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Jehovah’s Witnesses


2015 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses


The Catholic Church and Trujillo

The Catholic Church and Trujillo

WHAT sort of relationship did Trujillo have with the Catholic Church? A political analyst stated: “During the long Trujillo era, 1930-1961, Church and state in the Dominican Republic were mutually supporting institutions; the dictator favored the Church and it, in turn, supported his regime.”

In 1954, Trujillo traveled to Rome and signed a concordat with the Pope. Trujillo’s one-time confidant, Germán Ornes, wrote: “Since the Dominican Church is overwhelmingly pro-Trujillo, [it] has been a great source of support for ‘the Chief’ [Trujillo]. The clergy, headed by the Archbishops Ricardo Pittini and Octavio Beras, are among the foremost propagandists for the regime.”

“At every propitious opportunity,” Ornes went on to explain, “the Pope cables cordial greetings to Trujillo. . . . To the 1956 Congress of Catholic Culture, held in Ciudad  Trujillo under [Trujillo’s] sponsorship, Francis Cardinal Spellman brought, as the Pope’s special representative, a warm-hearted message. Cardinal Spellman traveled down from New York to be triumphantly received by the Generalissimo [Trujillo] himself. Their cordial embraces were displayed in all Dominican front pages the next day.”

In 1960, Time magazine reported: “Until now, Trujillo and the church have got along well. Archbishop Ricardo Pittini, Primate of the Americas, is now 83 and blind, but four years ago he signed a letter to the New York Times praising Trujillo and saying that ‘this “dictator” is loved and honored by his people.’”

However, after three decades of loyally supporting Trujillo’s brutal dictatorship, the Catholic Church started shifting its stance as the political climate changed. “As opposition to the dictatorship grew,” explains the analyst, “and, later, as an attempt was made to establish democracy in the country, the Church, which had long been on most friendly terms with Trujillo, was forced to alter its position.”

Ultimately, in 2011 the Church was compelled to apologize to the Dominican people. A pastoral letter quoted in the newspaper Dominican Today stated: ‘We confess to having committed our errors and to not always keeping true to our faith, vocation, and responsibilities. For that reason, we ask for pardon and we beseech the understanding and indulgence of all Dominicans.’