Overview of Protestant Theology in Cuba during the Revolutionary Period 
In his work “De Las Casas a Martí: raíces de liberación en la teología cubana” (“From Las Casas to Martí: the Liberating Roots of Cuban Theology”) theologian and Presbyterian historian Rafael Cepeda refers to those who initiated theological reflection in Cuba and remarks the following:
In the search for the Cuban theological roots, we are surprised by the finding of a multicolor culture within an insular world that contains particular expressions and typical sensitivity.
Cuban theology does not develop—as in many European nations—from one seed planted by one planter in a homogeneous land, but from diverse seeds in distant plots of land. Planters have come from all walks of land in disparate epochs, without the real intention of planting theology by means of established rules or systematic patterns. Real Cuban theology emerges—in most cases by way of an image or symbol—as the product of inconformity and protest.
A quick revision of names and events leads us to meet, in the first place, that singular priest, Father Las Casas, whose struggle—using Marti’s words—was kept vibrant, giving well-aimed blows during fifty years. From the biblical text, the deuterocanonical book of Ecclesiastics chapter 34, he denounced that “Stealing from the poor and offering it to God is like killing a child before the eyes of their father. The life of the poor depends on the little bread he has; he who takes it from him is a murderer. Taking the sustenance away from the poor is like killing him; taking the salary away from the worker is taking his life away.”(vv. 20-22)
This struggle was the basis of Las Casas’ sermon in the village of Sancti Spiritus on August 15, 1514. More recently, we observed the 502nd anniversary of that heroic indignation where Cuban theology was born. Thus began a journey that would witness a painful history of colonization; the end of the native presence; the arrival of the Spaniard and the African; the confrontation of empires over the Antillean island; the emergence of Cuban nationality; slavery and abolitionism; the struggles for independence; foreign occupation; civil wars and coup d’états; the Revolution of the 1930s and sugar-producing prosperity; and finally, the revolution led by Fidel Castro, which became radical until transforming Cuba into the first socialist country of the Americas. In the words of Sergio Arce,
We have to get to the bottom of the theological legacy of revolutionary action and reflection during the times of figures like Bartolomé de las Casas, Juan Conyedo, Espada, Caballero, Don Pepe Vélez, Varela, Sardiñas, Davidson, Someillán, Díaz, Collazo, Duarte, Eladio Hernández, José Antonio Echeverría, Frank and Josué País and Esteban Hernández. The list is not complete and will require a great effort of historical unraveling and socio-theological reflection.
These people were people of faith, and their faith meant different perspectives because of their roles, their activities, and their way of looking at life. Some secular as well as Cuban church historians credit them with being precursors to contemporary Cuban Christian thought.
Nonetheless, let’s look at the contributions by Cubans in the island to Protestant theology in the last six decades. It is not my intention to follow a strict chronological order. This paper does not intend to be comprehensive or definitive. To approach these characteristics it will be necessary to study the thinking and theology of the most conservative sectors, the way ministers were trained, and the general perspective of the major denominations. Having said that, I will limit this paper to discussing mainly the theological work of people trained in the Evangelical Theological Seminary of Matanzas founded in 1946.
Overview of the Protestant Presence in Cuba
In 2013 we celebrated the 130th anniversary of the presence and permanent ministry of Cuban Protestantism in the Island. This presence was not initiated by United States of America or English missionaries, as was the case with many Latin American countries. Its founders were Cuban, all of them in favor of independence. However, after the intervention of 1898 by the United States of America, missionary groups entered Cuba and established congregations throughout the country. This resulted in a gradual control of protestant churches by the United States, which marks a period of “Americanization” which would last until the 1960s.
It is worth remembering that the historical Protestant Churches that have been working in Cuba prior to 1902 were the Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopal and Quaker. The Disciples of Christ and the Congregationalists, which later came under Presbyterian jurisdiction, must also be mentioned. After some time, the Seventh Day Adventists arrived, and in 1930, fundamentalist and charismatic denominations like the Assemblies of God and other Pentecostals started missionary work, along with various groups denominated Church of God and other independent movements.
Precisely at that time two autochthonous movements were founded. The first one was a conservative Evangelical Association called “Los Pinos Nuevos”. The second one, though also evangelical, it had had adopted a degree of Pentecostalism in terms of worship and an Adventist observance of the Sabbath. They were called the Gideon Evangelical Band or International Evangelical Church Soldiers of the Cross of Christ.
