Castro gave Pope Francis a copy of Freitas Betto’s 1985 book entitled “Fidel and Religion”, which is based off of a 23-hour-long interview between Castro and a Brazilian priest, Reuters reports.
Pope Francis celebrated mass yesterday on Revolution Square in Havana, the biggest event of his trip to Cuba, with almost a million people estimated to have attended.
Young and old turned out in droves on Saturday to welcome Francis to the country, lining the motorcade route of a man many credit with helping bring about the recent thaw in relations between Cuba and the US.
Francis will fly from Cuba to Washington on Tuesday. The rules will take effect from Sep.21 on the eve of the Papal visit to the U.S. It is known that Pope Francis was the main proponent of a reconciliation between the U.S and Cuba.
Bells rang out and a few hundred excited and sweaty priests and sisters clapped and shouted “Francisco!” as the pope arrived.
After mass, Francis had the meeting many were anticipating.
The Castro brothers, both baptized Catholics and educated by Jesuits, repressed the Church after their 1959 revolution but relaxed that stance from the 1990s and have now seen three pontiffs visit them in less than two decades.
POPE FRANCIS, (through translator): Jesus invites us to slowly overcome our preconceptions and our resistance to change in others, and even in ourselves. If he does not address human rights in his sermons, he should press home the point in private conversations with officials. “However, Pope Francis, the consummate diplomat, certainly spoke frankly with Raul Castro yesterday behind closed doors”. “We serve people”.
FILE – In this March 28, 2010, file photo, the Archbishop of Havana, Cardinal Jaime Ortega leads a procession of worshippers before Palm Sunday mass at the Cathedral in Havana. “There is no democratic country in Latin America or the world that doesn’t repudiate this US policy”, Cristina Fernandez said, adding that “the walls and blockades will continue to fall and when they don’t fall through our efforts, they end up falling due to the weight of history”.
In a remarkable timing that coincided with the Pope’s visit to Cuba and the United States, the White House announced a series of changes to loosen its curbs on travel, commerce and investment with Cuba.
“It was the veterans of the War of Independence, moved by feelings of faith and patriotism, who asked that the Mambi Virgin become the patroness of a free and sovereign Cuba”, said Pope Francis upon his arrival in Cuba Saturday.