The following comes from a September 23 Christian Review article by Peter LaFave:
There’s no precise record of what Pope St. Leo the Great told Attila the Hun outside Rome’s lofty gates, but we do know that the savage Hun—moved by the Pontiff’s heed—had a drastic change of heart and spared a defenseless Rome from his bloodthirsty horde.
When a dictator meets a Pope, he must be prepared to face reflection on the state of his soul in addition to the state of his policies. Pope Francis crafted his own variation of Papal diplomacy last Sunday when he presented Fidel Castro a personal gift that Cuban tyrant will likely never forget.
In a highly publicized meeting, Francis presented Castro with a book of homilies by the late Jesuit Fr. Armando Llorente who died a Cuban exile in Miami in 2010. The significance? Fr. Llorente was Fidel Castro’s theology teacher who—after his exile to Miami—denounced Castro’s oppressive regime and publicly begged Castro to return to the Faith, even offering to personally hear his confession.
Armando Llorente was born in León, Spain, on Aug. 24, 1918, and entered the Jesuit order shortly after graduating high school. In 1942 he was sent to Cuba to complete his formation by teaching at the famed Colegio de Belén, where encountered a young Fidel Castro.
Before meeting Fr. Llorente, Castro had a miserable home life. In a 2007 interview from Miami, Fr. Llorente noted that until his school years Castro had felt unloved and unwanted, knowing he was conceived during an extramarital affair with his married father and a house servant. The priest mentored the naturally bright Castro on a variety of subjects, including theology, while the boy thrived socially and become the top student in his class.
Though the two corresponded for years, their friendship eventually soured with Castro’s involvement in government opposition. In 1958 while the revoltion was waging, Fr. Llorente, disguised as a shepherd slipped into the rebel outpost to confront his protégé. Llorente later described their conversation: “He confessed to me that he had lost the faith, and I responded to him: ‘Fidel, one thing is to lose your faith and another thing is to lose your dignity’.” After rising to power, Castro—displeased with the encounter—eventually banished the Jesuit order along with his beloved boyhood teacher in 1961.
Having fled to Miami, Fr. Llorente shepherded his fellow exiles and re-established the Agrupacion Catolica Universitaria, a Jesuit community with a strong Marian devotion. Fr. Llorente became a vocal critic of Castro and called on the Cuban dictator to repent, even offered to meet in person to hear his confession. In an interview before his death, Llorente described how he envisioned such a meeting would unfold:
“The first thing that we would do would be to give each other a big hug, laugh and remember the adventures that we had together, which were many and very beautiful.” Then, urging Castro’s repentance, Llorente would state, “Fidel, the moment of truth has arrived.”
Though Fr. Llorente died in 2010 without achieving such a vision, there’s no doubt Castro will always remember the influence the kind Jesuit provided during his troubled youth. One can pray that the aging tyrant, reflecting on the Pope’s gift during this Year of Mercy, will seek forgiveness and repent for the years of tyranny wrought upon his own people. Francis’ gesture echoes his late, fellow Jesuit by clearly declaring: “Fidel, the moment of truth has arrived.”
I enjoy learning new things at CCD:
“In a 2007 interview from Miami, Fr. Llorente noted that until his school years Castro had felt unloved and unwanted, knowing he was conceived during an extramarital affair with his married father and a house servant.”
And was his brother so conceived as well, or is there a reason that they do not look quite as similar as most brothers do?
Just watched Pope Francis at Liberty Hall in Philly – And his words resonate not just in Cuba, but the halls of power in DC – and must be ringing around the Oval Office right now.
After visiting the Little Sisters of the Poor, Pope Francis then Publicly Refutes fully and completely the attempt to marginalize Religious Freedom and the Rights of Persons of Conscience…
– Specifically making the distinction (in Spanish, I heard the translation) that ‘freedom to worship’ is Not Confined just to the four walls of the Church, but Religious Freedom has a vitally important dimension to place it in the Public Domain Debate.
His use of the Sphere vs Tetrahedron viewpoint analogy was most apt – although his rejection of Totalitarianism…
Just watched Pope Francis at Liberty Hall in Philly…
His use of the Sphere vs Tetrahedron viewpoint analogy was most apt – although his rejection of Totalitarianism would please Neither Fidel or Obama.
This article by Peter La Fave is the best effort at dressing up P Francis’ appallingly obsequious deference to Castro, the Greatest Living Murderer, by one who, dripping with hypocrisy, so purely declares his opposition to the death penalty–by the US.
The tortures, the murders, the firing squad executions in the tens of thousands, many of which Castro and his brother (Raul would tie the blindfolds himself) are documented over and over in photos, murders, oppression, the seizing of children and the executeds’ assets—were met with cloyingly sickening curtseying by this sovereign pontiff. But a warm-air-kiss from the pope and we all must forget.
There are many documentary photos that have survived—Castro still has dozens if not hundreds of executions annually, but those photos are suppressed.
Here, an older example:
Most photos that can be viewed are too shocking for our P Francis-Air-Kiss types, but they can be found out if you want to know the truth.
Also, Obama, who modeled himself (even a campaign photo) on Che Guevara, must have been proud of this pope. Che Guevara was the leading executioner for Fidel and Raul Castro. Birds of a feather.
So, if there is a mass-exodus of Cuban Americans from the Catholic Church to evangelical churches, be sure to credit this pope’s account. He has done so much—for dictatorship and communist oppression.
“Thus far and no further”
The Castro Boys are on their way out – and only time will tell if another ‘Hereditary Communist Dictatorship / People’s Democratic Republic’ like the Kim Dynasty runs in N-Korea will replace them.
If Not – then Pope Francis has at least laid groundwork for dealing with the Next Generation of Leaders, who may be more in tune with Him than Fidel – but want to keep their heads attached to their shoulders (and bodies free of bullet holes) until Fidel finally shuffles off the mortal coil.
If so – Bravo….
Then Again – If the Pope is Not appeasing Dictators, what is he doing hanging with the Barry Soetoro / Marshal-Davis / ObamAcorn… Whoever the guy really is?
Maybe it was a condition of the Visa. Ahem
The Pope loves everybody.
Please offer the Blood of Jesus for the conversion of this poor sinner.
Jesus loves everybody. I don’t think it is the duty of this pope or any pope to love everybody, as it is difficult to love unrepentant persons who are not merely dictators, but also murderers, thieves, anti-Christian, anti-Catholic, and evil. To help them if possible, to behave kindly in order to help hapless human beings who are suffering under this monster, and to show the way to the unrepentant sinner, is behaving lovingly, as a reflection of one’s own efforts to follow in the footsteps of Christ, but no pope is required to love all people, even if this were possible.
It is the duty of every Christian to love everybody.
It is the duty of every Christian to love everybody. To love someone does not mean that you affirm them in their sin. Neither does it mean that you agree with them or with any sins they may have committed. It is not anyone’s duty to affirm someone in their sin. That is not what love means.
Yes of course.
It appears the concept here is to “love everyone ][who is alive]”and ignore those whom we should also love who were executed by Castro, numbering and at least that tens of thousands.
This amnesia of the dead treats the murdered as though they don’t exist anymore. If that is so, we have become just as atheist as Castro. My love will be to the memory of all those who were murdered: because they are still alive.