It must be highlighted that from the beginning, many of these churches had to wage a struggle for religious freedom and face the opposition of Catholicism, which saw them as invading the Cuban religious landscape of which they had had exclusivity until then. Obviously, this represented a great challenge.
The Present Situation
The advancement of churches has continued with ups and downs. We estimate that ranging from 300,000 to 500,000 people—or less than 5% of the total population—attend Protestant services regularly. There has been a phenomenon among the Protestants as something like 3,000 to 5,000 “church houses” or congregations have emerged, and which gather in private homes.
At present there are 54 denominations officially registered, though others take the risk of functioning without authorization. The largest is the Baptist denomination, divided into four groups: Western, Eastern, Free and Fraternity of Baptist Churches. Next are the Pentecostals, and their largest group is the Evangelical Pentecostal Church, also known as Assemblies of God. Then there are the Adventists, Methodists, and the Evangelical Convention Los Pinos Nuevos. The Presbyterian-Reformed Church is smaller than the aforementioned groups, but it has also grown substantially. The Episcopal Church has also grown but at a slower pace. Denominations that have been historically small in Cuba have experienced varying degrees of growth in the last few decades, including the Evangelical League, the Apostolic Church, the Church of God, the Church of Christ, the Church of Nazareth, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church. The Gideon Evangelical Band has reemerged after the restrictions suffered during the decades of the 60s and 70s.
It should be noted that even though a great part of the Cuban evangelical groups display fundamentalist leanings, there exists fraternal relations among many evangelical congregations and Catholic parishes at the local level. At the same time, there is a sector integrated by non-historical or fundamentalist denominations that does not have any relations with the Roman-Catholic Church or with the historical Protestant Churches.
Regarding pedagogy, and according to an analysis of the Annual Meeting of Collaborators and Referents of the Memorial Center Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., many churches include programs with characteristics such as hierarchical organization, patriarchal structures, theological dualism and conservative and biblically fundamentalism.
Among the main challenges faced by the churches, we find their noticeable growth coupled with the lack of theologically trained pastors and lay people.
Transformations in Theological Reflection as a Result of the Revolutionary Event
January 1, 1959 inaugurated a new era in all aspects of Cuban national life and, consequently, in Cuban ecclesial and theological history. It is unquestionable that since then the conditions for the formation of a diverse and renewed Protestant movement were set in place; since then a theological work has developed for almost six decades.
It is not easy to summarize the transformations occurred in theological reflection and in the complex ecclesial environment during this period of time. Neither can we speak of this task without at least summarily mentioning the ecclesial context in which this task has developed and that has decisively influenced it.
I will quote a brief outline of the Protestant movement during this period, as presented in the pages of the book La siembra infinita: itinerarios de la obra misionera y la evangelización protestantes en Cuba (The Infinite Sowing: Itineraries of Mission Work and Protestant Evangelization in Cuba), by historians Rafael Cepeda and Carlos R. Molina:
After the revolutionary triumph in 1959, outstanding sociopolitical modifications began to occur that greatly affected the life of Protestant churches negatively as well as positively. The loss of daily schools, the exodus of a great proportion of members and pastors, the regulation of some of their activities; the indirect pressure on some pastors in some places and direct action on others, generally in small populations, affected negatively the life and work of churches.
According to Cepeda and Molina, and despite the fact that in the last three decades very positive changes have taken place in the normative framework and in the policy of the State towards religion and believers, during almost half a century,
the regular realization of evangelization services in open places as streets and plazas has not been allowed; there are no “evangelical hours” on radio and TV, distribution or public sale of evangelizing literature; Christian education at schools or publication of religious books. The worshiping manifestations in churches have generally been limited to their premises and among their own people. However, there are wide programs of Christian education at all levels, Sunday schools, and fraternities of youth, women and men, etc. Likewise, several seminaries work and summer camps are held for children and young people, and diverse denominational and ecumenical publications are produced.
