Pope Challenges New Cuban Ambassador to Promote Religious Freedom

.- This morning, the Pope received the Letters of Credence of the new ambassador from the Republic of Cuba, Raul Roa Kouri, to whom he gave assurances of his interest in efforts by Cuban authorities to further develop their achievements in the fields of health, education and culture in their different forms.

The Pope affirmed that "the Holy See considers that assuring these conditions of human existence means erecting some of the pillars of the house of peace.

This does not mean just the absence of war, but the possibility of all members of society benefiting from integral human promotion, in health and the harmonic growth of the body and the spirit."

John Paul II expressed the hope that "the obstacles preventing free communication and exchange between Cuba and a part of the international community" would soon be overcome, and that this would strengthen, "by means of open and respectful dialogue with everyone, the conditions necessary for true peace."

After highlighting the Cuban nation's spirit of solidarity in the face of natural catastrophes, conflicts and poverty, the Holy Father stressed that "in order for the Church's activity among the Cuban people to become more effective in promoting the common good, it would be appropriate for her - in an environment of true religious freedom - to maintain and increase the bonds of solidarity that already exist with other sister Churches who do not hesitate to give their generous support in various ways.”

“In particular” he said this could be done by “making priests and religious available to favor the work of the Catholic Church in Cuba, whose members are part of the Cuban people, living together in communion and harmony with the Apostolic See."

The Pope affirmed that divergences concerning the guidance and proposals of the Church, between those who profess the faith and those who do not, "must not give rise to any form of social conflict, but favor a broad-ranging and constructive dialogue."

On this subject, he recalled the areas in which the Church in Cuba "wishes to illuminate social reality, such as, for example, the extensive problems raised by the promotion of human dignity; consideration for the family situation and the education of young generations in a culture of peace, of life and of hope; the complex relationship between the economy and the values of the spirit; comprehensive attention to the human individual - aspects in which it is necessary to establish a dialogue with all groups that make up the Cuban people."

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