By Miguel Cruz
This morning, I found myself on the World Youth Day 2011 website, realizing that that’s why a one-way flight to Madrid in August is over $2000 on American Airlines. On the front page was an article about John Paul II. Of course I had to click. I try to soak in as many articles that are written about, in my opinion, one of the most brilliant men that have ever walked this earth.
As I finished the article, still reflecting over a week later on the remarks of Archbishop Wenski in Boston, I reread the homily given by John Paul II in Havana on January 25, 1998. Reread it a few times actually. One part resonated in my head.
…liberation cannot be reduced to its social and political aspects, but rather reaches its fullness in the exercise of freedom of conscience…
I’m not going to pretend in any fashion that I can analyze writing. Probably more importantly, I should have made a disclaimer at the beginning of this post that I can’t actually write either. But that sentence… Wow. How did he do that? How did he inject hope into me with such simple words? And then, if I felt like that, how did the people in Jose Marti Plaza feel when they heard that in person?
Here is the irony. Although I find John Paul II as one of the most influential persons in my life, I do not find myself entirely connected to my Catholic upbringing. The reasons why are not relevant to this post. However, it does show the incredible reach of a simple man.
Whether you are religious or not, one thing is obvious. He’s right. Freedom of conscience is a fundamental human right that no man can ever deny another. The people of Cuba need to be reminded of this as much as possible.
They need to be reminded that they truly are the authors of their own future.
We can remind the Cuban people of that from wherever we are. What they do with that confidence is solely up to them.
Miguel Cruz moved to Dallas, TX from Cuba when he was 2 years old. After studying Aerospace Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, he now resides in Ft. Worth, TX.