“We want to contribute to personal and community reflection of pastoral
agents” / 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar
Posted on August 5, 2014
14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 4 August 2014 – To mark the
publication of a letter sent by five young Cubans to Pope Francisco,
14ymedio interviewed Erick Álvarez Gil, coordinator of the Christian
Liberation Movement (MCL) in Havana. At just 28, this young man joined
the organization in 2009, and holds a degree in Electronics and
Question: What are the antecedents of this document?
Answer: This letter was sent on the second anniversary of the death of
Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero, and also two years from the time Oswaldo
handed a letter to the Cuban bishops in 2012, which reflected some of
these concerns and also touched on the issues of relations between
Church and State, and Church and Society. These ideas are still dormant
and still a source of concern to us, so we went back to the idea of a
letter and put it in the hands of the Pope and also sent it to the Cuban
bishops, priests, religious, missionaries, and the most committed
laypeople in the Cuban Church.
Q: As I understand it the letter is dated May 5 and was delivered to
Pope Francisco on the 14th of that month, but only now has been
disclosed to the public. Why the wait time between sending the letter
A: We didn’t send the letter to any media, the aim was not that the
letter would be published openly. Our objective was to send it to the
main actors of the Church in Cuba and the more committed lay people. We
did that late last week and, as happens in these cases, it is already
Q: Have you received any response from anyone about this letter?
A: We have received no official response, but we have received feedback
from other young Catholics who have had access to it. An official of the
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops of Cuba has contacted us to meet and
discuss some of the issues in the letter. That conversation should be
this week. Also Monsignor Alfredo Petit Vergel, who is my pastor at the
Church of San Francisco de Paula, and one of the two auxiliary bishops
of Havana, saw me on Sunday and told me of his desire to sit down and
talk about it.
Q: What are your expectations from this letter that has begun to spread?
A: Our expectations were never based on the public and mass distribution
of the letter, even though we knew that it could happen when we sent out
a lot of emails.
We want to contribute to the personal and community reflection of the
pastoral agents with the greatest responsibility within the Church,
those who can influence the pastoral action of the Church, especially in
the political positions taken by the higher-ups in the Church hierarchy.
This is the issue that most concerns us, in addition to all the general
issues there may be at an ecclesiastical level.
We write from a political movement, we present ourselves this way from
the beginning of the letter, which is eminently political. It deals with
political issues and how the Church projects itself toward society.
Q: The letter also comes at a possible turning point, for renewal, for
the Cuban Church.
A: The Church is now in the process of designing a new plan to guide
pastoral action in the coming years and a dialog is imminent and
necessary, with the laity as well, where these elements can be
considered. There are also some Cuban bishops, such as Cardinal Jaime
Ortega and Monsignor Alfredo Petit Vergel and perhaps others, who are
finishing their time in episcopal government, and there are imminent
handovers in the upper Catholic hierarchy and in the bishopric. The
reflections arising from the opinions we offered in the letter might
have some influence on the appointments made.
Source: “We want to contribute to personal and community reflection of
pastoral agents” / 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar | Translating Cuba –