haven. Don't believe it? – read Dave Hunt's well researched best seller "A Woman Rides The Beast". During the "dark ages" more than 50mil. Christians died martyr deaths for rejecting RC teachings! – infant baptism being just one. The list goes on, and on….and now Castro – what a farce!

  • Guest

    O please Abisja, spare us this crap, will you??

    It is time that non-Catholics grow up and study independantly secular and church history. I have been raised and have been part for 60 years of a Protestant denomination. But I have done my homework, although it took many years. The Catholic Church is not one iota worse than anything from Protestantism or any other religion. In fact, over 2000 years, and keeping in mind the imperfection of our human race, it has on the whole done extraordinarily well. What rot when you pontificate about 50 miliion Christians who died during during the "dark ages". Good God, the so called Dark Ages" had only Catholics, dear! Or do you stubbornly want to believe that since 1517 – the Renaissance with Luther et al – 50 million "Christians" were killed by the RCC? No wonder people laugh at this rubbish spouted by non-Catholics. There is such a thing as objective studies out there, you know.

    • Abisja

      Guest , you are the one to go and do your research. Do you for one moment think when I mention Christians, I am referring to the Reformation – only in a very small way. Call Augustine to the desk and ask him what the "Church" did to the Donatists, Waldenses, Paulicians, Good men of Lyons, etc. The list goes on and on. Get yourself a copy of "The Pilgrim Church" by E H Broadbent – there you will find the 50mil+ I am referring to. It's not popular reading, and you will find very few "learned men of God" who even know about this research. If you are willing to go with the popular tales, stay in your ignorance, but don't try and hogwash me until the truth has set you free,

      • sebyandrew

        Let guest do your research and find out a little more of the doctrines and practices of some of those groups you mentioned and one can see why there was conflict betw. those grps and the ecclesiastical and civil authorities of the particular times. Broadbent''s book is very popular amongst the Plymouth Brethren, who have had and do have their own sectarian problems, their share of popes, divisions, as well as mistreated adherants. It is useful as an intro only if one had never heard of these grps. Exacting research it is not.

  • g_jochnowitz

    This is less shocking than the fact that Castro said Israel had a right to live. http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/
    Does Fidel have any influence with Raul? Maybe the United States can negotiate an agreement in which Cuba would establish diplomatic relations with both the US and Israel.