With his wife looking on, Fidel Castro and Pope Francis spoke to each other for about thirty minutes in the former Cuban leader's home.
Castro wore a blue Adidas track suit and sat for the whole encounter, at times rotating in the chair during his conversation with the Pope. He read to Pope Francis at one point.
Although Cuban state television did not divulge what the two discussed, it was clear that their conversation covered a lot of terrain. At times they laughed and smiled. And during part of the meeting, the Pope's face appeared more serious.
The two exchanged books. Pope Francis gave his two best known publications: "Evangelii Gaudium” and his ecology encyclical, "Laudato Si.” He also gave Castro another book on spirituality and CDs with writings by Father Armando Llorente, a Jesuit priest who was Castro’s school teacher. He was later exiled from Cuba.
Fidel Castro had a special message for the Pope in his book.
FR. FEDERICO LOMBARDI
"The commander gave the Pope the book 'Fidel and Religion,' a conversation with Frei Betto. It came with a personal dedication...This is the dedication: 'For the Pope on the occasion of his fraternal visit to Cuba, with admiration and respect from the Cuban people.'”
The meeting lasted between 30 and 40 minutes. Castro's wife, children, and grandchildren also attended. They concluded the meeting by posing for a picture with the Pope.