This is a teleological discussion of the contemporary phenomena of Castroism defined largely in terms of Marxism-Leninism. It has little to do with Christianity as a whole or Catholicism in particular, but is mainly concerned with rationalizing the courses of action which Castro undertook after his accession to power on January 2, 1959. “Part One: The Origins and Causes of Cuba’s Communism” includes a rather implausible attack upon Theodore Draper and his work on Castro’s Revolution which does not seem to be either accurate or logically substantiated. Several quotes are taken out of context from Draper’s book, distorted, and then somewhat crudely turned to suit the purposes of the publicist. For example, compare pages 105-107 of Draper with pages 24-27 from Dewart.
In “Part Two: The Revolution and the Church” the narrative is largely confined to the “Cuban Church” and within that context to the Catholic hierarchy. The discussion seems rather tautological when attempting to assess and then lay the blame for the failure of the Church to support “Castro’s Revolution.” In this connection a cursory reference to pages 89-93 and 177-179 from Dewart ought to help illustrate the point.
Parts Three and Four seem to be rather convoluted attempts to discredit the Cuban Church in particular and Christianity in general while trying to remove religion from politics and develop the coexistence theory of social behavior. The author acknowledges the encyclical of Pope John XXIII on Pacem in Terris in the prefatory note but despite his protestations to the contrary he rather neatly undermines the Papal doctrine on the compatibility of Christianity and Marxism-Leninism. On page 220 the author states “The substance of the matter is the definition of the moral foundations of Church-State relations in our time and, consequently, the role that Christianity should undertake in the political life of the thermonuclear world.” Without actually denying Christianity a role in the “political life of the thermonuclear world,” the reader is carefully led to exactly this conclusion through the preclusion or exclusion of other alternatives and possibilities. The passages on pages 287-291 seem to confirm this conclusion.
On the whole the book seems to lack any specific, direct focus and seems to ramble across a number of intellectual frontiers with equally casual authority. It does not necessarily follow that if one is well versed in philosophy, he is equally well versed in politics, economics, psychologist, and theology. It does seem apparent that the author possesses considerable talent and ability, however it is rather unfortunate that these talents and abilities are not applied in a constructive manner. Although the book is singularly lacking in any definite criticism of Castroism and also a thorough historiography, it may serve a useful purpose in presenting some viewpoints and arguments not commonly accessible to the careful scholar.