The Common Good

Pope Arrives in Cuba, Blasts Economic ‘Selfishness’

VATICAN CITY--Pope Benedict XVI arrived in Cuba on Monday (March 26), renewing the Catholic Church's pledge to "work tirelessly to better serve all Cubans" as the island strives to "renew and broaden its horizons."

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Pope Benedict XVI greets Cuban President Raul Castro in Revolution Square on March 26. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Related Reading

Take Action on This Issue

Circle of Protection for a Moral Budget

A pledge by church leaders from diverse theological and political beliefs who have come together to form a Circle of Protection around programs that serve the most vulnerable in our nation and around the world.

Benedict landed in Santiago de Cuba, east of Havana, arriving from Mexico for the second leg of his weeklong visit to Latin America. President Raul Castro came to personally greet the German pope before Benedict was scheduled to celebrate Mass in the city's Revolution Square.

In his speech during the airport welcome ceremony, Benedict said he carried with him "the just aspirations and legitimate desires of all Cubans," including those of "prisoners and their families."

On the eve of the pope's arrival, dissidents denounced a wave of arrests against political opponents. Despite repeated requests, Vatican officials have said that there is little chance that Benedict will meet with representatives from the protest group Damas de Blanco (Women in White) during his three-day visit.

Benedict praised the revived "cooperation and trust" between the church and Cuba's communist government, but noted there are still areas "in which greater progress can and ought to be made," especially regarding the church's contribution to public life.

But the pontiff also struck a note that was likely to resonate with his communist hosts, when he played up the moral roots of the global economic crisis.

Benedict said the "ambition and selfishness of certain powers" took "little account of the true good of individuals and families," and added that it was impossible to "continue in the same cultural and moral direction which has caused the painful situation that many suffer."

Alessandro Speciale writes for the Religion News Service. Via RNS.

Sojourners relies on the support of readers like you to sustain our message and ministry.

Related Stories

Resources

Like what you're reading? Get Sojourners E-Mail updates!

Sojourners Comment Community Covenant

I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree, even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)

I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

I will hold others accountable by clicking "report" on comments that violate these principles, based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they're expressed. (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15)

I understand that comments reported as abusive are reviewed by Sojourners staff and are subject to removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from making further comments. (Proverbs 18:7)