A CubaNews translation from the Spanish from
Vatican and Roman Catholic news reports on this are given below,
followed by an item from Radio Progreso on Miami media coverage.
70 years of Cuba-Holy See relations analyzed by the Cuban ambassador
to the Vatican Interview of Raúl Roa-Kourí at Zenit, the Vatican news service:
January 8, 2005
of Pope John Paul II at the presentation
of credentials of Cuban Ambassador Raul Roa Kouri
1. I am pleased to welcome Ambassador Extraordinaire and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Cuba on the occasion of the presentation of credentials to the Holy See. I thank him for his kind words, and the greetings from Dr. Fidel Castro Ruz, President of the Council of State and the Government of the Republic, to whom I request that my wishes for his good health are expressed as well as my hopes for the complete prosperity of the beloved nation of Cuba.
For Cuba I pray to God, for the intercession by the Sainted Virgin venerated in Cuba as the beautiful Our Lady of the Caridad del Cobre, for the increased feelings of mutual understanding and genuine brotherhood that allows the country to truly be a house that is built by all.
2. At the same time, I want to make him aware of the interest with which I follow the persistence of the Cuban authorities to maintain and to develop the goals obtained by great effort in the field of health, education at all levels and of culture in its different expressions.
The Holy See considers that assuring these conditions of human existence are some of the pillars of the building of peace which is not only the absence of war, but also the power to enjoy the promotion of humanity, in health and the harmonic growth of the body and the spirit, by all the members of a society.
Also, the Holy See wishes strongly that the obstacles that prevent the free communication and interchange between the Cuban nation and the international community can be overcome, thus strengthening, by means of a respectful and open dialogue with all, the necessary conditions for an authentic development.
3. For its part, Cuba is distinguished by a spirit of solidarity, evidenced by the shipment of personnel and resources of basic necessities to several populations on the occasion of natural calamities, conflicts or poverty. The social doctrine of the Church has been much developed in these last years, specifically to illuminate the situations that require this dimension of justice and the truth. In this respect, the Church in Cuba, with its evangelizing presence and sincere spirit of service to the Cuban people, makes an effort to put into action such social teaching, not only in word, but also with its persistence and concrete accomplishments. The set of values and proposals that integrate the doctrine and the consequent social action of the Church comprise their evangelizing mission and, consequently, the Church's own identity.
So that the action of the Church in the Cuban people can be more effective in the promotion of the common good, it is advisable that, in an atmosphere of genuine religious freedom (Cf. "Dignitatis humanae" 13), the Church maintain and increase the already existing bonds of solidarity with sister Churches, who do not falter in generously supporting in very diverse ways and, in particular, making available priests, monks and nuns, that favor the work of the Catholic Church in Cuba, whose members are part of the Cuban people, living united and in communion and harmony with the Apostolic See.
4. In fact, in all pluralistic societies the Church presents directives and proposals that can raise different points of view between those who share the faith and those who do not profess it. The divergence of these feelings should not produce any form of social conflict but rather create a constructive and ample dialogue.
In this respect there are subjects in which the Church in Cuba wishes to illuminate the social reality, such as the larger problems provoked by the promotion of the human dignity; the consideration of the reality of the family and the education of new generations in a culture of peace, of life and hope; the complex relation between the economy and spiritual values; the global attention on the human being, and aspects of these in which a dialogue with all the groups that integrate the Cuban people is advisable.
5. Mr. Ambassador, at the moment at which you begin your function as the head of this diplomatic Mission, I wish to ratify the good disposition of the Holy See and the Church in Cuba in their efforts to persevere in the service to the men and women who live in their Country, as well as to overcome any difference by the way of a constructive dialogue. I renew my greetings to the Cuban Authorities and I invoke to you, your family and collaborators, as well as to the entire Cuban Nation, that I always remember with affection, the aid of God and the abundance of His blessings. ==========================================================================
ZENIT - The World Seen From Rome
Havana Urged by Pope to Allow Religious Freedom
Calls for Lifting of U.S. Trade Embargo Against Cuba
VATICAN CITY, JAN. 9, 2005 (Zenit.org).- John
Paul II appealed to the Cuban government for "genuine religious liberty" when
receiving the letters of credence of the island nation's new ambassador to the
In particular, the Pope requested that Cuban leader Fidel Castro -- to whom he expressed "best wishes for his health" -- allow missionaries from other countries to enter the country, and emphasized the Church's right to enlighten social life with its teaching.