In the midst of this context–which in the last few years has also been characterized by a greater social insertion of our churches–the theological topics developed have been diverse. During the first years of the revolutionary period some of the themes developed were our presence in the church (at a time when going to church was distinctly negative and belonging to the mass and political organizations implied a rejection of religious ideas, many believers stayed faithful) and ecumenical unity (we used to share with others, because we were few and that made us feel strong). Moreover, a theology of suffering and kenosis was also developed. As Christians we wondered about what to do with the loss of our social work. Also a theology of hope against all hope, giving emphasis to the intensity that the Lord would bring; an the expectation for a favorable change. In this way we lived the ministry of “loving the enemy”, loving those who rejected us, and so the Church kept alive.
After 1961, when the socialist nature of the Revolution was announced and laws emerged depriving the Church of its schools and other properties, other events affected theological production. The unprecedented nature of the revolutionary process made it difficult to reflect on it. Only after some time had passed, the Church was able to acquire some training to theologize systematically. In addition, the United States of America economic embargo on Cuba—officially imposed in 1962—separated us from the world. This separation provoked a breaking with international civil and religious institutions.
In spite of all this, those who were looking for opportunities to insert themselves into the process took different positions from the 70s to the beginnings of the 80s. Some believed that the difficulty in the theological debates on the revolutionary process laid in the fact that the Church was not prepared to understand the Revolution. Others disagreed and did not consider this “theological immaturity” as the problem but the ecclesial-institutional factor; that is, the loss of influence, properties, prestige, etc. Meanwhile, some assumed a combination of both factors.
The specificity of being church and the role of schools and social work, after we lost them, were issues of much debate as well. However, there was advancement in the ecumenical work. Greater interecclesial connections emerged and grassroots ecumenism became larger than the institutional expressions. Then the question of what is autochthonous emerged, when the churches became independent from the United States of America.
It was in this way that our theological work started. It was not structured or systematic but was a campaign theology; we talked about a theology of incarnation in the midst of the desertion and exodus of many ministers. There were few professors and students in the Evangelical Theological Seminary (SET for the acronym in Spanish) in Matanzas. The environment was difficult and turbulent. It was then that Francisco Norniella, a Presbyterian pastor and professor at SET devoted himself to the study of the book of Jeremiah (“You shall yet plant vines” Jeremiah 31:5).
Generally speaking, there were two theological tendencies: that of coexistence and proexistence; the former advocated coexisting at the margins of the present reality, while the latter was understood along the lines of cooperation. Politically, some theologians were branded as “CIA agents” while others were viewed as “Castro’s agents”. One group interpreted the Bible from the perspective of the existing political situation. Others spoke of “living in the desert,” “in exile,” or “in the return journey”. All this to say that, theological work was full of faith.
Some Foreign Influences
Foreign theological influence came to us through ecumenical movements like the World Council of Churches (WCC), the Christian Conference for Peace, and the World Alliance of Reformed Churches. This theological influence focused on how to adapt to a socialist regime, as was the case with Eastern Europe. There was very good influence from the Prague and Eastern Germany theologies. Russian theology did not contribute much, since it came from the Orthodox tradition, alien to us. Good influence came from the United States of America, from modern theologians, via WCC and other movements like the Universal Federation of Christian Students Movements (FUMEC by its acronym in Spanish). In the same way, biblical reading reappeared. Texts from thinkers such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Josef L. Hromádka, Mauricio López and Jürgen Moltmann, among others, were very useful too.
During the decades of the 60s and 70s, we received the visit of church leaders from socialist Eastern European countries sent by the WCC, to help us understand how the Church could practice its missionary work and witness to the Gospel in this new context. There were outstanding figures among them: Karoly Toth, Bishop of the Reformed Church of Hungary; Elizabeth Adler, Pastor of the Lutheran Church from Eastern Germany and an official from FUMEC; orthodox Priest Sokolosky, from the Russian Orthodox Church; and Milan Opocensky, from the Evangelical Church of Czech Brothers. A substantial contribution was made by Chirapurath Itty, from the Syrian Orthodox Church from India.
As I am today at Princeton Seminary, which has been the theological institution that received some of our best theologians for their training, I have to mention John A. Mackay’s visit to Cuba. Students at SET have used his A Preface to Christian Theology as a basic theology textbook since the decades of the 50s and 60s. We had the privilege of his visit in 1963, as a guest speaker at the First National Presbyterian Institute. At this meeting, he talked to us about “the nature and mission of the church” and used the slogan of the Ecumenical Conference in Oxford in 1937: “May the Church be the Church.” Another influence was Lois Kroehler, a United States of America missionary in Cuba, who used her three presentations for composing the hymn May the Church be the Church, which today is sung in various Cuban churches.
