Pope's meeting with Fidel aimed at strengthening bonds between Church, Cuba

.- Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said that the desire to strengthen the relationship between the Church and Cuba prompted Pope Benedict's 30-minute meeting with Fidel Castro.

“The Pope has to take into account the request of the authorities who are his guests and made the visit possible,” Fr. Lombardi told the press on March 28 during the final briefing before the Pope's departure to Rome.

“In this case, he accepted the request made by the Cuban authorities, who highlighted Fidel Castro’s strong desire to meet with the Holy Father” during the Pope's March 26-28 visit to the country.

The Vatican spokesman noted that “Fidel Castro also had an important meeting with John Paul II” during the late pontiff's 1998 trip to Cuba, which made a significantly improved relationship “between the Church and Cuba possible.”

Vatican and local leaders within the Church have been key in negotiating with release of prisoners of conscience after what's known as the “Black Spring” arrests of 75 dissidents in 2003.

Even “the steps, small or great” which were made in the field of human rights after the Pope John Paul II’s visit “were a consequence of that meeting,” Fr. Lombardi pointed out.  

“With respect to a possible meeting with dissidents,” Fr. Lombardi said that “a number of the messages (from dissidents) made it to the Holy See before the trip and were quite diverse.”
The Pope, therefore, “has been conscious to have their concerns and those of the entire Cuban people present in his discourses.”

The March 28 meeting occurred after Pope Benedict celebrated Mass in the Revolution Plaza of Havana, which was attended by Raúl Castro, civil authorities, Cuban bishops and other bishops from Latin America.

After the dialogue, Castro and his companions – among whom was his oldest son who helped him stand up – said farewell to the Pope who was accompanied by the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone and the Apostolic Nuncio of Cuba, Msgr. Bruno Musaró.

The Pope also met with current of Cuba President, Raúl Castro, yesterday whom he asked to declare Good Friday a national holiday. At the meeting, the Pope also interceded for Cuban dissidents.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Liturgical Calendar

April 18, 2014

Friday of the Passion of the Lord (Good Friday)

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Jn 18:1 - 19:42


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Is 52:13-53:12
Second Reading:: Heb 4:14-16; 5:7-9
Gospel:: Jn 18:1-19:42

Homily of the Day

Jn 18:1 - 19:42


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: