VIDEO Top Cuban-American Priest: Catholics Have a Role to Play Against Communism

A Catholic faithful prays at Jovellanos' Church, Matanzas province, Cuba on August 9, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / YAMIL LAGE (Photo credit should read YAMIL LAGE/AFP via Getty Images)


Cuban-American clergy must stand united with the growing chorus of Catholic voices on the island condemning communist oppression, Father Fernando Hería, who heads the Cuban exile community’s most important Marian shrine, told Breitbart News this week in an exclusive interview.

Hería noted that, after decades of Catholic leaders in the country struggling not to “lose the little they have achieved” after the mass firing squad killings of Catholics that defined the early days of the Cuban Revolution, Catholic voices are rising to condemn the anti-Christian practices of the Castro regime, often risking their lives. Now, more than ever, he asserted, they need unity from those on the other side of the Straits of Florida.

Father Hería, who arrived in America himself as a refugee from the island, currently serves as the rector of Our Lady of Charity National Shrine in Miami, commonly known in Spanish as the Ermita de la Caridad. Our Lady of Charity is the patroness saint of Cuba and her shrine is widely seen as the most important religious and cultural site for Cuban-American Catholics in the country. Father Hería also serves as an adviser to the Global Liberty Alliance, which offers legal and advocacy aid to victims of human rights abuses around the world.

As the head of the Ermita, Father Hería has written multiple public letters in support of priests and human rights activists in Cuba seeking an end to communism. Given social distancing requirements in place to fight the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, the Ermita has begun to broadcast Catholic Mass online through the U.S.-funded Radio and TV Martí, which makes Father Hería’s Mass accessible to Cubans on the island.

He first published a statement in early November in response to remarks published online by Father Alberto Reyes Pías of central Camagüey province, who wrote on the platform, “I’ve always wanted to say this: communism is a great lie. It’s all a lie.”

Public challenges to communism on the island are illegal, typically punished as vaguely defined crimes like “disrespect.”

“Dictatorships, whether on the left or the right, have never respected the dignity of the being or his or her existential freedom – there is no such thing as a ‘benevolent’ dictatorship,” Father Hería wrote, urging the Catholic leadership on the island to support Reyes.

“For years in ever Ad Limina visit with the Pope, they are always asked, ‘why do so many Cuban priests leave their country and serve in the diaspora?’ To which Cuban bishops have always responded, unjustly, ‘because they are attracted to money,” Father Hería wrote. “Enough already with this farce! Cuban priests who stay abroad do so because they are tired of living under two types of dictatorships: the ecclesiastical and the governmental, and that is the truth!”

Father Hería has adopted basta ya, “enough already,” as a rallying cry, and Cuban dissidents on the island have begun to use it as a hashtag on social media.

The top of the hierarchy has not taken up the cause of Cuban freedom with much gusto in Rome. Pope Francis himself has demurred when asked about human rights abuses on the island, instead using the opportunity to condemn Europe for alleged religious rights abuses. The pope also claimed to have “no news regarding detentions” in Cuba during his 2015 visit, when reporters filmed Cuban police beating and arresting a dissident, Zaqueo Báez, in front of Pope Francis’s vehicle.

The father explained to Breitbart News that, despite his harsh criticism in his letters of Cuban bishops and clergy who do not support the people on the island, the Church has endeavored to help the repressed in ways that are not “obvious” and a growing number of Catholic leaders on the island are losing their fear.

“For example, in Cuba right now there are 70-something food pantries for aid to the elderly and children throughout the island. Caritas International in Cuba and the Order of Malta maintain these from abroad,” he noted, referred to two Catholic entities. “There are many, diverse ways that the Church helps the people.”

As for those who try to work to help the Cuban people on the island without being vocally antagonistic to the regime, “I understand,” he said. “I’m on the outside. I’m outside. Am I hurt? Yes. Why? Because not a single priest in the diaspora has called me to say ‘I’m with you.’”

“You can quote that,” he continued, “because they’re afraid to get committed [to the cause of freedom] because many go with religious visas to Cuba for whatever reasons. We can’t keep going like this. We have to be one because basta ya, basta ya with so much abuse against a people who are noble, who push forward.”

“We have put that into evidence here [in America],” Father Hería said of the Cuban people. “I came here at age 11 to this country. I brought three outfits, which is what they let us bring. … We are a persevering people, a people who always seek unity, peace.”

The resistance, he emphasized, was not promoting violence to overthrow the regime.

“We are not talking about violence. We’re talking about demanding rights and that the rest of the world support us because unfortunately, Cuba does business with the entire world. With every country in the world. And at whose expense? The people. They live in poverty, no medicine, no food. But they export abroad,” he explained. “It is a lot of pain, a lot of pain.”

Spiritually, Father Hería told Breitbart News, the Church has to role to play with the youngest members of the anti-communist resistance.