In the framework of the international conference, Missionary Heritage in Cuban Churches held in 1984, speaking about the contributions of Latin America to our theology, the theology commission expressed:
We acknowledge the contribution of Latin American theological work to the development of the new Cuban theology, especially the effort to link faith and the best historical traditions to the reality of poverty and social injustice that our peoples live. The praxis of Christians devoted to finding a new Latin American order where God’s justice prevails was also important; by using the social sciences in this analysis which enables us to achieve a more objective recognition of the structures that attempt against life and its full realization.
Main Theological Emphases
Although I will mention later some isolated data related to this issue, I wish to highlight here some of the distinctive signals of Protestant work in theology in the Cuban context.
A very important issue was wrestling with Marxism-Leninism (looking at the positive aspects in this theory). Marxist criticism to religion was used to improve ourselves in terms of the identity and the specificity of being Christian. We had no readily available paradigms or previous teachings that could help with this task, so the existing situation was unprecedented.
The Church was divided, not because of denominational issues but due to the political activity of many of its members and leaders. This tensions can be exemplified by the apologetic theology embodied by the Confession of Faith of the Presbyterian-Reformed Church in Cuba (1977), and which delineated values for both Marxists and the Church. There was also a theology of incarnation. The youth especially lived incarnation despite ideological discrimination. This process led many to an improvement of their faith in the face of a hostile environment.
All this propitiated a wealth in theological reflection and insights. Most of what was produced could not be written due to lack of time or resources, since we did not have access to the publishing houses of the State. Regardless, the themes tackled by the different generations of protestant theologians in the last decades have been various and sundry.
In what follows, I outline some of those key theological themes that were developed during this complex period of theological reflection. First, effective love; we were inspired by the Camilo Torres Conference (1971-1983) in memory of the Colombian guerrilla-fighter priest by the same name. The conference helped us develop a theological reflection of a kenotic ecclesiology and an incarnational hermeneutics. This process facilitated our own radical contextual Cuban theological thinking. Second, presence and participation; due to the influence of the Christian Students Movement three small books were published that deeply influenced the Cuban theological reflection: Evangelio para Ateos (Gospel for Atheists) by Josef L. Hromadka, Sincero para con Dios (Honest to God) by Anglican Bishop J. A. T. Robinson, and Un cristiano en la República Democrática Alemana (RDA) (A Christian in the GDR) by Johannes Hamel. Third, ecumenical theology (during the 1960s-70s); we worked intensively in the production of christian education materials that included contextual theological reflections. Inspired by Paulo Freire’s books and educational perspectives, we organized several theological seminars with theologians and social scientists in the Seminary of Matanzas.
Fourth, being the church, which ensued a process to become autonomous and self-sustained, and to work with a very specific mission in our society. We developed a “stewardship theology” during the 1970s and 80s. Fifth, a theology of the desert; we did not use the biblical paradigm of Exodus that was very relevant in the Latin America liberation theology because of the emigration in Cuba at the time. For us the main biblical paradigm during the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s was the desert. In the desert we learn to live as pilgrims (always walking). The desert is always an opportunity to change (to have a metanoia experience). Sixth, the relation between theology and economy; ecological issues and the biblical concept of work was a special emphasis in the Confession of Faith of the Presbyterian Reformed Church already in 1977. It is important to mention this influence in the theological reflection on economy in four documents in the years 2004, 2006 and 2012. The Accra Confession approved by the Alliance of Reformed Churches in 2004; the AGAPE Document presented by the WCC in the General Assembly in Porto Alegre, Brazil (2006); the “Sao Paolo Statement: International Financial Transformation for the Economy of Life” (2012); and The Oikotree Movement: Life-Enhancing Learning Together (2012). Seventh, a theology of the absurd, based on the prophets Habakkuk and Micah, with contributions by René Castellanos, Carlos M. Camps and the good work by Milca Quintana on Psalm 73: “Nevertheless, God”.
