Fidel Castro and the Death of a Man-Symbol

Fidel Castro and the Death of a Man-SymbolMuch has already been said about the death of Fidel Castro, one of the most brutal dictators in modern history. The expected tributes have come flooding in by those of the liberal establishment who have always supported him. The rightful condemnations are also being registered by all those who defend the oppressed Cuban people.

However, when all is said and done about Castro, one thing is certain. He was a man-symbol. He personified the dark ideals of his communist Revolution in their most radical aspects. He was a sinister human face who fascinated liberal capitalists, fawning socialites and liberation theology clergymen over the decades. His power lay precisely in his ability to be a man-symbol in a materialistic world that denies the efficacy of symbols.

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But dark symbol he was. Castro gave himself entirely to the cause to which he was committed. He was willing to sacrifice the nation’s health, education and incredible wealth on the altar of international communism. There is nothing he would not do, no alliance he would not make or opposition that he would not eliminate to carry out his nefarious goals.

He above all understood the power of myths and symbols and employed them with astuteness. His fabricated revolutionary narrative was much more effective outside Cuba where revolutionaries worldwide adored him than in his nation where millions reviled him. The fact that he was able to outlast and defy most world leaders was due to the failure of the West to produce its own truly representative man-symbols that would captivate the imagination of a people. Instead, it mired the West in mediocrity.

Fidel Castro and Che Guevara red communist guerillas

Fidel Castro personified the dark ideals of his communist Revolution in their most radical aspects, taking them to their final consequences. He even stated in an interview, “I will go to hell…”

The passing of Castro highlights the end of an era when ideas were important. He represented a time when there were vigorous debates over political systems and moral principles. Good leaders were expected to be strongly principled and of high moral character. Bad leaders were known to be bad because they took their evil ideas to the final consequences. It is no surprise to hear that the same Castro who wore religious medals to garner the support of doubting Catholics in the fifties, would admit in a 1994 Havana interview with Jean-Luc Mano, that “I’m going to hell…”

Castro’s death brings to light the great change of culture that has tried to abolish man-symbols of any kind. Little is demanded of today’s leaders. Economic policy is prized over moral character.  Everything has become superficial, uncivil and full of hype. Media turn every election into a grand show and make any leader without strong principles into a celebrity.

The death of Fidel Castro should be an occasion to reflect upon America’s sad political state where conservative man-symbols are suppressed. They are very much needed in today’s decadent culture.

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Fortunately, the desire for man-symbols is natural, and therefore hard to suppress. It is a very powerful desire that comes to people in any society. These figures are what some sociologists call “representative characters.” Philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre writes that such individuals are “the moral representatives of their culture.”

These natural leaders are people who step up to the plate, people who anyone can look up to, people who can translate what others need into action. They unify and set the tone. They are people who are willing to lead, suffer and make a difference.

What is needed is a return of the man-symbol to fight for the cause of the good. More than just a single charismatic leader a culture of such heroes is needed on all levels of society to combat the mediocrity that made Castro’s scandalous reign of terror possible.

  • usa

    Is it possible to give examples of good man-symbols to compare with Castro as a bad man-symbol? That would be very helpful.

    • Augustine of Virginia

      George Washington was a man-symbol of democracy and reasonable revolution. MLK Jr. was a man-symbol of civil rights and equal opportunity. Ghandi was a man-symbol of nonviolent political action. Mother Theresa was a (wo)man-symbol of charity and self-sacrifice.

    • Joseph

      If you want a real example of the other side of the coin, take Pope John Paul II. Didn’t he stand up and take it against communist ideals? Didn’t things change globally wherever and whenever he acted? Youths from all over the world looked up at him and saw in him a great man of love, perseverance in the right way and grandeur in diplomacy. People coming from different strata of society and from different cultures were thrilled at his word – and they acted to bring out the good out of themselves. You might not adhere to his deep believes, but you would deeply understand that there is more to this mighty man than his fragile body which not even nature or mishaps seemed to have had any power on him until the blessed Lord wanted to enjoy the company of his soul in heaven. Please support any person who you know if acting like a modern John the Baptist, crying loud in the ‘desert’ for people to wake up. We are living in an alienated world whose danger lies not in its immediacy of effects but in its immediacy to make us forget its effects in order to manipulate us to its own ends and then… our end.

