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Sunday, 10 June 2012

Author defends priest

Cardinal Jaime Ortega

The recent improvement in relations between the Catholic Church and state in Cuba has produced the paradoxical reaction from the predominantly Catholic Miami emigre community of some pretty distasteful attacks on the leader of the island's Catholics, Cardinal Jaime Ortega. Despite the fact that his intervention secured the release of 75 'dissidents', for some people Ortega's speaking with Raúl Castro is equivalent to supping with the devil.
This matter is the subject of a rare sojourn into politics by Cuba's most celebrated author Leonardo Padura Fuentes, who this weekend has published this comment in the Catholic magazine Espacio Laical. It is in Spanish but for those who can't read it Padura Fuentes laments the way in which this priest has been maligned by those who, he says, prefer to hate rather than find ways to conciliate.
As a matter of personal interest, Padura Fuentes, (a friend of mine and his work the subject of my PhD thesis) confirms in this article what many of us have suspected: that there is a good deal of autobiography in the past of his famous fictional character Lieutenant Mario Conde.  Padura Fuentes confesses here that, like his detective hero, as a boy he preferred playing baseball on Sunday mornings to attending Mass...

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