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Cuban cardinal seen poised to resign after over 30 years as head of Havana archdiocese

November 19, 2013

Cardinal Jaime Ortega y Alamino has resigned from his post as vice-president of the Cuban bishops’ conference, in a move that almost certainly points toward his imminent resignation as Archbishop of Havana.

Cardinal Ortega, who is 77, submitted his resignation to Pope Benedict XVI two years ago, as required by Church law, when he turned 75. But the Pontiff asked him to remain in office until after the Pope’s visit to Cuba last year. Pope Francis reportedly asked the Cuban prelate to remain a bit longer as he considered a replacement.

Cardinal Ortega, who has been Archbishop of Havana since 1981, has been a highly influential figure in Cuba, leading the Catholic community through an era that has seen the Communist regime gradually allow greater freedoms to the Church. He has helped to negotiate the release of imprisoned political dissidents, earning praise from some quarters but incurring criticism from observers who felt that he had made unnecessary concessions to the Castro regime.


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