In his address Saturday, the Holy Father also criticized the trade embargo imposed by the United States on Cuba, and encouraged Cuban international solidarity.
"For the action of the Church to be more effective among the Cuban people in promoting the common good, it is desirable that, in an atmosphere of genuine religious liberty, it be able to maintain and increase already existing bonds of solidarity with other sister Churches," John Paul II said.
In particular, the Pope requested that "priests [and] men and women religious" of other countries be welcomed to support "the work of the Catholic Church in Cuba, whose members are part of the Cuban people, living united and in communion and harmony with the Apostolic See."
To enter the country, Catholic foreign missionaries must get permission from the Religious Affairs Office of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party.
In Cuba, there are 37,063 inhabitants per priest, one of the world's highest figures. In Mexico there are 7,143 inhabitants for every priest, in the United States 5,893, and in Italy 1,059.
The Pope also defended the right of the Church in Cuba to enlighten social life on issues such as "the promotion of human dignity; consideration of the family reality, and the education of new generations in a culture of peace, life and hope."
The proclamation and application of the Church's social doctrine is "part of its evangelizing mission and, consequently, of its very identity," he said.
The Holy Father also encouraged the "spirit of solidarity" that Cuba has manifested with other needy countries, by sending "personnel and material resources" for the "basic needs of several populations" enduring "natural calamities, conflicts, or poverty."
John Paul II also referred to the economic isolation of Cuba imposed by the United States.
"The Holy See very much hopes that the obstacles which impede free communication and exchange between the Cuban nation and part of the international community be overcome as soon as possible, thus fostering, through respectful dialogue open to all, the conditions necessary for genuine development," he said.
Havana's new representative in the Vatican is career diplomat Raul Roa Kouri, who in the past has been ambassador to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and to France.
About 55% of Cuba's 11 million inhabitants are Catholic.
CUBA: REAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM FOR EFFECTIVE CHURCH ACTIVITY
VATICAN CITY, JAN 8, 2005 (VIS) - This morning, the Pope received the Letters of Credence of the new ambassador from the Republic of Cuba, Raul Roa Kouri, to whom he gave assurances of his interest in efforts by Cuban authorities to further develop their achievements in the fields of health, education and culture in their different forms.
The Pope affirmed that "the Holy See considers that assuring these conditions of human existence means erecting some of the pillars of the house of peace. This does not mean just the absence of war, but the possibility of all members of society benefiting from integral human promotion, in health and the harmonic growth of the body and the spirit."
John Paul II expressed the hope that "the obstacles preventing free communication and exchange between Cuba and a part of the international community" would soon be overcome, and that this would strengthen, "by means of open and respectful dialogue with everyone, the conditions necessary for true peace."
After highlighting the Cuban nation's spirit of solidarity in the face of natural catastrophes, conflicts and poverty, the Holy Father stressed that "in order for the Church's activity among the Cuban people to become more effective in promoting the common good, it would be appropriate for her - in an environment of true religious freedom - to maintain and increase the bonds of solidarity that already exist with other sister Churches who do not hesitate to give their generous support in various ways. In particular by making priests and religious available to favor the work of the Catholic Church in Cuba, whose members are part of the Cuban people, living together in communion and harmony with the Apostolic See."
The Pope affirmed that divergences concerning the guidance and proposals of the Church, between those who profess the faith and those who do not, "must not give rise to any form of social conflict, but favor a broad-ranging and constructive dialogue." On this subject, he recalled the areas in which the Church in Cuba "wishes to illuminate social reality, such as for example the extensive problems raised by the promotion of human dignity; consideration for the family situation and the education of young generations in a culture of peace, of life and of hope; the complex relationship between the economy and the values of the spirit; comprehensive attention to the human individual - aspects in which it is necessary to establish a dialogue with all groups that make up the Cuban people."
CD/LETTERS CREDENCE/CUBA:ROA VIS 050110 (430)
Papal call to end Cuban embargo
Vatican, Jan. 10 (CWNews.com) - Pope John Paul II (bio - news) called for an end to the American embargo on Cuba when he met on January 8 with a new ambassador from that nation to the Holy See. At the same time, the Pope pressed the Castro government for greater respect for religious freedom.
