Marco Rubio denounces Catholic Church for cozying up to ‘Castro thugs’

Michelle Fields | Contributor

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said Wednesday that he is “deeply concerned” that the leadership of the Catholic Church has “negotiated themselves a space of operation” in Cuba “in exchange for looking the other way,” and expressed concern that Pope Benedict XVI’s upcoming trip to the island may “reinforce that arrangement.”

Rubio, a Catholic, said during a discussion at The Heritage Foundation that the Catholic Church has “negotiated a political space for themselves in exchange for their moral imperative.”

Volunteering an example, Rubio said, “last week… the church invited — the cardinal invited — Castro thugs to come into the church and remove people.”

Rubio also denounced the church for “actively participating in exiling dissidents,” sarcastically adding, “somehow exiling someone to Spain is a humanitarian measure.”  (SEE ALSO: Marco Rubio was a Mormon once)

During the event, Rubio discussed Cuban oil exploration and expressed concern that the Communist government may in the future find a new source of revenue in oil exports.  He said that a greater concern, however, is the potentially devastating effect of a Cuban oil spill on his state’s environment.

Videography by Sarah Hofmann

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