Magazine says papal visit will bring hope to Cuba

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A prominent Cuban magazine said Pope Benedict’s visit to Cuba March 26-28 should help the country “pass from fear to hope” in order to build a society with freedom and responsibility.

“Cuba needs a profound transition,” said editors for on Dec. 19. “But not only a political and economic transition. It needs to pass from hatred to tolerance and inclusion.”

Although the structural changes that Cuba requires “are not the goal of the Pope’s visit,” they are nevertheless “urgently needed by the nation he is coming to visit and the Church that will welcome him,” the editors noted.  

The magazine stressed Cuba's desire reconciliation after five decades of conflict and called for the legal rights of all citizens to be guaranteed and respected.

Editors specifically addressed the need for “authentic religious freedom,” which they argued is not “permission” for the Church to carry out its work “nor a special office for controlling its activities.”

Rather, true religious freedom ensures the right of each person not to be “persecuted, discriminated against, excluded or repressed because of their faith and because of the consequences their faith has in their political, economic and social choices,” they underscored.

“Promoting this more comprehensive understanding of religious freedom is the basis, source, inspiration and complement to all other freedoms, human rights and expectations with regards to the life of the Churches and the Pope’s visit,” the magazine said.

The editorial concluded by urging Cubans “not to remain indifferent to the everyday life of the nation,” since the Pope's visit “is not exclusive to the Church.”

“It is a civic and religious task. All of us should share our opinions, make suggestions, bring out the procession that we carry inside and bear our souls, as this is above all the visit of a spiritual leader.”

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