Cuban paper attempts to outline similarities of Christianity, Communism

As Pope Benedict arrives for his historic visit to Cuba, a major newspaper in the country ran articles attempting to highlight similarities between Catholicism and the island's Communist revolution.

In a March 26 piece titled "Fidel and Religion: a transcendent conversation," local newspaper Trabajadores – associated with the local Workers' Central Union of Cuba – said the idea that Christians and Communists have no mutual understanding has been "discredited."

The paper cites Brazilian theologian Alberto Libanio's 1986 book "Fidel and Religion," which outlines the views of former president Fidel Castro, who argued that communism does not promote the hatred of people but of injustice.  

In addition to the extensive article on Castro and his perspective on religion, Trabajadores also published an interview with 89-year-old Cuban poet Fina García Marruz.

García Marruz told the paper he finds no struggle in declaring himself a Christian and a Communist, noting, "I have had to reconcile nothing in my personal life, as a soldier revolutionary and believer."

He claimed that the 1950s Communist uprising "has been about a just Revolution" and that both it and the Catholic faith seek "what's best." Although "different," the poet added, both "aspire for the common good."

Rumors in Cuba continue to spread that Fidel Castro will ask to be re-admitted to the Catholic Church and that Hugo Chávez will ask for a special blessing from Pope Benedict XVI during the pontiff's March 26-28 visit to the country. 

But sources from both the Church and the government have emphatically denied that Fidel Castro has any intention of meeting with Pope Benedict "beyond any simple courtesy." 

On March 25, Vatican press director Father Federico Lombardi also pointed out that as of that time, there is no plan for a meeting between Pope Benedict and Hugo Chávez.

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