By Joe Morris Doss, At the Threshold President
Have you wondered why Pope Francis intervened to become the keystone for building renewed international relations, relations that might seem independent of his office and institution? If you have, the question being raised regards the dynamic between religion and politics. It is a question that seems to be constantly confused and confusing. This may be especially so in a democratic system that places a firm wall between church and state. The founders of The United States of America recognized that church has to be protected from the state and that the state has to be protected from the church. This is one crucially important way that each is supported by the other.
Cuba is entering into a new era, undefined and exciting to contemplate. Part of what that nation has to figure out for its future is the relationship between church and state. One feature of that question, important for international relations as well as for people of faith, is how best to allow support of the Cuban churches from outside the country.
This points to the first reason: even if the Pope’s interest had been limited to support for the Roman Catholic Church in Cuba, without consideration of justice, peace, and the welfare of its citizens, he would be on firm ground in engaging the political developments of the country and in its international relations. The head of an international church will want the support of that church by government and the freedom for its members to exercise their belief, worship, and ministries. One of the primary changes occurring in Cuba is the increasing tolerance and active support being offered to the various churches. The Pope will want the opportunity be as fully supportive of the Roman Catholic Church as possible, and to see the proper relationship between church and state. This Pope will also feel genuine responsibility for all Christians and all of its faith communities. Read More…