    • Devasahayam the Deplored

      As Joseph stated, Pope John Paull II

      Others:
      * Jerzy Popieusko (maybe wrong spelling, a priest martyred in Poland during Jaruzelski’s misrule)
      * Maximilian Kolbe (priest martyred at Auschwitz)
      * Watchman Nee (Chinese pastor, martyred 1972 by Mao)
      * Dietrich Bonhöffer (martyred grotesquely by Hitler)
      * Anthony Mascarenhas (erstwhile correspondent for Karachi’s Dawn, had to escape to London in 1971 to reveal the truth about the misdeeds of his country’s military goondacracy — homecalled in 1986)

    • Bob McMillan

      In addition to some of the heroic people listed by others, the Ten Boom family in the Netherlands set a great example of loving our fellow man more than ourselves by helping Jews escape the holocaust. Read The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom, the only survivor.

  • Mike Knife

    Earth is hell.

    • Penny Story

      Mike, I thought that once until I read and studied the Word of God which talks and warns more about hell than heaven. The real hell was not planned for you and me and we have the choice to be in heaven by accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior who died and rose again so that we can be assured of eternity in heaven. The real hell is an awful, dark, lonely place.

      • Mike Knife

        You must have been there to know that.

        • Penny Story

          Nope, all explained in the Bible

    • Fr.Ed Wade,CC

      It can be a foretaste of hell Mike but there is an eternal hell that awaits us if we don’t repent and be converted.

      • Mike Knife

        Where is your proof?

        • MaryQ

          For those without faith no explanation is possible. For those with faith, no explanation is necessary.
          We are heirs to the throne of God … an unmerited gift to humans, by our creator, priest, sacrifice and king.
          He loves us all ~ each and every one of His creations ~ in His Image.
          Come to Jesus. He is Mercy that endures forever (and every other unchanging thing of good).

          • Mike Knife

            You think you have all the answers and you know you don’t have all the answers. So why are you pretending you do?

        • William Mayer

          1) the God-man Our Lord Jesus Christ said so.

          I don’t think you want to wait until the end of your life to find out, sir. Please, find out now.

      • William Mayer

        Thank you, Father! God bless!

    • MaryQ

      … and beginning of heaven.
      Choose carefully. There is always another choice.

  • Angela Maria Weinmuller

    Above and beyond the political, social, cultural or economic discussions of the effects or failures of Fidel Castro’s leadership, the greater picture is not what is of this passing life on earth, but rather Eternal Life. It would be of greater value above all to cast a gaze upon, not his life on earth, but one’s hope that with his dying breath he sought Mercy and forgiveness and thus God’s Divine Mercy, as is for each and everyone of us regardless of our sins, was there for him, to set him free for all Eternity.

    • RuyDiaz

      It is true that our Lord is mercyfull However, don’t forget that He is also whole just and fair. This brutal dictator that changed and destroyed the lives of millions of us, is right now, as we peak, paying in hell for all his evilness.

      • Angela Maria Weinmuller

        St. Faustina teaches is that God continues calling the lost soul and reaching out to the lost soul with His grace, even to the very last moment of the person’s life.

        She writes in Diary entry 1507:

        All grace flows from mercy, and the last hour abounds with mercy for us. Let no one doubt concerning the goodness of God; even if a person’s sins were as dark as night, God’s mercy is stronger than our misery. One thing alone is necessary: that the sinner set ajar the door of his heart, be it ever so little, to let in a ray of God’s merciful grace, and then God will do the rest. But poor is the soul who has shut the door on God’s mercy, even at the last hour. It was just such souls who plunged Jesus into deadly sorrow in the Garden of Olives; indeed, it was from His Most Merciful Heart that divine mercy flowed out.

        • Martha

          Yes, of course. But we are cautioned that as we have lived, so we will die. One doesn’t have a change of one’s character at death.

          • The doctrine of purgatory says that one’s character can be changed *after* death; painfully, slowly, and with great difficulty, but for Heaven to be Heaven, there can be no sin.

          • E Jane Johnson

            Amen to this statement!! We need to pray for the souls of ALL the departed!

          • William Mayer

            Indeed. Death reveals character, for how many die asking for God’s mercy, but only because they are now dying, i.e. they are afraid of the pain of death and judgment? That is why confession is necessary, for attrition over one’s sins (fear of punishment for them) is not enough to die well (to get to Heaven). One must have also be sorry for having offended God because He is worthy of infinite love (perfect contrition).

      • JeanneTherese

        You/We don’t know that.

      • William Mayer

        He likely is, yes. It is sad, for it is said that the worst men could have been the best. St. Paul is a great example of that, and he is called the chief of the Apostles, for he has the highest merit among them (so it is said).