“These young people are hungry. These young people have no identification with the revolutionaries that fought the Batista dictatorship in the 1950s that got to power in 1959. There’s no identification there. … they were born from the mid-1970s to the 1980s,” Father Hería noted, adding that many subscribed to the uniquely Cuban syncretic faith of santería – “they are baptized in our Church but they practice their African roots, just like they did during the time of independence.” Santeros honor both Jesus Christ and the orishas, the gods of the Nigerian Lukumí faith.

The week of this interview began with an unprecedented protest of Cuban artists – an estimated 300 of them – surrounding the doors of the Cuban Ministry of Culture, which prohibits artists from creating any art without a special permit they must receive beforehand. Under “Decree 349,” anything from a rap song to a screenplay requires prior Communist Party consent before being created.

The protest followed the violent raid of a home where members of the San Isidro Movement, an anti-communist art collective, were engaging in a hunger strike to demand the release of one of their members. allegedly because the dissidents were risking spreading Chinese coronavirus, Rapper Denis Solís was convicted and sentenced to eight months in prison for “disrespect” after not allowing a police officer to illegally enter his home, then filming the encounter as proof of the officer’s crime.

Over 200 clergy and laymen Catholics in Cuba signed an open letter in late November demanding the communist regime act to protect dissident artists and find a peaceful resolution to the San Isidro hunger strikes that included reforms.

The San Isidro Movement, led by performance artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, was established in part as a response to Decree 349, though Otero had engaged in anti-communist activism for years before it passed in 2018. The group’s hunger strikes, though since concluded, have fortified a movement for true democracy on the island enjoying increased momentum and international attention.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.

Cardinal Sarah says West must wake up to threat of Islamism after three killed at French Catholic church

Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Credit: Paul Badde/CNA.

CNA Staff, Oct 29, 2020 / 05:36 am MT (CNA).- Vatican Cardinal Robert Sarah said Thursday that the West must wake up to the threat of Islamism after three people were killed at a French church by an attacker shouting “Allahu Akbar.”

The Guinean cardinal wrote on Twitter Oct. 29 that “Islamism is a monstrous fanaticism which must be fought with force and determination.”

“It will not stop its war. Unfortunately, we Africans know this all too well. The barbarians are always the enemies of peace,” the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments wrote.

“The West, today France, must understand this. Let us pray.” 

An attacker armed with a knife killed three people at a church in Nice and wounded others, the mayor of the French city said Thursday. 

The incident took place at the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Nice Oct. 29 at around 9am local time, according to French media. 

Christian Estrosi, Nice’s mayor, said that the perpetrator, who was armed with a knife, was shot and arrested by the municipal police. He described the incident as a terrorist attack.

He said in a video posted to Twitter that the attacker repeatedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” during and after the attack.

Estrosi wrote on Twitter that two of the victims were killed inside the basilica. He paid tribute to the church’s guardian who he said was “so appreciated by the parishioners.”

The attack in Nice follows the beheading of a Paris school teacher, Samuel Paty, in an Islamist terror attack earlier this month. 

The day after the murder in Paris, Sarah tweeted that he was praying in Rome “for martyred France.”

VIDEO Pompeo Calls on Catholic Church to Be Tough on China Like John Paul II with Soviets — ‘A Powerful Force for Good in the World’

By Trent Baker

In a Friday interview on “The Hugh Hewitt Show,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sounded off on the arrest of Hong Kong dissident and devout Roman Catholic Jimmy Lai.

Host Hugh Hewitt asked Pompeo if the United States will speak up for Lai, who he noted is “being oppressed by the Chinese Communist Party,” and others like him.

After highlighting how corrupt and oppressive the Chinese Communist Party has been, Pompeo called upon the Catholic Church’s leadership to be as tough on China as Pope John Paul II was on the Soviet Union because the Church is a “powerful force for good in the world.”

“I think the whole world can see that the Chinese Communist Party doesn’t speak the truth, right? It made this promise to the people of Hong Kong that they’d have 50 years where they’d operate under a system that was different. That’s the deal they shook hand with, with the Brits and became an international agreement,” outlined Pompeo. “Instead, they lied. They’ve got a national security law that puts every citizen all across the world at risk, not even just those inside of Hong Kong, if they speak in a way that’s inconsistent with the Chinese Communist Party that deems appropriate or useful. The world can see this. And the world can see the people of Hong Kong now being treated as if they’re just another communist city inside of China. And I think you see the response that not only the people of the world are reacting to, but what the leaders across the world are doing to protect themselves and their people from the challenge that the Chinese Communist Party presents to them.”

