What did Pope Benedict get wrong in Cuba?

"Thus, while in Cuba—one of the most repressive nations on earth—Pope Benedict spoke only obliquely of freedom and respect for human rights. He also met privately for a half-hour with the ailing Fidel Castro and several of his progeny, while claiming that his schedule was too tight for a one-minute meeting with the dissident Ladies in White. When a Cuban was savagely beaten by government thugs at the papal Mass in Santiago and hauled away, simply for shouting “down with communism,” Pope Benedict said nothing. When thirteen dissidents who had sought asylum in a Havana church were also assaulted and dragged away by police—at the express orders of Cardinal Jaime Ortega, the archbishop of Havana—Pope Benedict said nothing. He also said nothing about Cardinal Ortega’s willingness to turn the Catholic Church in Cuba into an arm of the state. But he did manage to scold the United States for its so-called embargo, and thereby please his hosts."

- Carlos Eire, What Pope Benedict Got Wrong in Cuba

Photo courtesy of The Catholic World Report

Does the controversy over the Catholic Church and health care go beyond birth control?

"But sometimes the dual mandates of these institutions—to heal the body and to nurture the spirit, to perform public functions but maintain private identities—are difficult to reconcile. That was the issue with the recent contraception controversy. The whole point of the new health care law is to make insurance a public good to which every citizen is entitled regardless of where he or she works. And, because employers have traditionally been the source of insurance for most working Americans, the law effectively deputizes employers to provide this public good. In some cases, that means forcing religious institutions to pay for benefits—such as birth control—that violate the terms of their faith."

—Jonathan Cohn, “Unholy Alliance: The controversy over the Catholic Church and health care goes beyond birth control.

Image by Edel Rodriguez.