    • William Mayer

      Hope must be rational. Vain hopes are not hopes, but vanities. Hoping he converted, after leading such a wicked life with no evidence of conversion, is a vanity, for only those properly disposed by penance can receive God’s grace upon their deathbed. Castro most likely didn’t. He probably fell (sadly) into Hell (justly).

      • There is some evidence of conversion. Why would he spend the last year and a quarter of his life listening to Catholic homilies and sermons if he didn’t convert?

  • Jo

    I was once told by clergy, that when we die and meet Jesus, He will ask if we choose to enter into His Kingdom. I asked this clergy if Hitler wanted to enter God’s Kingdom and ask forgiveness, does that mean God will forgive him and give him entrance. The answer was yes. Any thoughts?

    • MJSoy

      It depends upon how sincere Hitler would have been in his request for forgiveness. Somehow, I doubt that he would have been all that contrite.

      • Jo

        Yes, it would appear that until the very end, Our Dear Saving Lord will give us free will, free choice.

    • Ed

      I read that St. Padre Pio through his bi-locutions & prayers tried to convert Hitler. Mussolini & Stalin. According the story he only was successful with Mussolini.

      • Jo

        How did Padre know that?

        • Ed

          See above reply

          • Jo

            Interesting!

      • Ed

        He had the gift of bi-location and was one of these priests who could read souls. In confession he could tell you the sins you failed to confess, handy for a priest. There have been other holy priests with the same gift.

    • simtabus

      Jo, the Church has not given us details of what happens at moment of what she calls individual/personal judgement at the moment of death. I do not think the Church will ever give those details, because this is one of the things we really don’t know. That information is not necessary for your salvation. In fact, when one disciple asked Jesus in Luke 13:23 whether only a few will be saved, Jesus answered him “strive to enter by the narrow door…” In my view, Jesus was telling him, “it is none of your business how many or who will be saved – be anxious about your own salvation” – This doesn’t mean you don’t help others to become worthy of heaven, but after death speculations of who specifically would be or who would not be saved is unhelpful at best. That is why the Church names saints (because they are helpful for our salvation), but she has never named one single person who is in hell. Not even Judas Iscariot!

      Having said that, lack of clear information does not stop our minds from making speculations of what happens at the moment of death. In fact theologians like Baltharsar even speculated that Christians need to hope for salvation of all people. But whatever theologians say, it remains just – a speculation that is possible or not possible. As a priest and a theologian, i would take a slightly different approach from your clergy friend above. It is well within the mind of the Church that God helps all people of good will to find salvation – “Nor does Divine Providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life” (LG, 16). Good will is not judged so much by external actions as by intentions of the heart. That is why the state of a person’s heart is really known to God alone. what then happens at the moment of death to a person who was not a member of the Church of Christ, or s/he has abandoned it in a definitive way? My well considered conjecture would be this; That at the moment of death, God gives a person one final chance of making a definite decision for or against God. It should be some kind of a mini-revelation where you face God and the truth of who are is put before you. This decision is so intense that you make it with the whole of yourself. The whole of yourself is constituted of what you have made of yourself during your time on earth. Your history is what makes you a moral person, and this is what you will gather up at this moment. If you have been a friend of God and you have been walking with God up to this moment, there is not much of a decision to make really – it is a home coming! If you have been a fleeting fellow in goodness – one time you are a friend of God, another time you kind of abandon Him (not out of hatred but sheer weakness and inconsistency), then you face your embarrassing moment but may be not so bad as to lose the courage to say “have mercy on me Lord – a poor sinner”. If you are a person of good will who did not know Christ or the Church, but you sought the good as it is known to you, then while you will be speechless about your ignorance and humbled by God’s generosity, in Jesus Christ you will clearly see the saving God your heart had been longing for. In him you will meet the quenching water of your thirst and you will be very ready to make an act of faith in HIM, in HIS CHURCH and in him, everything that is true and holy (Thus no one is saved outside the Church). God does not reject those who manage the final yes, no matter how imperfect – imperfection is purified by God Himself in purgatory.

      But then there is a last group of people who deliberately hated whatever is called ‘God’, and they set themselves up as the alpha and omega of their own lives. In other words, they did not recognize any God outside of themselves or even if they did, only a god who would agree to serve them. All other human beings were seen in relation to his/her needs, and s/he had no time for those who had nothing to offer. In other word’s s/he was his own god. When such persons who have instituted themselves as gods come face to face with the true God, they see a rival – an enemy. A lowly rival who reigns from the cross as a stark contrast of himself / herself, who cherished grandeur and awe! It is very unlikely that such a person will submit to such a king. It very likely that such a person will lose God forever, and that is what we call hell.

