Down to the Wire: Just $6,312 left to match to win our Challenge Grant. Your gift will still be doubled!
Click here to advertise on

Cuba must change, Pope says in final homily

Catholic World News - March 28, 2012

“Cuba and the world need change,” Pope Benedict XVI said in his homily as he celebrated Mass for a congregation of nearly 1 million people in Havana on March 28, the final day of his visit to Cuba.

In what an AP report described as an “unusually politicized homily,” the Pontiff called for greater freedom—especially religious freedom—in the Communist nation. He said that authentic change will come “only if each one is in a position to seek the truth and chooses the way of love, sowing reconciliation and fraternity.”

While the Pope challenged the Castro regime by repeating a call for liberty, he also sent a message that government leaders welcomed, criticizing the US embargo of Cuba and noting that in 50 years the US policy had failed to change the Castro regime.

Yet the Pope himself called for change, making his plea most explicit in a call for greater religious freedom. He acknowledged that Cuba has allowed greater activity by the Church, but pressed for more, saying:

It must be said with joy that in Cuba steps have been taken to enable the Church to carry out her essential mission of expressing her faith openly and publicly. Nonetheless, this must continue forwards, and I wish to encourage the country’s government authorities to strengthen what has already been achieved and advance along this path of genuine service to the true good of Cuban society as a whole.

The complicated relationship between the Castro government and the Catholic Church was evident during the Wednesday Mass. President Raul Castro was in attendance, and at the conclusion of the ceremony he rushed to shake the Pontiff’s hand. The government, once officially atheistic, had encouraged attendance at the papal ceremonies and was anxious to show support for the Pontiff.

However the government showed its authoritarian side by preventing anti-Castro protesters from attending the Mass. Reports from Cuba indicated that more than 200 political dissidents had been arrested just prior to the Pope’s arrival in Cuba, and members of the Women in White had been detained so that they could not fulfill their vow to make an appearance at the Mass in Havana.

After the Mass, the Pontiff met privately with Fidel Castro at the residence of the apostolic nuncio in Havana. The 85-year-old Cuban leader, who relinquished power because of his declining health, had requested the meeting.

Pope Benedict was scheduled to leave Cuba late Wednesday afternoon for an overnight flight back to Rome.

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($55,552 to go):
$150,000.00 $94,448.13
37% 63%
Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on

Recent Catholic Commentary

The gift of orthodoxy: A mercy and a challenge to mercy 20 hours ago
Getting Marriage Right November 25
O Earthly Lord, vouchsafe to us high speed Internet. November 25
No 'Francis effect' in Strasbourg November 25
What Pope Francis told European Parliament, and what Pope John Paul II said November 25

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis: Europe seems 'elderly and haggard' CWN - November 25