Pope Benedict was visiting Cuba as a pligrim, honouring Cuba’s patron on the 400th anniversary of the appearance of the Virgin of Charity said Cuban Cardinal, Jamie Ortega.
Ortega made the statements in a rare state TV address, granted to him by Cuban authorities.
“There was great interest in this pilgrimage because the pope is determined to revive the faith in countries that were Christianized before but need a new evangelization, and he saw in this mission a true example of what it is to revive the faith of a people,” said Ortega.
“The pope feels that he comes to confirm us in this faith,” said Ortega.
The Church in Cuba was more or less shut down following the 1959 revolution led by communist dictator, Fidel Castro.
The state closed schools and harassed priests, and people were prevented from practising their faith.
Relations thawed in the 1990′s, particularly after the historic 1998 visit of Pope John Paul II, and intensified in 2010 when the Church brokered a deal with Castro to release political prisoners.
Today Masses and Christmas celebrations are sometimes televised.
As CathNews reported, there are rumours circulating that Castro may be preparing to be readmitted to the Church when Pope Benedict visits later this month. Benedict has said he is keen to visit with Castro.
News category: World.