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On last day of historic visit, Pope Benedict XVI calls for religious liberty in Cuba, meets with Fidel Castro

On last day of historic visit, Pope Benedict XVI calls for religious liberty in Cuba, meets with Fidel Castro

Fidel Castro and the Pope meet in CubaIn his homily during the mass in Havana, Pope Benedict XVI said that "The right of religious liberty shows the unity of the human person who is, at the same time, a citizen and a believer. It is legitimate for believers to offer a contribution to the building up of society. Strengthening religious liberty consolidates coexistence, nourishes hope in a better world, creates conditions conducive to peace and harmonious development, and at the same time, establishes a solid foundation that will secure the rights of future generations. When the Church emphasizes this right, it is not claiming any special privileges."

The mass was the last ceremony of the Pope's visit to Cuba.


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After the mass, the Pope met with Fidel Castro in a half hour private meeting. The Pope, aged 84, and Castro, 85, joked about their ages. "At least I'm still doing my duties," the Pope said. Due to illness, Fidel Castro has passed the presidency on to his brother, Raul. Fidel told the Pope that he had followed his entire visit on television.


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About D. Beeksma

One of the growing crowd of American "nones" herself, Deborah is a prolific writer who finds religion, spirituality and the impact of belief (and non-belief) on culture inspiring, fascinating and at times, disturbing. She hosts the God Discussion show and handles the site's technical work. Her education and background is in business, ecommerce and law.
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