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Pope Francis in Cuba: preaching 'the revolution of tenderness like Mary, Mother of Mercy'
"In addition to limits on the Church's freedom to run schools and openly evangelize, a grave priest shortage and a run-down infrastructure, there is still a greater problem for the future of Cuba: the moral deformation of Cuban society. "
In Cuba, Pope Francis preached ‘the revolution of tenderness like Mary, Mother of Mercy’
Ulrich Kny covers Cuba for the project department of the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need. He travelled to Cuba last month for the papal visit to the island nation. In this interview, he gives his impressions of the trip and speculates on its likely long-term impact.
What did Pope Francis bring to Cuba?
The Holy Father was not principally visiting Cuba as a head of state, but rather as a missionary of mercy. What he brought the people above all was his message of the “logic of love” of Jesus—a love of selfless service to our fellow men, a love that is capable of transforming hearts with a glance of mercy, a love that is active, goes out and builds bridges, a love that is revealed in a special way in family life.
Pope Francis called on people to “live the revolution of tenderness like Mary, Mother of Mercy.” In Havana, he called on young people to establish a “culture of encounter.” And he called on all Cubans, despite their differences of opinion, to “establish a social friendship” that serves the common good, and to “walk together in the search for hope, in the search for the future and the nobility of their fatherland.”
do you think the legacy of Pope Francis’ visit will be?
I hope very much that, following this papal visit, the Church in Cuba will not be simply be granted another official public holiday—after the visit of Pope Benedict XVI Good Friday was re-established as a public holiday, but apart from that nothing much really changed for the Church—but that this time the Church will really be granted more room to fulfil its mission.
are the Church’s biggest challenges in Cuba?
can the Cuban Church offer the rest of the world?
Getting ready for a papal Mass; ACN photos