Eighth, questions on the relation between theology and culture (during the 1970s-80s), how the renewal of our liturgy, music, art and films related to our theology. Lois Kroehler, José Luis Casal, José Aurelio Paz, Clara Luz Ajo and Pedro Triana participated actively in this area. Festivals of Cuban revolutionary Christian songs were celebrated. Ninth, the existential dialogue between Christianity and Marxism; this academic dialogue was marked by personal and not institutional interests. It took place between leaders of the Council of Churches and members of some state institutions like the School of Philosophy of Havana University and the America Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. On another level, the dialogue took place among the people of the church, that is, in their neighborhoods, schools, work places, in order to avoid discrimination. This was a fruitful dialogue that helped to change mutual attitudes and ways of thinking. Tenth, theology of mission, evangelization and diaconal work; Cuban churches found unique ways to develop their mission (house churches, popular readings of the Bible, etc). I think there have been great renewing elements yet to be articulated theologically. During the so called “special period” the diaconal work of our churches was significantly relevant.
An eleventh theme that emerged was the connection between theology and historical research. The efforts made by Rafael Cepeda to liberate us from a historical heritage that had received the influence of United States of America missionaries and historians is praiseworthy. His study on “Cuban missionary patriots” provided us with a concept of mission linked to the reality lived by our people at the end of the 19th and the beginnings of the 20th century. We must highlight the work of young historian Carlos R. Molina as coauthor of La siembra infinita mentioned above, and compiler of Protestantismo en Cuba. Recuento histórico y perspectivas desde sus orígenes hasta principios del siglo xxi (Protestantism in Cuba. A Historical Recounting; Perspectives from its Origins to the Beginning of the 21st Century). Twelfth, the development of a theology of peace and reconciliation, which has been in practice since the 1960s in various contexts: in the Christian-Marxist dialogue; in the Camilo Torres Conferences; and in theological meetings between Cuban women and men from the island and those outside it. The Presbyterian Reverend Daniel Izquierdo and other Cuban theologians has delved into this issue. More recently, this topic re-emerged during the struggle for the liberation of the Five Cuban Heroes—which refers to the group of Cuban agents imprisoned in the United States of America, but who have already been released after the processes of normalization between Cuba and United States of America announced in 2014.
And finally, the development of a Protestant theology from the perspective of women. An important contribution to this discussion has been the publication of Encontrar la propia voz. Obras y autoras relevantes del protestantismo en Cuba (1902-1959) (2013) (Finding Our Own Voice: Relevant Protestant Authors and Works in Cuba (1902-1959), produced by young theologian and researcher Beatriz Ferreiro García. This study rescues the thoughts of many Protestant women authors during the era of the Republic; the work of many of them extended even until after the revolutionary period had started. Moved by the prevailing situation, Christian leaders like Blanca Rosa Ojeda, Dora Valentín, Clara Rodés and Nerva Cot developed their theological reflections during the revolutionary period.
Other contemporary women theologians have made important contributions in various areas, such as Raquel Suárez (the necessary ecclesiology for Cuba); Izett Samá (Black theology in Cuba); Daylíns Rufín (feminist theology in the Old Testament); Gisela Pérez (women’s ordination); Rhode González (women and Pentecostalism); Kirenia Criado (sexuality and the Bible); Dora Arce (feminist opening of the New Testament); Clara Luz Ajo (religious pluralism and intercultural theology) and Ofelia Ortega (gender and theology and feminist ethics). They have not been the only outstanding examples of theological work. More research is required to recover the contributions to theology by other women.
As I close, I want to highlight the publishing panorama in Cuba. In the field of theology proper, in the last five decades Protestants have written relatively little. However,
the publication of a few books in the first decades of the Cuban Revolution was useful to make our theological thinking known abroad. The first of them was Cristo vivo en Cuba: reflexiones teológicas cubanas (Christ Alive in Cuba: Cuban Theological Reflections) and then Religion in Cuba Today, compiled by Alice L. Hageman y Philip E. Wheaton. In the 80s La herencia misionera en Cuba (Missionary Legacy in Cuba) sees the light of day. Although it is basically a history book, it has a lot of theological content within it. In addition, another important book was Pensamiento reformado cubano (Cuban Reformed Thought) –compiled by Francisco Marrero and published by the Presbyterian-Reformed Church in Cuba. This book brought together contributions by Sergio Arce, Carlos Camps, Rafael Cepeda and Adolfo Ham. More recently, Oscar Bolioli compiled a series of essays by Cuban authors in The Caribbean: Culture of Resistance, Spirit of Hope.
