ROME – Amidst a push by the daughter of Cuban dictator Raul Castro to legalize gay marriage by redefining it through replacing the terms “man and woman” with “two people,” the Catholic Church is denouncing it as “ideological colonialism” and “cultural imperialism.”
Archbishop Dionisio Garcia of Santiago de Cuba, last week called on the people of the Island nation to find “other legal ways” to protect gay unions that don’t include changing the “definition of an institution of the natural order, such as marriage.”
“They’re using the growing globalization process to try and create a uniform culture that accepts and adopts its criteria (while) disqualifying those of others. It’s what we’ve sometimes called ‘cultural imperialism’,” the archbishop wrote in an online message.
Pope Francis has often used a similar term, “ideological colonization,” to refer to affluent Western nations making the adoption of liberal sexual ethics a condition of overseas aid programs. For example, many African bishops have reported over the years that Western governments or NGOs may offer an African nation assistance to build roads or markets, but on the condition that the country adopt a certain sexual education curriculum in its schools.
Last month, when the Senate in the pope’s home country of Argentina debated abortion, Amnesty International paid for a back-page ad in the New York Times to pressure the Congress; International Planned Parenthood invested millions in the campaign and the United Nations Human Rights Commission released a statement the day after the vote, saying that it was a “missed opportunity.”
Earlier in the debate, one of Argentina’s famous “slum priests,” a ministry favored by Francis, told the chamber of deputies that the fact that President Mauricio Macri had decided to open the debate was tied to a loan from the International Monetary Fund.
What Father José María “Pepe” Di Paola said in late May is not too different from what the Cuban archbishop wrote last week, that ideas that are “so foreign to our culture,” come from “powerful groups with a great economic capacity and influence.”
These groups, he said, “have penetrated the international organizations in such a way,” that together with rich countries, they “influence less developed countries in need of economic aid, financing groups aligned to their ideas and pressing local governments to the point of conditioning, in many occasions, the economic aid, so that they apply policies like these.”
“It’s a new ideological colonialism,” Garcia wrote.
The redefinition of marriage in the Cuban constitution, spearheaded by Mariela Castro, daughter of Raul Castro, was approved by the National Assembly and is currently undergoing a popular consultation.
According to the archbishop, the redefinition of the institution of marriage in the constitution “worries many,” because it could lead to the legalization of gay marriage, or adoption by same-sex couples, “depriving them from birth of having a mother or a father.” He also said that the constitutional re-definition of marriage could lead to a change in the content of what children are taught in schools.
As he noted in his letter, instead of the current constitutional definition of the “voluntary union of a man and a woman, an expression that collects the feel and wisdom of the people, a new definition is introduced: ‘voluntary and consensual union between two people’.”
Human beings, he said, are either “men or women,” and each sex has its own “particularities and genetic, physical, biological and psychological differences, in such a way that they complement each other.”
This complementarity, the archbishop added, is expressed in a “unique and singular way” in marriage. To ignore “what has been given to us by nature or to go against the laws and process inscribed even genetically, in our being, carries regrettable consequences,” that can either be immediate or manifest themselves over the years.
On the issue of adoption, Garcia said that same-sex unions cannot be “fecund” on their own, and that if in the present “we see that the absence of a father or mother in the home can create situations of instability for the children, this will grow even more with the marriage between two people of the same sex.”
In the early days of the 1959 Cuban revolution, gays were persecuted, even sent to forced labor “re-education” camps, which led to Fidel Castro admitting responsibility of “injustices” perpetrated against homosexuals back in 2010.
The new constitution would replace the one from 1976, and beyond the redefinition of marriage, it opens the door for private business to be considered as a legitimate activity and the role of joint ventures and other forms of foreign investment are upgraded from secondary to “important” or “fundamental.” The Communist party continues to be the only one allowed.
After its recent approval by the parliament, the drafted document will be discussed in 35,000 workplaces and community meetings into November. Once the debate is wrapped up, the legislature will approve a new draft and submit it to a nationwide vote early next year.