Jesuit Priest Expelled from Cuba

By Hanan Redwan Published on October 28, 2022
Jesuit Priest Expelled from Cuba

The Society of Jesus (S.J.) has been one of the main religious orders in the Catholic Church’s history in Cuba. During the XVIII century, the order held influence with its teachings at the San Jose School in Havana during the process of developing Creole culture. In 1767, King Carlos III signed an order to expel every Jesuit from the island and his lands. But the religious followers returned to Cuban soil in 1853 and founded the Bethelehem School in Havana, the following year.

In 1961, when the revolutionary Government expropriated the Catholic schools, the Society of Jesus had already established a network of parish churches, chapels, schools, and other social projects that stretched across important urban centers such as Camaguey, Santiago de Cuba, Cienfuegos, and Havana.

A few months ago, the Cuban Communist Party’s Office of Religious Affairs, led by official Caridad del Rosario Diego Bello, publicly announced that they wouldn’t be renewing residency for regional Jesuit superior in Cuba, Father David Pantaleon Rosario. As a result, he’d have to leave the country and that’s exactly what he did. 

This procedure is one of the underhanded ways the Cuban Government and State Security coerce the Catholic Church. Due to a shortage of native callings, the religious institution has found itself forced to request entry for foreign religious personnel more than once. As a result, pastoral workers find themselves conditioned by a residency permit that is granted by the Office of Religious Affairs, which needs to be renewed every year. It can be renewed every 24 months if the religious person “has good conduct”. During this period, the Communist Party observes priests’ and religious followers’ daily lives (preachments, catechesis, pastoral connections).

Father David Pantaleon S.J, was named Superior of the Jesuits in Cuba back in 2017 and his canonical term concludes in July 2023. Not having his residency permit renewed and being deported form the country isn’t an isolated event, but the result of a long process of government surveillance due to him accompanying civil society and Cuban citizens.

Hanan Redwan

Hanan Redwan

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