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Pope Francis

Pope Francis: No people is criminal and no religion is terrorist

February 17, 2017. Pope Francis has sent an important message to the Meetings of Popular Movements that is taking place in Modesto (California). The pope denounces the "moral blindness of this indifference”: "under the guise of what is politically correct or ideologically fashionable, one looks at those who suffer without touching them. But they are televised live; they are talked about in euphemisms and with apparent tolerance, but nothing is done systematically to heal the social wounds or to confront the structures that leave so many brothers and sisters by the wayside”.
World

The government of the Order of Malta will elect the successor of the Grand Master in April

February 15, 2017. On April 29, the Council Complete of State, the Order’s constitutional body, will elect the next Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta (or, as provided for in the Constitution, a Lieutenant of the Grand Master, to hold office for a year).
Pope Francis

Pope names a Special Envoy for Medjugorje

< style> February 11, 2017. Pope Francis has asked Henryk Hoser, S.A.C., bishop of Warsaw-Prague (Poland), to go to Medjugorje as Special Envoy of the Holy See. According< g> the Vatican, "the mission has the aim of acquiring a deeper knowledge of the pastoral situation there and above all, of the needs of the faithful who go there in pilgrimage, and on the basis of this, to suggest possible pastoral initiatives for the future”.
Vatican

Pope Francis advances eight new causes of sainthood

January 23, 2017. On January 20, Pope Francis met with Cardinal Angelo Amato, the prefect for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to announce the publication of decrees for the advancement of eight causes of sainthood.

Cuba and the Holy See: A look at the highs and lows of their diplomatic relations

2015-05-09

The relationship between Cuba and the Holy See has been complicated to say the least. Communism took over the island in 1959. It wasn't long before religions were targeted. 

Practicing Catholics were viewed under suspicion. Under the orders of Fidel Castro, priests were deported. Parishes were seized and Catholic schools were closed.  Even more, Catholics weren't allowed to have positions of power. The size and influence of the Church dwindled when tens of thousands of Cubans fled the island. 

In 1992 the communist government modified its constitution, changing its status from atheist to secular. 

Surprisingly, despite the tension, the diplomatic ties between Cuba and the Holy See remained intact. In fact, Cuba is the only communist country with which the Holy See has never broken off its diplomatic relationship. This despite the fact that practicing Christians were repressed in Cuba, both public and private life. 

Both states had their stark differences, among them was the censoring of religion and the imprisonment of critics. But they did meet eye to eye on social issues like war, debt and poverty. Perhaps, even more telling was that both agreed that the U.S embargo against Cuba needed to end. 

Their relationship now seems to be at its high point, but getting there took decades and it wasn't easy. 

Even though Pope Francis is the protagonist, the process of easing ties between the U.S and Cuba has been in the works for decades. From papal visits to presidential audiences and a lot of patience in between. 
 
Slowly but surely, Cuba started to ease its restrictions against Christians, with symbolic gestures like recognizing Christmas and Easter as official holidays. A percentage of buildings and parishes that were seized, have been returned to the Church. 

The month of June marks 80 years since both states established diplomatic ties. Now only time will tell how this new chapter in history will affect the ties and relationship between Cuba and the Holy See...and most importantly how it will affect the way Christians practice their faith on the island. 


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