As he accepted the diplomatic credentials of the new ambassador, Raul Roa Kouri, the Pope expressed his hope that "the obstacles preventing free communications and exchange between Cuba and a part of the international community" would be eliminated. Apparently referring to the American embargo, he said that the removal of these "obstacles" would allow "the conditions necessary for true peace." Pope John Paul had previously called for an end to the US embargo in January 1998, when he visited Cuba.
John Paul II also told the Cuban envoy that the Catholic Church needs "an atmosphere of true religious liberty" in order to pursue her mission there. He added that the government has no reason to fear the Church, since Catholic leaders seek only to advance the welfare of the Cuban people. He added that any conflicts between Church teaching and Cuban government ideology should be resolved through "broad-ranging, constructive dialogue."
constitution establishes an officially atheistic and materialist regime, while
still claiming to allow the free exercise of religion. In practice, religious
activities are tightly controlled by government regulations. The Pope's visit to
Cuba in 1998 brought a series of concessions on religious freedom, as well as
the release of 300 political prisoners; the Vatican has continued to press for
further government steps on human rights, especially religious liberties. In
September 2003, the Cuban Catholic bishops charged that Castro's regime was
moving backward, returning to the harsh ideological controls that immediately
followed the revolution of 1959.
ABC News U.S. Trade Embargo on Cuba Concerns Pope Pope Expresses Concern About U.S. Trade Embargo on Cuba, Encourages Openness on Island The Associated Press
Jan. 8, 2005 - Pope John Paul II on Saturday reiterated concern about the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba, while encouraging openness on the communist-run island.
The pope met Saturday with Cuba's new ambassador to the Vatican, Raul Roa Kouri, and the pontiff's remarks were provided in a statement.
"The Holy See wishes ardently that the obstacles that currently impede free communication and exchange between Cuba and the international community may be overcome as soon as possible, thus consolidating, by means of a respectful and open dialogue among all, the conditions necessary for genuine development," the pope said.
The pontiff also made several references to a wish for greater dialogue on the island.
The Vatican is against economic embargoes for political purposes, including the U.S. embargo against Havana.
John Paul II made a historic visit to Cuba in 1998, issuing strong calls for more freedoms, including freedom of expression.
After nearly 40 years of tensions following the 1959 Cuban revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power, church-state relations have improved, especially following John Paul's visit. Christmas was reinstated as a permanent holiday on the island thanks to the pope's visit.
Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Copyright © 2005 ABC News Internet Ventures
PROGRESO WEEKLY (Miami)
January 13-19, 2005
Censoring the Pope
Both the Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald seriously underreported a statement made in Rome Jan. 8 by Pope John Paul II, in which he hoped for an end to the trade embargo imposed on Cuba by the United States.
In a six-paragraph item published Jan. 9 (“The Pope worries about the embargo"), El Nuevo printed only one paragraph of the Pope's statement. The Herald did the same, in a five-paragraph brief (“Pontiff criticizes U.S. trade embargo.”)
If the Pope
had asked for a continuation of the embargo, or if he had applauded the cruel
measures against the Cuban family imposed by the Bush administration, both
newspapers would have run the story in full, on Page One. The fact they did not
in this case confirms that they are not interested in reporting developments
that disagree with their own narrow political agendas.
Best wishes to Castro and Cuba
The Pope's words – spoken during the presentation of credentials by Cuba's new Ambassador to the Vatican, Raúl Roa Kouri – are significant, so, for the benefit of readers of both Heralds, we are reproducing them here in full. The statement was delivered by the Pontiff in Spanish and posted in that language on the Vatican's website; the translation into English is by Progreso Weekly. Clarifications [in brackets] are by Progreso Weekly.
“Mr. Ambassador,” the statement began, “I am pleased to welcome you on the occasion of the presentation of Credential Letters that accredit you as Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba before the Holy See. I thank you for your kind words, as well as the greetings from Dr. Fidel Castro Ruz, President of the Council of State and the Government of the Republic, to whom I beg you to express my best wishes for his health, as well as my hopes for the integral prosperity of the dear Cuban Nation. To this end, I ask God, through the intercession of the Most Holy Virgin, venerated in your Country with the beautiful advocacy of Our Lady of Charity of Cobre, to augment the feelings of mutual understanding and genuine brotherhood that allow the Homeland to be truly everyone's home and work.”
In its second paragraph, the statement praised Cuba's accomplishments in the social sectors. Again, this is not something the Heralds are interested in publicizing.
