Saturday, November 26, 2016

Castro is dead ...

(I'm sure everyone knows this by now - I came online late today - so it's news to me.)

He wasn't doing well so his death isn't such a shock, although it is something of a milestone.  He outlived all his revolutionary comrades, as well as his Kremlin backers.  He was the man who nearly caused nuclear war in the early 1960's - for that he will always be remembered.

Toward the end of his life the last three Popes were very kind to him, I think.  JPII, Benedict, and now Francis 'negotiated' with the man, not so much the dictator, and Castro seemed anxious to see them - perhaps a bit like Zacchaeus in the Gospel?  For me, the papal visitations are a clear example of dialog, diplomacy, and even friendship - working together to secure religious freedom, reconciliation and peace.

Holy Father Pope Francis sent his condolences:
On receiving the sad news of the death of your dear brother, His Excellency Mister Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz, former president of the State Council and of the Government of the Republic of Cuba, I express my sentiments of sorrow to Your Excellency and other family members of the deceased dignitary, as well as to the people of this beloved nation. At the same time, I offer prayers to the Lord for his rest and I entrust the whole Cuban people to the maternal intercession of our Lady of the Charity of El Cobre, patroness of that country. - Francisco, PP.
The death of a man like Castro is difficult to process.  I have already come across articles detailing his 'crimes' - executions, confiscation of property and goods, disruption of free trade and persecution of the Church, and so on.  History will judge him, but God's judgement is the one that matters.

His mercy endures forever.

"I would give a thousand lives to save even one soul." - St. Teresa of Avila


  1. Good commentary, Terry. I am going to hope that after meeting three popes Fidel Castro's heart was moved to seek the face of God. Maybe in the silence of his room, the thought of the Lord came to mind and he spoke with him.

    I went to bed thinking about this and prayed a chaplet of Mercy for him and for all the Cuban people.

    1. I like to think he repented and longed for salvation - I pray for him too. God will sort things out.

  2. Castro, for me is somewhat of a conundrum. A man raised in a Catholic family who had a very good Jesuit education. His family was wealthy. He overthrowed a corrupt government and then was more brutal then the one he displaced. He nearly had us all killed in a nuclear war. He welcomed Popes but persecuted the Church. He reminds me of Lord Brideshead in Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited. He reject the Church. On his death bed he threw out the priest more then once. At the very end he repented and died in grace. His youngest daughter told the narrator of the story, who was Protestant and did not understand why he would do that at the end, that it was grace. The Church, she said is like an invisible string that will stretch as far as you go and never break. In the end it will go no farther but will never let you go. Waugh writes this much better then my summary. I hope and pray that this was Fidel's experience too. But he did much harm and no doubt will have to answer for that. No one, however is beyond God's mercy and forgiveness, but a person has to want it and repent with genuine contrition and the there is a price to pay.


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