Pope seems to criticise Cuba regime in visit

Pope Francis appeared to take aim at Cuba’s communist regime in comments at a Mass at Havana’s Revolution Square on Sunday.

The Pontiff told the crowd that “service is never ideological”.

Speaking in a plaza dominated by a towering portrait of revolutionary Che Guevara, the Pope told the crowd they should “serve people, not ideas”.

He added that the faithful “are called by virtue of our Christian vocation to that service which truly serves, and to help one another and not to be tempted by a ‘service’ which is really ‘self-serving’”.

Francis added: “There is a way to go about serving which is interested in only helping ‘my people’, in the name of ‘our people’,” he said.

“This service always leaves ‘your people’ outside, and gives rise to a dynamic of exclusion.”

His words appear to take aim at President Raul Castro and the communist regime which many Cubans still complain have control over almost every aspect of life.

Anyone who steps out of line or is perceived as being disloyal in Cuba is at risk of losing their benefits.

But even as the Pope spoke, reports emerged that dozens of activists were being arrested.

Hundreds of thousands of people had turned out to watch the Pontiff’s service this morning, including the current President Castro and the president of Argentina, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

Later that day, the Pope met with Fidel Castro and his wife and family.

The Pontiff presented the former president, 89,

The Pontiff presented the former president, 89, with copies of “Laudato Si’” and “Evangelii Gaudium” as well as a book on happiness and the spiritual life by Italian priest Fr Alexandro Pronzato.

Castro, the nation’s former dictator, gave Francis a collection of his own conversations about religion with Brazilian cleric Frei Betto.

Vatican spokesman Fr Frederico Lombardi, SJ, said the half hour meeting had been a “very informal conversation”.


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