On this Father’s Day we address you with special affection, and we invoke on Cuban homes the protection of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. They lived united in prayer and in obedience to God, in work and joy. For them there were moments of fear, exile, homelessness and bread, but true love was their support, and kept them in close relationship with God the Father and with each other. That was the secret of his deep happiness.
We thank God for Cubans who know how to take care of their family; and for mothers and fathers who gather all their children around the same table, even if they have different ways of thinking. We thank those who do the impossible to mediate the natural conflicts that arise between parents, children, sons-in-law and daughters-in-law. We thank our elders for having defended life from conception to natural death, and for giving us the example of having had, with fewer resources, several children.
We know, in the same way, so many who not only care about their own, but also about other families or people in difficulty. There are those who are aware of the neighbor who needs a medicine, or of the elderly who live alone; or from the marriage that is breaking up, to try to save it; or from a coworker who requires help to bring something to her relative who is imprisoned or admitted to the hospital. There are those who know how to pay attention to the one who has commented on his wishes to attempt against his life, as well as the young man who is falling into the trap of alcohol and drugs. For all those who do good in silence, we give thanks to God.
It is also true, and we are happy for this, that in our country laws have been approved that aspire to protect the family, such as the one that allows working women to enjoy work facilities during the time of their maternity; the effort being made to reduce infant mortality; guaranteed vaccines for every child at birth; that the children have school and medical attention; and that grandparents have their Homes for the Elderly and their University for the Elderly, among others.
At the same time, we cannot help but recognize with regret that Cuban families have been suffering various attacks: finding daily food has become increasingly difficult, precious time is wasted in queues, with great risks due to possible contagion with the Covid-19; necessary medicines are in short supply, prices for basic services have risen considerably, and wages are still not enough for so many to live with dignity. Discouragement and uncertainty about the future provoke the desire to emigrate, especially among young people, mortgaging the future of Cuba. In addition, an anti-natalist mentality and the increase in the number of emotionally fragile unions, divorces and abortions persist among us. The lack of housing for young married couples and the growth of the prison population are other concerns for families. We Bishops hope that all of us, as citizens, become more effectively involved in solving these evils.
To this complex situation that we live as a people was added, in recent days, the publication by the Ministry of Education of Resolution 16/2021 entitled: “Comprehensive Sexuality Education Program with a focus on gender and sexual and reproductive rights in the National Education System ”. This has generated countless statements, concerns, opinions and criticisms from parents, individuals and different religious denominations, who perceive with reasonable fear, in the content of this document, the influence of the so-called “gender ideology”. that could be established in our country, distancing us from our history and cultural tradition.
We believe that it is necessary to inform our people about the “gender approach” and the “gender ideology”, in clear and simple language, taking into account the various philosophical and religious conceptions, and under equal conditions. A broad and participatory debate would be desirable, where everyone had the opportunity to be adequately informed and express their views on the matter. We believe that there are capable men and women of good will in Cuba who are willing to share, in a respectful dialogue, their reflections and projects for the good of the Cuban family.
The aforementioned “gender ideology”, which claims to be scientific knowledge, is a closed system of thought; defends that the differences between men and women, appreciable in their anatomy, psychology and genetics, among others, do not correspond to a constitutive nature of the human person, but are merely cultural and conventional constructions, made according to roles and stereotypes that each society has assigned to the sexes. From this perspective, it is taught that a human being, even from his earliest age, could choose his own sexual identity, regardless of the biological sex with which he was born.
Pope Francis in number 56 of the Apostolic Exhortation “The Joy of Love” emphasizes that gender ideology “denies the difference and natural reciprocity of men and women. This presents a society without gender differences and empties the anthropological foundation of the family. This ideology leads to educational projects and legislative guidelines that promote personal identity and emotional intimacy radically unrelated to biological diversity between men and women. Human identity is determined by an individualistic choice, which also changes over time. It is disturbing that some ideologies of this type, which seek to respond to certain aspirations, sometimes understandable, try to impose themselves as a single thought that also determines even the education of children. We must not ignore the fact that biological sex (sex) and the sociocultural role of sex (gender) can be distinguished, but not separated ”. And he concludes the paragraph by stating: “Let us not fall into the sin of pretending to substitute for the Creator. We are creatures, we are not omnipotent. The created precedes us and must be received as a gift. At the same time, we are called to guard our humanity, and that means above all accepting it and respecting it as it was created ”.
