.- During a visit to Cuba this month, the Archbishop of Genoa, Italy, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, conveyed the blessings of Pope Benedict XVI to all Cubans, but said the chances of a papal visit there were remote. The cardinal also expressed the Pope’s greeting to Cuban president Fidel Castro during a meeting with the leader last Monday.
Speaking to reporters, Cardinal Bertone said a papal visit to Cuba is “difficult for now. Everyone is inviting him. He will make his decisions, but he won’t travel like John Paul II. It’s impossible.”
The cardinal visited Cuba October 3-10 at the invitation of the Diocese of Santa Clara in order to introduce two of his priests who will be helping out in Cuba.
The cardinal’s tour took him to Santiago, where he celebrated Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity. He also met with the president of the Bishops’ Conference of Cuba, Cardinal Jaime Ortega, as well as with the government’s head of Religious Affairs, Caridad Diego, and with Communist party leader Esteban Lazo.
According to the ANSA news agency, Cardinal Bertone said relations between the Vatican and Havana, now in their 70th year, were “good.” Relations between the two parties “have never been suspended and that is very significant. Even during the most difficult periods, dialogue has continued, relations between the Pope’s representatives and the Cuban government have continued, and that is very important,” the cardinal said.