Priests encourage Cuban-Americans to trust God despite their suffering: 'We have confidence because God has His plan'

Pope Francis greets cardinals during an audience at the Vatican for his Christmas greetings to the Curia, December 22, 2014.(Photo: Reuters)

Some Cuban-Americans are speaking out regarding Pope Francis' support of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba.

President Obama has restored communication between the two countries after decades of trade embargoes, travel restrictions, and other divisive regulations, and Pope Francis encouraged the reconnection.

While some Cubans and Cuban-Americans celebrated the progress, others were dismayed by the pope's intervention.

"I'm still Catholic till the day I die," Efrain Rivas told the Associated Press. "But I am a Catholic without a pope."

Rivas said he cried when he learned that President Obama intended to restore relations with the communist country, and became angry when he discovered Pope Francis supported the drastic change. The 53-year-old was a political prisoner in Cuba for 16 years, and currently lives in Miami.

Other Cuban-Americans persecuted under the Castro regime expressed similar sentiments, Yahoo! News reports.

"I don't know what the pope was thinking," Jose Sanchez-Gronlier said. "I see a certain naivete in the pope."

Sanchez-Gronlier was persecuted for his Catholic faith in the atheist country, and watched the government seize a convent when he was a youth.

"He's trying to get a legacy at any price," Arturo Suarez-Ramos, a political prisoner for 27 years, said of the pope.

Jay Fernandez, who left Cuba in 1961, agreed.

"He wants to be everywhere, he wants to be liked by everyone," Fernandez said. "That's his job to be a peace guy, but it doesn't accomplish a damn thing, especially in Cuba."

Catholic leaders acknowledged the pain that many Cuban-Americans are in, but said that the time for change has come.

"The pain is real, but you can't build a future on top of resentments," Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski said.

Reverend Juan Rumin Dominguez, who left Cuba in 2005, urged Cuban-American Catholics to trust God in spite of their negative emotions.

"It's not easy, but the faithful people in these kinds of situations know to trust in God," he said. "We are a faithful people. We have confidence because God has His plan."