      • Jo

        Thank you for such an extensive reply. What I find comforting about it, is that my clergy friend was saying the same thing, just in fewer words. The solace I am looking for, is for a relative who just cannot seem to believe in God. She is a good person but I often feel she just cannot accept the belief
        of a God. Her husband makes me fear for his soul when he says that if her soul is not saved and does not go to heaven, he does not want to go to heaven either. That scares me! He was always a person who went to mass and confession but since his marriage he has wandered from church and the sacraments. What do you say to him?

        • simtabus

          Jo, while still in this world, it is not possible to make clear judgments on such situations. what is clear is that your relative and her husband are on a dangerous path. In most cases like this, it might be more helpful on your part to worry less, talk less and pray more for their return to the Lord. There is one mystic (whose name i don’t remember now) who said that many souls are perishing because they have no one to pray for them. Our prayers help other people in God’s own mysterious ways. So, keep hope alive and pray.

          • Jo

            Thank you simtabus. That is exactly what I have been doing. I keep them especially in my Divine Mercy Novena. They are both good hearted. I pray that he will return to the sacraments and his belief will have an effect on her and she will follow. He does seem to feel guilt that he stopped going to mass. I worry his earthly love for her has taken precedence over his love for God and his own salvation. She just did not have the religious upbringing or family life as a child that he had. God is so good I just have to believe and hope He will gain access to their hearts and lives. Perhaps you too, can keep them in your prayers. Eternally grateful!

          • jaScott

            Hope you don’t mind if I butt in here. That mystic whose name escapes you is the Holy Virgin Mary. You’re quoting one of the things she told the shepherd children at Fatima. I’m glad you mentioned it!

    • John Roesch

      People must confess and repent of mortal sin prior to death to be saved. If this doe not occur the person is condemned to hell. God is both just and merciful. Mercy is only for the those who repent with contrite hearts and amend their lives. For faith must be lived! People who overly emphasise God’s mercy over God’s justice are mocking God. For you cannot have a loving God with out justice. The blood of the innocent cries out to the Lord for justice, and God gives them justice. The Lord’s wrath falls upon the wicked and they are condemned to hell!
      Also the priest was being foolish for telling you this answer because it goes against what the Church actually teaches which is also recorded in scripture.

      • Jo

        John, please explain your very last sentence. Thanks.

        • John Roesch

          To be forgiven of moral sin by God after one die’s and not before makes a mockery of God’s justice. For God is both just and mercy full and all of us are judged by God in accordance with what we have done and failed to do during the course of our life on Earth. We are held in account for this and must answer for it even if we are forgiven. To be forgiven we must confess our sins, repent in word and deed, and be sincere and contrite in heart. That is we are to live our faith and not just pay lip service to it.
          If evil men such as Hitler, Stalin, Mau, Pol Pot, all who were responsible and the cause of the death of millions of people and much suffering were forgiven of their mortal sins after death by God, God would be grossly unjust and not be God. One cannot have a loving God with out justice. The blood of the innocent cries out to the Lord for justice, and justice He gives them which is why the wrath of the Lord falls upon the wicked and why hell exists.

    • Noel McCabe

      In the moment of death when the soul comes into the presence of real life there is an opportunity
      to choose .But if that soul has listened to the voice of the deceiver during their life and rejected
      or neglected the Grace and Mercy of God living as they willed and not according to the
      Will of God. Then that soul in its darkness coming into brilliant light will be unable to distinguish
      between the gentle call of Jesus and the deceitful call of satan disguised as the angel of light
      and will willingly follow him to eternal damnation . Pray for the souls in Purgatory,
      Pray for the souls that will come unprepared into the Presence of God.

  • MJSoy

    Castro admitted in a 1994 Havana interview with Jean-Luc Mano, that “I’m going to hell…” I bet he was right!

  • In 1994 he was going to hell. In 1998, he met with St. John Paul The Great. In 2015, he met with Pope Francis.

    I think there is significant evidence to claim that a deathbed conversion is possible in this case. But he has much to answer for in purgatory. I hope they’ve given him an office with a large waiting room. Several souls from both Heaven and Hell I’m sure want and deserve an audience.

    • MaryQ

      Won’t we, most of us?

      • By “want and deserve”, I’m specifically talking about people whose lives the regime ended. I don’t know about you, but I’m not in that number…and I’m not Cuban nor did I have a relative in the Bay of Pigs Disaster, so I have no claim there either.

    • Michael Ares

      You must be on drugs

      • Nope. I must be Catholic, with a healthy belief in Purgatory. If Hitler Himself had asked for a priest on his last day and not committed suicide, he would have had an equal chance at Heaven as Fidel does now.

        There is a reason why the Pope can’t talk about that last meeting: that reason is the confessional seal.

        But confession and conversion, while containing great grace and mercy, cannot destroy justice; and to enter heaven, Fidel’s soul must be clean.

        He has an awful lot to answer for.

        • Michael Ares

          There is no redemption for what he has done. People like this sociopath rarely ask for forgiveness and if he does it’s for fire insurance

          • Fidel was not your average sociopath; and sociopathy is not the unforgivable sin.

          • William Mayer

            Christ died for us without permission so that we may die for Him willingly. This is to say, Jesus Our Lord granted us salvation, but it is up to us to accept it. The grace was there for Castro to convert (50 years after his evil revolution in 1959), but he refused it. There is always redemption, but not always contrition. He probably isn’t sorry for his evils, but God was always ready to grant that to him. Never despair, for despair is of the devil. But do not be fooled either, for salvation is tough to achieve, hence Our Lord’s words, “Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat.” (Matt 7: 13)

          • Michael Ares

            Christ came into the world specifically to die for our sins. Period

          • William Mayer

            Death is in the hands of God. So is life. God died for us so we can have eternal life, and our lives must be a preparation for that. He also died for all men, not only the good, the just. Where would the just be without God? They would still be in their sins, and counted among the wicked. Without God, no one can be good. This is why He said, “Without me, you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

        • Richard Gerard Evans

          My point exactly. This is not a matter of justifying Castro and certainly not his many horrendous actions. It is the fast that “mercy triumphs over judgment.” I might add that bothered the Pharisees and Sadducees tremendously while Jesus walked this earth too. He pardoned people they would not be caught dead speaking to, adulterers, harlots, the demon possessed, non-Jews who most did not believe could be saved at all, and the list goes on. The thief on the cross is just the tip of the iceberg. In every case He told them to go and sin no more–except for St Dismas the good thief. In his case he was not going anywhere but to Paradise. It is hard for me to imagine the uncharitable views that still exist within the Church today. And several of these posts have attacked me quite harshly for simply saying we should pray for Castro’s soul. We all have lots to answer for, not just him.

    • William Mayer

      False. Deathbed conversions are the most rare of conversions, and hardly ever occur, especially in men as bloody and anti-Catholic as Castro. It is because one dies as one lives, and Castro’s life was filled with sin. He probably did end up in Hell, since it is necessary for public sinners (as he was, for how much more public a sin could the destruction of churches, murders, imprisonment of innocents, and an atheistic revolution be?) to make acts of public penance and issue public documents recanting their erroneous beliefs and submitting apologies in order to be saved. Do not vainly hope. God is merciful, yes, but He is also just. He will not be mocked by evil living, nor endure for long the barbarous pride of wicked men. For as the Prophet says, God will mock the sinner when he dies after leading an evil life, “I also will laugh in your destruction, and will mock when that shall come to you which you feared.” (Proverbs 1: 26)

      • JeanneTherese

        Only
        God is the final judge…not us! Pray for his soul Judge not and thou shall not be judge. Also pray for all the Cuban people he killed and the Nation he destroyed. May God have mercy on him/

        • William Mayer

          And God has given the Church the laws of judgment. That is why things are declared sins or not, and absolutions are refused to be given or not. If Castro was willing to go to confession, but told the priest that he would refuse to publicly repent of his evils, the priest would not give him absolution, for he could not. For public sinners, i.e. those that commit evils in the public eye, both public and private penance is necessary. I judge according to the Church, not my own judgment. One must fulfill conditions to be granted absolution. Mercy is, in a sort of way, deserved.

        • John Roesch

          “Judge not least ye be judged”, the cry of the liberal Christian. If you are going to quote Jesus then quote him completely. Jesus actually does not tell people not to judge but to actually clean up one’s own life first before judging others. That is we are to judge ourselves as we do others for we are all judged by the same standards. Also scripture tells us that the righteous are to rebuke the wicked and this involves judgement!

      • Richard Gerard Evans

        Who told you that deathbed conversions are the “most rare” of conversions? One thief died apparently in his sins. The other, who also mocked Christ, dying as he lived, suddenly had a change of heart and went to heaven that very day. We need to quit figuring this out and let God be God in the matter. And pray for Castro.

        • William Mayer

          St. Alphonsus de Liguori, bishop and doctor of the Church, in his spiritual book “On Preparation for Death”, that’s who.

          He who waits until death to convert, waits for Hell.

          St. Dismas was a rare example. He repented and was forgiven in front of everyone by Christ Himself.

