Sunday, June 10, 2007
Cuba's First Woman Episcopal Bishop Ordained
From Javno.Com In English
The Episcopal Church broke new ground in Cuba on Sunday by ordaining its first woman bishop.
The Episcopal Church broke new ground in Cuba on Sunday by ordaining its first woman bishop in the developing world at a ceremony that mixed incense with rhythmic Caribbean music.
The Rev. Nerva Cot said she will bring a feminine touch to leadership of her church's small but growing congregation in communist Cuba, where religious worship was freed a decade ago.
A dozen bishops from North, Central and South America and Europe attended the consecration of Cot and Ulises Aguero as suffragan, or auxiliary, bishops at Havana's Episcopal Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. The Cuban church is part of the Worldwide Anglican Communion.
"This is an important date for the Anglican Communion because there are so few women bishops among us, only 11," said Canada's Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, who headed the ceremony.
"There is a vitality and a deep enthusiasm in Cuba that is an important gift to a church that has too often been very conservative," Hutchison told reporters.
Christian Cubans are overwhelmingly Roman Catholic, and the Episcopal Church has only 5,000 baptized followers in the country.
Cot, who favors allowing gays to become priests, said she hopes her role will encourage other Latin American countries to broaden diversity in the Episcopal Church.
Gays "are children of God too. We should respect them and consider them," Cot said.
The Worldwide Anglican Communion has been deeply divided since 2003 when the U.S. Episcopal Church, its 2.4 million-member U.S. branch, consecrated the first openly gay bishop in more than 450 years of Anglican church history.
GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL ATTENDS
In a sign of religious tolerance in Cuba, the ruling Communist Party was represented at Sunday's ceremony in the front row pew by its official in charge of religious affairs, Caridad Diego.
Cuba changed its constitution and officially ceased to be an atheist state in 1992, allowing religious worship even among members of the Communist Party.
The Episcopal faith was brought to Cuba by American missionaries in the 19th century. Cuba was a diocese of the U.S. church until 1967, when hostility between the Cuban and U.S. governments caused a break, and is now affiliated with Canada's Anglican Church.
Cot, 69, joined a seminary in the town of Matanzas at the age of 18 thinking she would become a missionary.
Now as auxiliary bishop for the western half of Cuba, she says being a woman will help her in reconciling Cuba after a "period of polarization" when religious faith was persecuted.
Published: June 10, 2007 20:55h
Comment: Bishop Murray attended this consecration, and the brought our Assistant Rector, Revdo. Luis Cáceres with him. I didn't know why they went to Cuba, so I told the congregation they were going to convert Fidel as he'd been feeling a bit under the weather lately. It got a big laugh.
¡Felicidades a Reverendisima Cot y la Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba!
I See You!
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