.- Father Jose Conrado of the parish of St. Teresa of Jesus said this week the message pronounced by the Archbishop of Santiago, Cuba, Pedro Meurice, during the Papal visit of 1998 continues to apply to the country today. Speaking to the website Encuentro en la Red, Father Conrado explained that “the people of Cuba continue to suffer a very difficult situation.”
A few days ago during a televised address, Fidel Castro referred to the discourse by Archbishop Meurice and said his regime “held no resentment against that archbishop,” and that it is “willing to forget” the words he pronounced on January 24, 1998, before the Holy Father during his visit to the island.
Father Conrado said the archbishop’s discourse is “absolutely valid” because what he said “was no different from what the Pope said.”
“The archbishop of Santiago explained the reality of the people to John Paul II. He spoke against nobody, but rather simply reflected the experience he lives each day as he receives the faithful, when he receives the people who tell him of their sorrows, sufferings and desperation,” he said.
Father Conrado said this “made the relationship with the State more tense,” and although there were peaceful moments during the Pontiff’s visit, later a supposed document from the government was circulated which called for a ‘depapalization’ of Cuba.”
Father Conrado called this an attempt by the government to “displace what the visit of the Pope had meant” for a county “where fear exists.” He also expressed his hope that the “death of the Pope, an event that has moved hearts, will also move the hearts of our government leaders.”