          I’m not praying for Castro. I don’t pray in futility. I’m convinced he died in mortal sin, for where is the evidence he did not?

          • Richard Gerard Evans

            With all due respect, and I have much, for bishops and certainly Church doctors, they are not infallible on faith and morals. I am just saying I do not know. And it is not a waste to pray for Castro. If he is truly lost, those prayers go to those who need them. That is my understanding of Church teaching on the matter. The rest is up to God. Blessed Christmas.

          • William Mayer

            His Excellency St. Alphonsus tells a truth of the ordinary magisterium. it is not a matter of extraordinary faith or morals. All ordinary truths of the Faith are infallible, no question. You commit a public sin, you need to do public penance. No penance, no pardon, even with private confession. That’s why I won’t pray for Castro. It would be true even if a so called “Catholic politician” who accepts abortion died without public penance. I don’t have the assurance based on objective facts that he died a holy death. I will pray for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, though.

            Good talking to you, sir. Merry Christmas. God bless.

          • John Roesch

            Do you also pray for Ernesto “Che” Gravari, Stalin, Mao, Mussolini, Hitler, and Pol Pot? Do you pray for these monsters? Why? For God is just and merciful, and you cannot have a loving God with out justice! The blood of the innocent cries out to the Lord for justice, and justice God brings them This is why hell is real!

          • Richard Gerard Evans

            Not sure who Pol Pot is but I do pray for dictators, yes. Brutal or not. Again, the Church teaches that those prayers are never wasted, and will not even declare Judas to be in hell. The Church only declares definitively who is in heaven. Every rosary we pray for unnamed dead who may–not did but may, even by the slightest possibility, may have ended in Purgatory rather than hell. So yes I do. And I am not going to argue about this further other than to say that God never delights in the death of a sinner. I did not write that. He did.

          • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pol_Pot

            Where I have reason to doubt Castro is in hell, I have no reason to doubt that Pol Pot, who died by suicide is there. I still pray for his soul anyway.

      • Rare yes. Impossible no. Also, not quite a deathbed conversion, it’s been a year and a half since Pope Francis visited Cuba, had a private audience with Fidel that he won’t talk about (I maintain that’s the seal of the confessional preventing Pope Francis from talking about it) and gave Fidel a bunch of recorded homilies by a certain childhood priest Fidel had in school.

        But yes, God is just. One need not recant nor repent publicly; but even for repented sins, there WILL be just punishment, and yes, I agree, he was very culpable for his many crimes. Private repentance is possible, but repentance alone isn’t enough, there’s still the great temporal punishment for sin required by Justice. So while I say that a deathbed conversion is possible in this case, I agree with you- he’s not in Heaven yet and he may never get there.

        If he’s on the way to Heaven, I hope they give him a large office in Purgatory. I know for a fact there are several souls who deserve and would want a chunk of his time in Purgatory to remind him of his sins.

    • Joseph Eshleman

      Oh, no, I think he’s still going to hell. Admittedly, while he lives, the jury’s still out on Pope Francis(but frankly I’m not optimistic regarding his eternal destiny) and you probably don’t want my opinion about “Saint” John Paul “The Great”(let’s just say his canonization may just have been premature and leave it at that, really I am trying to be charitable here.) But in case, there’s little, if any, evidence that he experienced that much of a conversion between 1994 and when he died last week, deathbed or otherwise.

      • Have you ever noticed that while the Church, with evidence of intercessionary miracles, has infallibly prounounced several hundred thousand, perhaps millions, of Saints, but has never infallibly condemned anybody to hell? Why do you think that is?

  • Devasahayam the Deplored

    Maybe Castro thought he would be an administrator in hell — at which he’ll be disappointed when he finds himself in the stoke-line with quite a few others!

    • It has been 22 years. He had plenty of time to think about it, and plenty of time to convert.

    • salesgirl

      LOL like Khan Noonien Singh making reference to Lucifer in Milton’s Paradise Lost? Amen, he will indeed be disappointed.

  • Bob McMillan

    Pretty sad that Castro believed in an eternal hell and refused to repent. There are no second chances. A deathbed conversion would have been his last opportunity. If he refused, as Mr.T would say, I pity the fool!

  • Joe Toy

    I know personally from my Cuban sources that Castro did bring healthcare and mandatory education to the populace. But the other side of the coin is the reported 100,000 men and women he had murdered especially in the early years of his reign. And that’s not counting the tens of thousands he sentenced to prison for 30 years because of their opposition either real or imagined. Did this fiend has a deathbed conversion? We will find out on the last day.