As for periodicals, the magazine Mensaje occupies an important place; originally published by the Presbyterian Church, it was later put out by the Council of Evangelical Churches of Cuba. This collection marks a significant historical moment of ecumenical theological thought in Cuba. The Cuban journal of socio-theological thought, Caminos is another example. It is edited and produced by the Memorial Center Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This publishing house, which coincidentally opened its doors with the publication of José Martí: su verdad sobre los Estados Unidos (Jose Marti: His Truth about the United States), by Rafael Cepeda, has also published books by numerous other Cuban authors.
I should also mention some of the publications by the Center of Studies of the Council of Churches of Cuba, like the periodicals Raíz y Ala, Análisis de la Realidad Actual, and Debarim. Likewise, it is worth mentioning the biblical journals and volumes Las siete y las setenta veces siete palabras (The Seven and Seventy Times Seven Words), by Sergio Arce and Religión: poesía del mundo venidero. Implicaciones teológicas en la obra de José Martí (Religion: Poetry of the Future World. Theological Implications in the Work of José Marti) by Reinerio Arce Valentín. Other important compilations that include the treatment of national issues are Carismatismo en Cuba; Y me series testigos. Un acercamiento a la evangelización y la misión desde Cuba and 40 años de testimonio evangélico en Cuba. (Charismatism in Cuba; And You shall be my Witnesses: An Approach to Evangelization and Mission from Cuba; and 40 Years of Evangelical Testimony in Cuba);
The publications by SET must be mentioned for their contributions. Cuba Teológica, founded by Sergio Arce in 1982, has focused on the dissemination of relevant studies carried out at SET in the different fields of teaching and research. Didajé began publishing in 1998 and is oriented to the formation and upgrading of pastors and lay people in biblical, theological, anthropological, and pastoral themes. A good number of theologians, pastors, preachers and leaders have given expression to their thoughts in their pages.
Evocation of Sergio Arce
We are here today to pay homage to Reverend Sergio Arce Martínez. I know that other people will speak about his important theological work including La misión de la iglesia en una sociedad socialista (The Mission of the Church in a Socialist Society) (1965) and Teología en Revolución (Theology in Revolution) (1988). Even with a whole series of papers and studies we could not give due recognition to the magnitude of the contributions by our beloved brother.
Sergio Arce was the Rector of the Seminary at times when there were not many students in the Seminary, yet, he was never discouraged. Whenever I saw him, I remembered the famous poem by the Cuban poet Fayad Jamís: “Life has given you so many blows; yet you continue giving dreams to life”. One of the recognitions he deserves is how he turned the Seminary, with its almost empty classrooms, into a real madness of faith, welcoming many people who were fighting for the liberation of Latin America, in the face of dictatorships in their countries during the 1970s. Eventually, some of them became martyrs of the faith, like Augusto Cotto and Mauricio López, among others. The Seminary welcomed them. Moved by and filled with hope, they returned to Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Argentina, with the certainty that changes would be produced for the common good of their peoples.
Only Arce’s immense heart could open the doors of the Seminary to welcome the suffering of Christian leaders and other faiths fighters, capable of facing adversity and reality sustained by their faith in the justice of the liberating God.
In other words, Sergio Arce’s life was made of concrete love; that is, service and availability. This quixotic theologian dared to initiate the process to have a Confession of Reformed Faith in 1977. And he also dared to be a “public theologian”, a role which he so admirably practiced in the Cuban Parliament and as a Deputy for the rural region of Perico, in the province of Matanzas.
I return to his words to finish this paper:
It is impossible to live without any ideology, without any religious doctrine or without any interpretation of the sense of history, personal as well as universal. The truth is that we either endorse an ideology, religious doctrine or interpretation of history or we endorse another. What theology must do is to judge the praxis of Christians from a perspective of faith to enable political, social and ideological options appropriated for the faith we say we have; in response to the demands of hope, justice and solidarity love that make human life characterized by a much more universalized brotherhood possible.
May God Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ our Big Brother invoked in Arce’s theology bless us and drive into reality the dreams of faith-trust, hope, tenderness and love.