Holy Father, rescue from forgetfulness
the Cuban martyrs,
victims of communism!
John Paul II
On your most recent visit to the heroic and Catholic Poland, you paid an emotional homage to the martyrs who throughout the long history of the Church -from the persecutions by Nero and Diocletian until our days- gave their lives for their faith; and you also exalted those who in our times have died as victims of the communist cruelty (Bydgoszcz, Jun. 7, 99).
Those who subscribe to the present message with filial love, Cubans in exile scattered throughout the world, have seen very few times during your prolonged Pontificate, so well interpreted in their Catholic and patriotic hearts, as in this just and much needed homage rendered by you. As not in vain we are the sons and daughters of a nation that for the past 40 years, has been under an implacable communist regime.
To proclaim, before the sleepy consciousness of the post-modern man, that "also our century has witnessed a great martyrdom," you chose the Archdiocese of Gniezno, where one thousand years ago, the martyr Saint Adalbert gave his life "for the Gospel of Christ and for his Homeland."
There, you mentioned "numerous groups of martyrs" that you have exalted to the glories of the altars, among them, the Spanish and Mexicans, victims of the communist revolution's hatred. You added: "How many more were there in the period during the Second World War and under the totalitarian communist system!" You also proclaimed: "They are martyrs, almost forgotten, almost 'an unknown militia' of the great cause of God," "the time has come to recognize all these victims and render them due honor."
Yes, they are victims of communism, prophetically stigmatized by your predecessor H.H. Pius XI in the Encyclical "Divini Redemptoris" as a "satanic scourge," "intrinsically perverse," with which "it can not be allowed to collaborate, on any grounds, by those who wish to save Christian civilization from the ruins." Victims of this "satanic scourge", among them, many Cuban Catholics, particularly those young men that on the early years of the sinister communist revolution, died by the firing squad crying out loud "Long Live Christ The King! Down With Communism!"
The ex-political prisoner Armando Valladares writes in his memoirs, an emotional and historical fact about these martyrs of the faith, assassinated in the sadly and notorious prison of La Cabaña: "Every night there were executions by firing squads. The cries of the patriots of 'Long Live Christ The King! Down With Communism!' shook up the centennial dungeon of that fortress." "Those cries gave rise to a symbol," added the ex-political prisoner. Those responsible for the religious persecution in Cuba, in order to avoid at any cost those proclamations of faith and heroic virtue of lay Catholics, and also to crush the fruits of any conversion derived from them, ordered to gag the mouths of those condemned to die.
Together with the silence imposed by the gagging, came a new phase in the "politics toward religion" by the Cuban communist regime, whose diabolic objective was to recruit apostates and not martyrs. At the same time, a big mantle of forgetfulness came upon those heroes of the faith, from within and outside Cuba.
We are certain that the martyrdom of those lay Cuban Catholics, does not render them of less value than of those Christians killed in the roman Coliseum, or of the Mexican martyrs at the beginning of the XX century or of the martyrs of the Spanish civil war, many of them beatified by you.
Because of this, we so wish that the Church commences the canonization process of our heroes of the Faith, so this way we could have them as official heavenly intercessors in favor of our beloved and agonizing Homeland. We also wish that the Church, during the celebration of the Jubilee 2000, when reflecting in recalling the Catholic martyrs, would also include a mention to our Cuban martyrs.
At your feet we beg with filial love and exclaim: "Holy Father, rescue from the forgetfulness the Cuban martyrs, victims of communism!"
Your words would certainly contribute without any doubt, as a factor of perseverance to all those brothers in the faith, living martyrs, being persecuted at this very moment, not only in Cuba, but also in China, where all the bishops faithful to Rome, as well as countless of priests and lay people, are imprisoned; in Vietnam; in North Korea; and also in Colombia, where cruel guerillas persecute, kidnap and assassin Catholics -among them the bishop of Arauca, Msgr. Emilio Jesús Jaramillo Monsalve, killed "in odium fidei" in 1989, - and to many priests and countless of faithful.
To God's ears, your words would resound like trumpets that will contribute decisively to totally demolish the last "Walls of Jericho," built in our times by the "satanic communist scourge," and reduce them to dust, accelerating the moment anticipated by our Lady of Fatima, of the triumph of her Immaculate Heart.
Holy Father, assured in the attention that our Holiness will give to this appeal, we manifest our fidelity to the Holy See of Peter, we kiss with faithful affection the Ring of the Fisherman and we ask for your Apostolic Blessing.
Miami - Roma, October 1999
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