    • William Mayer

      Our Catholic Church has declared someone in Hell: Judas Iscariot. Oh, and the devils. And all other damned souls.

      But other than these creatures, you’re right: no specific person has been named as being in Hell.

      In the Final Judgement, all will be revealed, however. As you say.

    • Given Castro’s crimes and the justice required in purgatory, even with a deathbed conversion he may still be there long after the rest of us have joined the Church Triumphant.

  • Pamela Baptiste

    John an excellent analysis. However, I think your response is so typical American. There is always good in the worst of us and bad in the best of us. Nuff respect.

  • joey joey

    Ignorance is bliss!! Unbelievable the stupidity of people these days…

  • clintoncps

    I pray he cried out to Jesus for mercy before his last thoughts were extinguished in this life. How will any of us approach the Lord in our time of dying? With a defiant shake of our fist, demanding our rights? Or with the the Jesus Prayer on our lips: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” ?

    • salesgirl

      You are probably the only commenter who gets it. God bless you

      • Richard Gerard Evans

        Excuse me salesgirl but please read my posts too. I am not posting to be “right” but I am posting to share what I believe is the truth. In any case I agree that clintoncps said it far more eloquently than I did. But I have agreed with him or her all the way here. Just saying.

  • Michael Ares

    No it’s no all you have to due is sincerely ask Christ to be your lord and savior. It’s not likely he did this. There is no purgatory

    • William Mayer

      Man’s sins are his own. Christ doesn’t perform them, but he permits them. His Passion is a good example of that.

      Purgatory is in the Bible. And in the tradition and teachings of the Catholic Church. People die well but imperfectly. God won’t suffer stains of sins on souls. That’s why Purgatory exists, to ‘purge’ us of our imperfections wrought by deliberate faults and venial sins.

  • Michael Ares

    I’m not catholic he showed no remorse or repentance is his “meeting ” hope he has a great time in hell for all those he tortured including families of friends. Are all of you mentally ill

    • Michael Ares

      Ps there is no purgatory

      • William Mayer

        yes, there is. Mentioned in both the Old Testament in 2nd Maccabees (CH 12) and in both the gospels of St. Matthew (Ch 5, 12), Luke (12), and in Revelation or Apocalypse (21).

        It’s referred to in all those chapters, although the word ‘purgatory’ doesn’t specifically appear. The ancient Catholic Church figured it out through prayer and study of the Bible. Check out Catholic Encyclopedia’s entry on it at http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12575a.htm#I

    • William Mayer

      I know, I know. We agree on his ‘meetings’ being barely worthwhile.

      All Christian sects broke away from the Catholic Church. But if you’re not Catholic, you should be.

  • Michael Ares

    I respect you as a believer. I was raised catholic and I’m episcopalian I have a degree in biblical studies from Gordon College. The oldest evangelical college in the United States I believe Christ does for my sins period. There is nothing I can do to add or subtract from his sacrifice.

    • William Mayer

      “Christ does for my sins, and there is nothing I can add to or subtract from it.”

      If by does you mean “died”, you are incorrect.

      For although we cannot personally change the merit of the Sacrifice of Christ from the Cross, we can offend Him by our sins. That is why our deeds matter. We must avoid evil and sin and do good. But we can only do this by God’s grace, not on our own power. For Christ did say, “Without me, you can do nothing.” Catholics have the true authority over laws of grace, however, for even the devils acknowledge this when they can be only be exorcised by Catholic priests. Back to the main discussion.

      However, all our good works are a participation in His Bloody Sacrifice. That is what the Catholic Church teaches: that our good deeds are working with Christ’s Death, and that our sins work against it. If we work with His Passion, His Precious Blood, we have hope to be saved, for we deserve His Merits. The mark of that is holiness, truth, and Our reward after dying, then, is to see God face to face, forever, to see Him who we have longed for for so long and sacrificed so much for in our return of the payment He Made for our debts (sins).

      Let’s look at what you say again: if we cannot take away from His Sacrifice, then there can be no offense. This is false, for if it be true, then why there is a Hell?

      Hell only exists if we “can” do something to take away from the merit of His Cross among men on earth. This is because God gave us free will. Hell exists because Christ punishes those who would detract from His inestimable Majesty and Goodness by the commission of sins, i.e. offenses (against His Commandments [the Famous 10 and against Faith, Hope, and Charity, the three theological virtues]). The souls in Hell hate God and would not want to live Him ever. How despicable.

      Therefore, although Christ died for us to give us eternal life, we cannot claim the eternal life he won without avoiding evil and sin. God cannot save us against our wills, nor does He punish unjustly. Therefore, our deeds do matter for our salvation. They matter very much.