He added, “I traveled to the Vatican now a week ago, a week and a half ago to speak with Vatican leadership on this very set of issues. The Holy See has the capacity to exert enormous influence. Their moral witness matters an awful lot. We need them on the world stage, talking about the horrific activities taking place inside of China today, the enormous religious oppression, the sinicization of the Bible, the tearing down of religious buildings, not just Christian buildings, Catholic buildings, but every religion. The oppression of the Muslims is of horrific stature, the worst we’ve seen since the 1930s, what’s going on in Xinjiang today. And I’ve called upon the Catholic Church and the Catholic leadership in the Vatican to stand up for these people. The Church has historically done that. John Paul II was an important part of turning the tide and creating freedom in Europe and the destruction of the Soviet Union and the freedom of people that were oppressed by the Soviet Union. We need that same moral witness today. They’re a powerful force for good in the world, and we need them talking about this in a way that is serious and thoughtful and consistent with the beliefs I know they hold so dearly.”

Follow Trent Baker on Twitter @MagnifiTrent

VIDEO Sister Byrne at RNC: ‘The Largest Marginalized Group in the World’ Is the ‘Unborn’



Sister Deirdre Byrne from the Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts spoke at the Republican National Convention (RNC) on Wednesday where she declared that “the largest marginalized group in the world” is “the unborn.”

“While we tend to think of the marginalized as living beyond our borders, the truth is, the largest marginalized group in the world can be found here in the United States. They are the unborn,” said Sister Byrne at the RNC on Wednesday evening.

“As Christians, we first met Jesus as a stirring embryo in the womb of an unwed mother and saw him born nine months later in the poverty of the cave,” she added.

Sister Byrne went on to explain that, like so many pro-life people today, Jesus, too, had stood up for what was just, which was not considered “politically correct or fashionable.”

“It’s no coincidence that Jesus stood up for what was just and was ultimately crucified because what he said wasn’t politically correct or fashionable,” said Sister Byrne. “As followers of Christ, we are called to stand up for life against the politically correct or fashionable of today.”

“We must fight against a legislative agenda that supports and even celebrates destroying life in the womb,” she said. “Keep in mind the laws we create define how we see our humanity. And we must ask ourselves, ‘What are we saying when we go into a womb and snuff out an innocent, powerless, voiceless life?’”

Sister Byrne added that, as a physician, she can say “without hesitation” that “life begins at conception.”

“While what I have to say may be difficult for some to hear, I’m saying it because I’m not just pro-life, I’m pro-eternal life, and I want all of us to end up in heaven together someday,” said Sister Byrne.

“Donald Trump is the most pro-life president that this nation has ever had, defending life at all stages,” Sister Byrne went on to declare. “His belief in the sanctity of life transcends politics.”

“President Trump will stand up against Biden and Harris, who are the most anti-life presidential ticket ever, even supporting the horrors of late-term abortion and infanticide,” she added.

“Because of his courage and conviction, President Trump has earned the support of America’s pro-life community,” concluded Sister Byrne as she took out her rosary. “Thank you, Mr. President, we are all praying for you.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, on Parler at @alana, and on Instagram.


African Cardinal: Hitler, Stalin Would ‘Rejoice’ over Abortion

In this file picture,Head of the Catholic Church in South Africa Cardinal Wilfrid Napier comemmorates the late Archbishop Denis Hurley's 9th death anniversary at the Emmanuel Cathedral Church in Durban on 10 February 2013. If Catholic cardinals want the next pope to embody the complexities and contradictions of the modern …

by THOMAS D. WILLIAMS, PH.D.12 Jun 2019

In a tweet Wednesday, Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier responded to a Nigerian pro-life activist who said that with its caption, “Make Abortion Great Again,” the Guardian had adopted the spirit of genocidal movements.

“How the spirit of the likes of Hitler, Stalin must be rejoicing at this total abandoning of traditional, human ethical standards & Christian morality!” Cardinal Napier said in reply.

This is not the first time Cardinal Napier has weighed in forcefully on the matter of abortion. Earlier this year he defined it as “the hate crime of our era,” which is not recognized as such only because of political correctness.

“Is there any good reason, other than political correctness, why abortion is not defined as & declared immoral & illegal, as THE hate crime of our era?” the cardinal tweeted in early February.

At that time Napier was responding to Live Action, a pro-life group, which was tweeting about abortion and racism, underscoring how abortion disproportionately targets the black community.

“There is no group that kills more black Americans than Planned Parenthood,” Live Action noted. “Abortion is the most lethal form of racism.”

Abortion accounts for a startling 61 percent of deaths of African Americans, according to researchers from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

A 2018 report found that induced abortion was responsible for 1.152 million deaths, making it the number one cause of death in the United States, accounting for nearly twice the number of deaths from heart disease (599,413) and cancer (567,628).

While abortion accounts for nearly a third of all U.S. deaths, it makes up over 60 percent of African American deaths, according to the study published in the Open Journal of Preventive Medicine.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), between 2007 and 2010, more than 35 percent of the deaths by abortion in the United States happened to black babies, despite the fact that blacks represent only 12.8 percent of the population.

By functional standards, abortion is a racist institution in the United States, with black children aborted at nearly four times the rate of white children.