‘Make trouble’ by creating culture of respect, pope tells Cuban youths

| Carol Glatz | July 29, 2016 | 1 Comment
Boys wait for Pope Francis' arrival at the Father Felix Varela Cultural Center in Havana Sept. 20, 2015. To help young Cubans who could not afford the trip to World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland, feel more connected to the international gathering in Europe, the pope sent a video message to Havana. CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn

Boys wait for Pope Francis’ arrival at the Father Felix Varela Cultural Center in Havana Sept. 20, 2015. To help young Cubans who could not afford the trip to World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland, feel more connected to the international gathering in Europe, the pope sent a video message to Havana. CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn

Fear nothing, break the chains that may bind you and bring hope to the world, Pope Francis told young people attending a special World Youth Day gathering in Cuba.

Let the Gospel transform your lives so that you can build bridges and promote a culture of encounter, respect, mutual understanding and forgiveness, the pope said in a video message sent July 28.

“This is ‘making trouble,’ this is to dream. And you young people have to ‘make trouble,'” he said. The Vatican released a transcript of the message July 29.

To help young Cubans who couldn’t afford the trip to World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland, feel more connected to the international gathering in Europe, the pope sent a video message specifically for them as they attended their own celebrations in Havana.

“We cannot love God if we do not love our brothers and sisters,” he said.

He told them that when they walk through the Holy Door in their archdiocese they should let themselves become “infected” with God’s love, so that they will be able to look at others with mercy and tenderness, especially those in need.

“Love is constructive, love does not destroy — not even your enemy,” he said.

“Young people, do not be afraid of anything, be free from the shackles of the world and proclaim to everyone — to the ill, the elderly, the sad — that the church is crying together with them and that Jesus can give them new life, revive them.”

Bring people hope — the kind of hope that even includes people who think differently, Pope Francis told them.

Everyone can build bridges with their words, hearts and desires, and by working together, he said.

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  • Charles C.

    (From an article published September 14, 2015)

    “The Cuban government’s now-ritual weekly arrests of pro-democracy dissidents continued on the last Sunday before Pope Francis lands on the Caribbean island, with more than 50 Catholic protesters arrested after attending weekly Mass.

    “The arrests occurred in Havana following a Catholic Mass largely attended by the Ladies in White dissident group. The group–composed of mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives of prisoners of conscience–is predominantly Catholic and attends Mass in white every Sunday. They follow the religious rite with a march through the streets of Havana, often holding signs about their loved ones. This Sunday they were accompanied by members of a separate dissident group, the Cuban Patriotic Union. Forty Ladies in White and ten allies were arrested and shipped to prison in buses, with the images showing violent treatment towards the women by Cuban officials.”

    “The Catholic Church has largely stayed out of the Cuban struggle for democracy, with Ladies in White activists growing increasingly critical of Cuban Archbishop Jaime Ortega’s silence on the issue. At least one church has banned the women from attending Mass at all, despite the local priest’s admission that they do not disturb the Mass in any way, save for wearing white.”

    What does the Pope’s message say to those women? My fear is that he and the Archbishop are telling them that they have been largely abandoned by the Church to work things out on their own.

    “[B]uild bridges and promote a culture of encounter, respect, mutual understanding and forgiveness . . .” They’ve been at it for 13 years now, any other suggestions?