    • By those rules, Castro is a saint. For if Once Saved Always Saved, as a baptized Christian saved as an infant, nothing Castro could do would remove him from the elect.

      This, BTW, is why I believe in purgatory instead. Faith can be rejected. Once Saved Always Saved is nonsense.

  • Jack Schwab

    He started with high ideals. He routed Batista. He won over most of the Cuban population. Then the Russians bought him. He became a demagogue. He wound up running a very broke country.
    He was a bad man when he died.

  • Jack Schwab

    What happened to my comment?

  • Eva

    Only God can judge because He is the only one who can see our interior thoughts and feelings. We have no right to judge. God sent His only Son to earth to save all of us sinners, with no exceptions. God is our Father, full of mercy and love. Fidel did many bad things but he also did many good things. Just take a glimpse at all the people who are crying for him in Cuba. “He who is free form sin, let him throw the first stone”

  • Good article and very astute about the need for a “man-symbol”, but here’s my question- who or what would that symbol be? I’m all ears (or eyes in this case).

  • florida1

    OH PULEEEEEEZE… Castro is going STRAIGHT TO HELL.!!!!!!! Why? As a practicing Catholic I KNOW that when one confesses one’s sins…one THEN moves on to (as our Divine Jesus said—”’Go and sin no more”….) !!! Change one’s ways of old sins. If Castor HAD ‘confessed’…THEN he would have; tried his best to make PUBLIC!!! And private apologies and retributions for ALL THE MURDERS HE’D HAD ORDERED IN HIS NAME. I personally had a person stay at my house this past year who CAME from Cuba. I was told; Castro had; TAKEN her families large house, property, assets, she had several older relatives who were TAKEN IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT…NEVER. TO. BE. HEARD. FROM. AGAIN….!! Her parents left with her (she was 3yrs) and FIVE DOLLARS IN THEIR POCKETS!! NO. Castor STILL had bans on people speaking their minds, owning property, religious freedom, writing, filming on tv anything against the government, owning a GUN, just about ALL THE FREEDOMS WE TAKE FOR GRANTED!! According to recent leaks from Cuba—the above has actually INCREASED!!! ALSO….”’POPE FRANCIS”” is a FALSE. REPEAT. FALSE POPE. HE is for; homosexual behaviors, against America, he KNOWS the RCC in USA gets TWENTY-FIVE-THOUSAND-DOLLARS PER ”’IMMIGRANT— WHO IS HERE NON-LEGALLY, FOR ”HELPING’ THEM…!!!! HE IS NOT FIT TO GIVE ”CONFESSION”’, AS he is for adultery, living in sin, the whole kit and coboddle…!!!! BACK TO CASTRO….HE IS NOW BURNING IN HELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Even if he had converted, there would not be time enough in a normal human lifetime for him to repent, publicly or privately. But the Church teaches we can continue our repentance in Purgatory- so Castro may join us in Heaven in a few millennia. Oh, and his conversion came *AFTER* he turned the presidency over to Raul 8 years ago.

      I also don’t see the right to own a weapon in the Bible- are you sure you haven’t confused politics with religion?

  • Tony Favero

    It is grueling for me to comprehend the Hollywood liberal fantasy of love for Fidel Castrol. During his reign of power people lost their lives in their desperation to flee Cuba, as they dreadfully did the same in the precincts of the cold war in Europe.
    During the Cuban missile crises, Comrade Fidel vehemently counseled the Soviets to launch the nuclear tipped missiles towards American cities rather than concede ‘checkmate’…..do any of these liberal daydreamers appreciate what would have happened to their families, not to mention Western Civilization had Castro prevailed with his unmitigated madness? Cuba is crumbling (literally), yet people there can do little to improve themselves due to fealty and/or threat from their Cuban masters in support of this regretful ‘revolution’; a revolution that has eviscerated any human spirit remaining in the Cuban people.

  • Maria Y. Vela

    You are probably the only commenter who gets it. God bless you. Because as much as Dismas on the cross begged for and was granted Our Lord’s forgiveness, Our Lord also said, “many will cry, “Lord Lord.” But will not enter the Kingdom because He will say to them “I never knew you, depart from Me, you who work iniquity.” Ours is not to know when or what the final judgment is, it is to do God’s will as He instructed us, be warned of the consequences and pray for ourselves and others without ceasing. (I totally agree with this well stated statement).

  • Michael Ares

    Your all so intelligent. Right Christ dies on a cross God the son so we would have to pay our way into heaven.