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Pope Benedict Ends Cuba Visit

Pope Benedict XVI concluded his first official visit to Cuba after meeting with former President Fidel Castro and holding a mass before a multitude gathered in Havana's Revolution Plaza. During his trip, which included a stop in Mexico, the pope called on Cuba's government to reconsider Marxism and urged the people to embrace the faith of their elders.

They walked the last kilometer, and more, to witness Pope Benedict's mass.

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In his homily, the pontiff spoke of his joy at the recent increase in freedom given to the Roman Catholic Church in Cuba. But he also referred to the isolation of a country that has been under a U.S. embargo for the past 50 years.

“Cuba and the world need change, but this will occur only if each one is in a position to seek the truth and chooses the way of love, sowing reconciliation and fraternity,” he said.

Before arriving in Cuba, Benedict called on the government to recognize that Marxism, in his words, “no longer corresponds to reality.”

At a press conference on Tuesday, the official in charge of economic reforms, Vice President Marino Murillo, rejected the pope's critique.

"In Cuba there won't be political reform,” he said.

Marxist revolutionary heroes Ernesto “Che” Guevarra and Camilo Cienfuegos looked over their shoulders as they prayed to God.

It was hot, even for Cubans, and it was hard to see from so far away. But it was still meaningful for Clara Martinez.

“Having the pope in Cuba is very important for religious people. I think it's an unforgettable experience and may be the last time. It's not often that the pope visits," Martinez said.

Catholics remember Pope John Paul II's visit in 1998. They are a small minority in Cuba, which has a variety of religious groups.

The Vatican is hoping to win over the many Cubans who mix Catholic and African traditions.

Katia Ogania may be prepared to convert.

“I'm an atheist. But I wouldn't mind, because if it's for the good of my people. I'm there,” Ogania said.

Many people came out of faith, many out of curiosity. But few expect that Benedict's visit will lead to any real political change.


Jerome Socolovsky

Jerome Socolovsky is the award-winning religion correspondent for the Voice of America, based in Washington. He reports on the rapidly changing faith landscape of the United States, including interfaith issues, secularization and non-affiliation trends and the growth of immigrant congregations.
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by: Cha Cha Cohen
April 08, 2012 3:26 AM
Pope need not look back but to look forward. He should lecture the world leaders who are responsible for all the mishaps and injustices, killings and the wars in this world. There is no defender for the weaks and poors who are under the mercy of Pharao like mights! He should talk about fashionable occupied area,oppression and deprivation which are the root cause of all misery!

by: Rachel
April 05, 2012 3:46 PM
He should of told Fidel to free Cuba Free Cuba they don't have anything he took everything from them even churches hit ... You know what he did god bless a man who kill so many people WHAT?????????

by: Gab to Lucien Bonnet
March 30, 2012 4:16 AM
Haiti has been devastatingly poor for a very long time, with poor roads, poor buildings, and lack of food. Why are there all these nice Churches in Haiti, when Christian money and volunteers to teach Christianity should have been sending heavy equipment and volunteers to plow the fields, build sound structures for buildings, hospitals and schools and to make new roads. Even World Bank money, and billions given in charity should have been used for this purpose.

by: Gab
March 30, 2012 4:05 AM
The Pope has a voice that actually reaches billions of people through these media events. He should loudly and visibly condemn twenty-eight conflicts and border wars around the world today involving repressive Islamic regimes. And to NVO, throughout the Holocaust, Pius XII was consistently besieged with pleas for help on behalf of the Jews. The papacy did nothing, and said nothing condemning the Nazis.

by: NVO
March 29, 2012 3:50 PM
At Pentecost the Holy Spirit was sent to be the Comforter. NOT a pope! Peter is NOT the rock, Christ is=1Cor 10:4. The idea of a pope is NOT Biblical! You make the Word of God of NONE EFFECT through your traditions=Mark 7:13. The RC church is a CONFIRMED Amillennial/Replacement Theology church. Both doctrines based on and rooted in ANTI-SEMITISM. HIDEOUS!

by: Lucien BONNET
March 28, 2012 6:48 PM
LETTER TO POPE JOHN PAUL II

Various political comments were issued when the news of your trip to Haiti, . It leads people to reflect on the vast, ever-present aspect of the relations between the West and the Black world: anti-Black prejudices in Christianity and Science.

Consider racial conflicts in the United States, for instance.

Lucien BONNET
www.contact-canadahaiti.ca

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