October 21, 1998
The Honorable John W. Warner
United States Senate
Russell Office Building 225
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Senator Warner,
I write to commend you, and the other Senators who have joined with you, in urging the President to authorize the establishment of a Bipartisan Commission on U.S. - Cuban relations. In recent years, voices of respected and influential leaders in many different fields have been raised to express dissatisfaction with aspects of our present policy toward Cuba. The Catholic Bishops of this country, through our national body, the United States Catholic Conference, have long shared this view that our policy has the need, in the words of the Holy Father last January, "to change, to change."
We are sympathetic with the sense of frustration that many in our government experience as they search for some signs from Cuba that its government is prepared seriously to engage the United States and to address its valid concerns about basic freedoms and respect for human rights. But as they search in vain for such signs, untold numbers of our Cuban brothers and sisters continue to suffer intolerable deprivation and hardship, both spiritual and material. As a society, we must find ways to change the present unacceptable status quo and move confidently toward a new policy.
The creation of a national bipartisan commission could well prove the needed catalyst for moving us toward that goal. I thank you and your colleagues for this initiative and pray that it prosper.
Most Reverend Theodore E. McCarrick
Archbishop of Newark
Chairman, Committee on International Policy
United States Catholic Conference