Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Religious affairs corner

The Episcopalians are preparing to visit Havana. Again.

The president bishop of the Episcopalians in the United States, Katharine Jefferts Schori, and her Canadian counterpart, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, will visit Cuba in January to speak to the faithful.

Not that there are many on the island: about 10,000 members spread over 46 parishes.

According to a spokesman for the bishops, the visit is still a “work in progress”, as you can read in this report.

But I suspect the Castro regime will welcome the visitors with open arms, given the track record of the Episcopalian hierarchy in all matters dealing with Cuba.

Earlier this year, the then presiding bishop, Frank Griswold, visited Cuba, where he had a “private audience” with Fidel Castro ... and was obviously charmed by the dictator.

So much so that the good bishop used his sermon at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Havana to attack what he described as the evil American commercial “blockade”, which he blamed for helping fuel poverty on the island – and cause families to be separated.

Hopefully, his successor will be honest and courageous enough to make some comment during her visit about the need for democratic change in Cuba. You know, the little things Episcopalians (and others) take for granted in the US and elsewhere, like multi-party elections, a free press, access by religious groups to the media …

We shall see.


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