We Cuban Bishops believe that it is necessary and indispensable that:
– The primary and non-transferable right that parents have to educate their children is recognized and respected, which must be taken into account in all forms of collaboration between parents, teachers and school authorities, and particularly in the forms of participation aimed at giving to our citizens a voice in the operation of schools and in the formulation and application of educational policy.
– Sex education is taught under the parents’ guardianship, as it is their responsibility.
– Cuban fathers and mothers fulfill their duty, without waiting for others to replace them in what is their obligation. That they can choose for their children the pedagogical style, the ethical and civic contents and, if they wish, the religious inspiration with which they want to train them.
It is our duty to ask that the content of Resolution 16/2021 of the Ministry of Education be reconsidered, for not taking sufficiently into account the right of parents in the sexual education of their children, and also due to the serious consequences in the formation of children , adolescents and young people, by formalizing the advance of the “gender ideology” in the education sector, so sensitive in the formation of personality. We believe that new generations should not be exposed to a conception of sexuality not validated by science. This situation would cause an inevitable conflict in the consciousness of a significant number of parents, teachers and students. On the one hand, they would experience the normal desire to participate in the educational process and, on the other, the difficulty of being subjected to teachings that contradict their deepest convictions.
It is up to all of us, but above all to you parents, to promote and bear witness to the beauty and joy of marriage created and loved by God: “Let us make man in our image and likeness… And God created man in his image. In the image of God he created them. Male and female he created them ”(Genesis 1,26-27). Therefore, let us not be discouraged when, at times, everything around us seems to go against the institution of the family. Let’s not lose our strength when we have to swim against the current. Let’s teach young married couples to work together and take care of their families.
We take the opportunity of this message to assure our affectionate closeness and prayer to all the families who are suffering because of the pandemic, to those who mourn the loss of a loved one and who even found it impossible to make them a funeral. as they wish. We also pray for those infected, for the health personnel who care for them, and for the scientists and researchers who are working to find a remedy for this disease. We also pray that, within the great Cuban family, respect, mutual listening and social friendship will always prevail over all forms of intolerance and violence.
Before concluding, we congratulate all parents on their day, placing them under the protection of Saint Joseph, to help them fulfill their mission, with joy and strength, at the service of their families. We ask the Lord that in all of you what the biblical book of Proverbs (17,6) expresses: “The crown of the elderly are the grandchildren, the honor of the children are their parents.
May the Virgin of Charity, from her El Cobre Sanctuary, and as she has always done throughout these centuries, walk by our side and lead us to meet Jesus.
+ Cardinal Juan de la C. García Rodríguez, Archbishop of Havana
+ Dionisio G. García Ibáñez, Archbishop of Santiago de Cuba
+ Wilfredo Pino Estévez, Archbishop of Camagüey
+ Emilio Aranguren Echeverría, Bishop of Holguín, President of the COCC
+ Arturo González Amador, Bishop of Santa Clara, Vice-President of the COCC
+ Manuel de Céspedes García Menocal, Bishop of Matanzas
+ Álvaro Beyra Luarca, Bishop of Bayamo-Manzanillo
+ Juan de Dios Hernández Ruiz SJ, Bishop of Pinar del Río, Secretary General of the COCC
+ Domingo Oropesa Lorente, Bishop of Cienfuegos
+ Juan Gabriel Díaz Ruiz, Bishop of Ciego de Ávila
+ Silvano Pedroso Montalvo, Bishop of Guantánamo-Baracoa
+ Marcos Pirán, Auxiliary Bishop of Holguín
+ Jorge E. Serpa Pérez, Bishop Emeritus of Pinar del Río
June 20, 2021