“At the same time, I can express the interest with which I observe the determination of the Cuban authorities to maintain and develop the achievements made in the fields of health care, education at its various levels, and culture in its different expressions. The Holy See believes that by guaranteeing these conditions of human existence [you] erect some of the pillars of the building of peace, which is not only the absence of war but also the ability to enjoy an integral human promotion of the health and harmonic growth of the body and spirit of all the members of a society.”
A call for dialogue
The Pope then alluded to the U.S. trade embargo, in the one paragraph that the two Miami newspapers reproduced. Notice the call for “a respectful and open dialogue among all,” a condition that is anathema to émigré hardliners.
Likewise, the Holy See ardently wishes that the obstacles that impede free communication and exchange between the Cuban Nation and part of the international community may be overcome as soon as possible, thus consolidating, by means of a respectful and open dialogue among all, the conditions necessary for genuine development.
In the next paragraph – also ignored by the Heralds – the Pope praised Cuba for aiding countries in need, an allusion to the doctors and teachers Havana has sent to various hemisphere nations, notably Venezuela, at no cost. He then restated the aims and efforts of the Roman Catholic Church in Cuba.
On its part, Cuba distinguishes itself for its spirit of solidarity, made evident by the shipment of personal and material resources to satisfy the basic necessities of several populations in cases of natural calamities, conflicts or poverty. The Church's Social Doctrine has developed much in recent years, precisely to illuminate the situations that require that dimension of solidarity from a standpoint of justice and truth. In this respect, the Church in Cuba, with its evangelizing presence and with a spirit of sincere and effective service to the Cuban people, endeavors to accentuate [its] social magisterium not only through words but also through concrete efforts and accomplishments. The combination of values and proposals that are part of the Doctrine and the consequent social action of the Church are part of its evangelizing mission and, therefore, of its own identity.
Why not invite foreign clergy?
The Pope then suggested that, just as Cuba sends doctors and teachers overseas, Cuba should consider allowing clergymen from other nations to assist Cuban priests on the island. The reference in Latin is to the Vatican's 1965 Declaration on Religious Freedom On Human Dignity. Paragraph 13 of that document recommends “that the Church [should enjoy] as much freedom of action as its care for the salvation of men requires.”
For the action of the Church in the bosom of the Cuban people to be more effective in the promotion of the common well-being, it is convenient that, in an atmosphere of genuine religious freedom (cf. Dignitatis humanae 13), it can maintain and increase its existing links of solidarity with other sister Churches who do not hesitate to provide generous support by very diverse means and, in particular, by making available priests, clergymen and clergywomen who may advance the work of the Catholic Church in Cuba, whose members are part of the Cuban people, living together and in communion and tune with the Apostolic See.
The pontiff reminded the Cuban ambassador that, despite the differences between religious believers and nonbelievers – i.e., the Church and the State – “a constructive and broad dialogue” can be achieved. He even hinted that the Church can facilitate this dialogue “among all the groups that form the people of Cuba.” Presumably, he meant a dialogue between Cubans on the island and abroad.
In reality, in every pluralist society, the Church presents orientations and proposals that can lead to different points of view between those who share the faith and those who do not profess it. In this sense, the divergences should not produce any kind of social conflict but should rather favor a constructive and broad dialogue.
In this respect there are topics about which the Church in Cuba wishes to cast light on the social reality, such as the widespread questions raised by the promotion of human dignity; the consideration of the realities of families, and the education of the new generations in a culture of peace, life and hope; the complex relationship between the economy and the values of the spirit; [and] the global attention on the human person, aspects where a dialogue is convenient among all the groups that form the people of Cuba.
Pontiff remembers Cuba ‘always with affection’
John Paul II ended by stressing the Church's willingness to facilitate a dialogue between Church, State and all Cubans everywhere. In all, he used the word “dialogue” four times in his statement. Not something hardliners want to see or hear.
“Mr. Ambassador, at the moment on which you begin your duties at the head of [your] diplomatic Mission, I wish to reiterate the great willingness of the Holy See and the Church in Cuba in their desire to persevere in the service of the men and women who live in your Country, as well as to overcome any differences through constructive dialogue. I renew my greeting to the Cuban Authorities and wish upon You, your family and your collaborators, as well as upon the entire Cuban Nation, which I remember always with affection, God's help and His abundant blessings.”
Why did we
take the trouble to copy, translate and analyze John Paul II's statement?
Because we think it's more important than the Heralds give it credit for. And
because we believe in considering all sides of every issue.