Pope urges greater openings in vast Cuban Mass
Pope Benedict XVI demanded more freedom for the Catholic Church in communist-run Cuba and preached against “fanaticism’’ in an unusually political sermon Wednesday before hundreds of thousands at Revolution Plaza, with President Raul Castro in the front row.
Before the pope’s departure, he met with the president’s brother, revolutionary leader Fidel Castro. Castro grilled the pontiff on changes in church liturgy and his role as spiritual leader of the world’s Catholics, a Vatican spokesman said.
Benedict’s homily was a not-so-subtle jab at the island’s leadership before a vast crowd of Cubans, both in the sprawling plaza and watching on television. But he also clearly urged an end to Cuba’s isolation, a reference to the 50-year U.S. economic embargo and the inability of 11 American presidents and brothers Fidel and Raul Castro to forge peace. [More]