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Showing posts with label Apostolic Visit to Mexico and Cuba 2012. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Apostolic Visit to Mexico and Cuba 2012. Show all posts

Monday, April 2, 2012

Castro Regime Accepts Pope's Request to make Good Friday a Public Holiday

While persecution of Catholics in the United States continues under the Marxist in the White House, the persecution of Catholics under the Marxists in Havana shows signs of improvement.  The Cuban government has announced that it will grant Pope Benedict's request to make Good Friday an official holiday.  The Castro regime had previously restored Christmas as an official state holiday at the request of Pope Benedict's predecessor, Pope John Paul II.

The recognition of Good Friday is not even an official holiday in most of Europe, the United States, or even Mexico, the most Catholic of Spanish-speaking countries.  The Vatican hopes that the gesture will help renew Catholic life in the hemisphere's least religious country after fifty years of repression and state atheism.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, has welcomed the news and stated: "The fact that the Cuban authorities have promptly accepted the Holy Father's request to President Raul Castro, declaring a holiday next Friday, is certainly a very positive sign.  The Holy See hopes that this will promote participation in religious celebrations and happy Easter holidays, and that even after the visit of the Holy Father continue to bear the desired fruits for the good of the Church and of all Cubans."

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pope Benedict Meets Fidel Castro

"And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."

John 1:5



By Giacomo Galeazzi
The much awaited and controversial face to face meeting between Benedict XVI and Fidel Castro (who was wearing a dark coat, his neck covered and supported by his wife and children) did take place in the end. These two contemporaries - one nearly 86 and the other about to reach the age of 85 in three weeks – are worlds apart in terms of their personal life stories. “Now that I no longer have the responsibilities that come with governing, I spend a lot of time reading and reflecting. How do you still manage to carry out your service?” the Commander asked Joseph Ratzinger point-blank. The Pope replied: “I am old but I still manage to carry out my duty.” A sharp answer which reduced all rumours about his resignation to nothing.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Live Streaming Video of Pope Benedict's Visit to Cuba

Arriving in Cuba, Pope Issues Clear Call for Change

Pope Benedict XVI walks with Cuban President Raul Castro upon arrival at Antonio Macedo aiport, in Santiago de Cuba. (AFP Photo/Rodrigo Arangua)

From Catholic World News

Pope Benedict XVI offered a prescription for change in Cuba as he arrived on Monday afternoon, March 26, to begin a 3-day visit there.

The Pope—who had said last week that Marxism has failed in Cuba—said that he was convinced “that Cuba, at this moment of particular importance in its history, is already looking to the future.” He said the future of the island nation should be shaped by “the fine patrimony of spiritual and moral values which fashioned the nation’s true identity, and he mentioned Cuban heroes like José Marti and Felix Varela. Conspicuously missing from his list of great Cuban leaders was Fidel Castro.

As he arrived in Cuba, Pope Benedict recalled the historic visit by Pope John Paul II in 1998, saying that it “left an indelible mark on the soul of all Cubans.” That papal visit was “like a gentle breath of fresh air which gave new strength to the Church in Cuba,” he said.

Gently alluding to the contentious issue of Church-state relations in Cuba, the Pope said that his predecessor’s visit ushered in “a new phase in the relationship between Church and State,” and welcomed a “new spirit of cooperation and trust,” while noting that there were many areas still in need of improvement. In greeting the Pontiff, Raul Castro had asserted that the government welcomes the activity of the Catholic Church; the Pope’s words seemed design to convey that the Church would continue to press for greater freedom.

Pope Benedict also made it clear that he would speak for change in Cuba generally. He said “we can no longer continue in the same cultural and moral direction which has caused the painful situation that many suffer.” A revival of the Cuban nation must be a moral revival, he said, noting: “In the hearts and minds of many, the way is thus opening to an ever greater certainty that the rebirth of society demands upright men and women of firm moral convictions.”

“I carry in my heart the just aspirations and legitimate desires of all Cubans,” the Pope said. Without spelling out the political implications of those words, he issued an unmistakable call for change. 
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Pope Benedict Enthusiastically Received in Mexico

Pope Benedict XVI celebrates a mass in Silao March 25, 2012. REUTERS/Osservatore Romano

Pope Benedict XVI has said that he has “never been welcomed with such enthusiasm” on a foreign trip as he prepares to leave Mexico after a four-day visit to the country (full texts, videos).

Friday, March 23, 2012

Pope Begins Trip to Mexico and Cuba

Pope begins 23rd foreign trip, to Mexico and Cuba

Pope Benedict XVI left Rome on March 23, to begin the 23rd foreign trip of his pontificate, his 2nd visit as Pope to Latin America. He will be in Mexico from March 23 to 26, then travel to Cuba, returning to Rome on March 29. As he boarded his morning flight from Fiumicino airport, the Holy Father appeared in public using a cane for the first time. Aides disclosed that he has been walking with a cane around the apostolic palace for several weeks, to ease discomfort from his arthritic knees. Because of his advanced age, Pope Benedict has generally avoided long trips abroad. His schedule for this trip is relatively relaxed, allowing ample time for rest after the international flight. And he will not visit Mexico City, the nation’s capital, where the high altitude might tax his strength. Instead the Pontiff will arrive Friday evening in the city of Leon. During his stay in Mexico the Pope is expected to address the problem of drug trafficking and the associated violence, which has reached frightening proportions in recent months. Some drug-trafficking gangs have announced an informal truce during the days of the papal visit. Archbishop José Guadalupe Martin Rabago of Leon has expressed confidence that Catholics will be able to attend papal events without fear of violence.

The Pope’s visit may also have implications for Mexico’s political situation, with presidential elections due this summer. Trailing in opinion polls, the ruling National Action Party (PAN) of President Felipe Calderon will hope to generate some excitement from the papal visit in a country where Catholicism remains strong even after years of aggressively secular rule.

From Mexico the Pope will continue on to Cuba, where he will face a different sort of political challenge. The Cuban government has shown a willingness to offer new scope to the Catholic Church, but opponents of the Castro regime fear that the government is co-opting the hierarchy, seeking to quiet complaints about human-rights violations. Church officials counter with the argument that negotiations have opened new vistas for religious activity, leading to greater freedom for all Cubans. Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, alluded to that argument when he said that Cuban officials must realize the need for “a climate of development, freedom, and reconciliation.”

During his stay in Cuba, the Pope is expected to meet privately with longtime dictator Fidel Castro, who is rumored to be seeking reconciliation with the Church as his health deteriorates.

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