Posted by: fvbcdm | March 24, 2012

Feast of Saint Toribio de Mogrovejo (23 Mar 2012)

It’s nine o’clock a.m. on Friday, March 23, as I compose this message.  As I write, Our Holy Father Pope Benedict is flying across the Atlantic from Rome to Mexico.  He will spend several days in that country and then in Cuba before returning to the Vatican.

Pope Benedict is the second Pope to visit these two countries;  Pope Blessed John Paul II also went to each of them.  And as I look back over the recent past, I am grateful for the developments that have taken place in my own lifetime.  When I was in college, I went to Mexico several times, and we were very much aware of the oppressive atmosphere that prevailed in Mexico regarding the Church.  That had been going on for nearly a century. But things have improved greatly, and now Mexico and its highest officials welcome the Supreme Pontiff quite cordially and it is no longer a crime to participate in religious services there.  If the young Jesuit, Father Miguel Pro, were found celebrating Mass and hearing confessions in Mexico City today, he would not be murdered by a governmental firing squad as he was in the 1920s.  In the city of Morelia, I was shown a tree on which a young woman was hanged for the crime of teaching catechism to children in that same period of time.  

In the city of Leon, the capital of the Mexican state of Guanajuato, there is a very fine white marble statue of Our Lord, Christ the King.  I have visited there a number of times. That statue copies a much larger one out on a mountain called “El Cubilete” which stands at the geographical center of the country. Many of those Catholics who suffered and died at the hands of the politicians back in the days of persecution had a special devotion to Christ the King, thus those statues at the very heart of Mexico.  Our Holy Father will visit those places.  

 Then, in Cuba, he will visit the national shrine of Our Lady under her title of “La Caridad del Cobre.”  The Church is still suffering oppression under the Communist regime  spawned in Cuba by Fidel Castro, and now being continued by his brother and other members of the Communist government of that unfortunate country.  But the Pope’s presence there opens the door little by little to some of the freedom and the prosperity for which the people of Cuba have yearned for many years.    

 We might well join our prayers during these next few days with those of Pope Benedict and our fellow-Catholics in Mexico and Cuba for human rights there as well as in our own country, where they are also being threatened.  Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.

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