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Castro the Ecumenist

by Christopher A. Ferrara

On December 11, 2001 Zenit reported that "Fidel Castro hopes that a religious order of nuns can speed up its plans to open a center for spirituality in Havana." Is this a breakthrough for the Catholic Church in communist Cuba?

Not exactly. The "center for spirituality", you see, will be an "ecumenical center." Zenit notes that the center "which will be directed by the Bridgettine Sisters, was specifically requested by the Communist leader."

When told that the ecumenical center would take eleven months to build, Castro replied: "Oh, no, we must do it before. The works must be completed, at the latest, in five months."

Why is the old commie so eager to finish the "ecumenical center"? Well, because the "ecumenical center" will not be Catholic, but multi-religious in its activities. As Castro noted: "I want this center to be finished as soon as possible, so that here, in Havana, we will have another religious community with the charism of ecumenical work, because many different religions are present here."

Let me repeat that: Castro the communist wants a religious community with what he calls "the charism of ecumenical work." Why, the man sounds like the very model of the modern Catholic bishop.

That Castro - a militant communist and atheist - is so darned enthusiastic about ecumenism that he just can’t wait to get that ecumenical center up and running is something that ought to give even the most committed ecumaniac reason for concern. Does the Church really want to be pursuing something Fidel Castro is eager to support? Is it not completely obvious that Castro is big on ecumenism precisely because ecumenism tends to neutralize the Catholic Church in her mission of making converts and opposing evils such as the Castro regime itself?

In his book Liberalism Is A Sin, Father Felix Sarda y Salvany, speaking of Blessed Pius IX’s Syllabus of Errors, observed that what the devil "abhors and defames possesses an unimpeachable guaranty of its truth." That is, what the devil hates must be true. Conversely, what the devil praises and promotes must be false, for the Father of Lies would never lead us to what is true. Can we not see this in Castro’s hearty endorsement of ecumenism in Cuba? If there is another explanation for Castro’s great interest in building an ecumenical center, I would like to hear it.