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Posted March 28, 2012 by publisher in Cuba Human Rights

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Rob Sequin | Havana Journal

EWTN is being broadcasting the Pope’s visit to Cuba live from Plaza de Revolucion in Havana from 10:00am today on the EWTN channel. Here is the channel finder for EWTN and this is their webpage covering the Pope in Cuba.

Pope to meet with Fidel Castro

Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro says he will meet Wednesday with Pope Benedict in Havana, before the pontiff ends his three-day visit to the communist-ruled island. 

In a statement published late Tuesday on a government website, the 85-year-old Castro announced he had requested “a few minutes” of the Catholic leader’s time.

A Vatican spokesman says Pope Benedict asked Mr. Castro to officially designate Good Friday, the day Christians observe the death of Jesus, as a national holiday. 

The spokesman also said the pope made a “humanitarian request”of Mr. Castro, without saying whether he asked for the release of political prisoners or specifically Alan Gross, a U.S. contractor jailed in 2009 on charges of crimes against the communist state. Read more…

I find this “humanitarian request” to be VERY interesting. Let’s see if Alan Gross is home by Easter.

Archbishop Wenski of Miami gives mass in Havana, mostly to Cuban Americans

In a sermon at the Cathedral in Havana, Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski called for Cuba to move away from the “spent ideology” of Marxism without embracing the materialism of the West.

Wenski spoke Tuesday to a packed audience of more than 300 mostly Cuban-American pilgrims, and they gave him a sustained standing ovation. Many in the audience left Cuba as young children or are the sons and daughters of exiles. The Mass was part of a special service in honor of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the island.

Delivering his sermon in Spanish, Wenski called for “soft landing” from Marxism and said the pope and the Roman Catholic Church desire a political evolution that provides dignity to all Cubans, who have been ruled since 1959 by brothers Fidel and Raul Castro.

“However, as Cuba transitions, the Pope and the Church want a transition that is worthy of the Cuban’s aspirations, a transition worthy of man,” Wenski said. “To go from the ideological materialism of Marxism to a practical materialism such as that of many Western societies would not be worthy of man.”

His call for a “soft landing” from Marxism is something he has said before, but those in attendance said it reverberated more strongly being said inside Cuba.

“I don’t think he said anything today we haven’t heard before,” said Carlos Saladrigas, head of the Cuba Study Group, a business-led nonprofit that encourages political and economic change in Cuba as well as more exchanges.

“I think the difference is he put it all together in one overriding speech, and he did that in Havana and spoke in Spanish for all the world’s press,” added Saladrigas. Read more…

It is interesting how political the Catholic Church is during the Pope’s visit.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on March 28, 2012 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    The Associated Press is reporting that the Pope already met with Fidel Castro for one half hour.

    On another note, I feel compelled to point out the hypocrisy of one of the Pope’s comments today.

    From the AP: Benedict issued his strongest denunciation of religious intolerance yet in Cuba, referring to the Biblical account of how people persecuted by the Babylonian king “preferred to face death by fire rather than betray their conscience and their faith.”

    Maybe he doesn’t know about Cuba’s first freedom fighter Hatuey who was burned at the stake by Catholic priests for not accepting Jesus… from Wikipedia:

    “Before Hatuey was burned at the stake, a priest asked him if he would accept Jesus and go to heaven.

    Hatuey, thinking a little, asked the religious man if Spaniards went to heaven. The religious man answered yes… The chief then said without further thought that he did not want to go there but to hell so as not to be where they were and where he would not see such cruel people. This is the name and honor that God and our faith have earned.”

    May be just folklore like the king from the Pope’s comment but if I were Cuban, I think I would be a little insulted by this comment from the Pope.



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  2. Follow up post #2 added on March 28, 2012 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Pope’s Cuban Mission Leads Some Exiles in Miami to Soften Stance

    Carlos Saladrigas says “I hear from many Cuban-American businessmen that the theme emerging is that the embargo is turning out to be an embargo on us,” said Saladrigas, who is co-chairman of the Cuba Study Group, a Washington-based group that seeks to change U.S. policy toward Cuba and encourage the adoption of a market-based economy on the island. Ending the embargo is not about making money, it is “about using our talent to help Cuba.”

    END

    I like Mr. Saladrigas but now he XshouldX HAS TO now put his money where his mouth is and contribute to politicians in Washington who will vote to end the Embargo.

    If Mr. Saladrigas is truly anti-Embargo, he knows how to end it.



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  3. Follow up post #3 added on March 29, 2012 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Analysis by Paul Haven of the Associated Press on the Pope’s trip and the Castro brothers. He was not impressed saying “Raul and Benedict are both caretakers of other men’s legacies.”



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  4. Follow up post #4 added on March 29, 2012 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Video of Fidel Castro with the Pope



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