- Nov 2008
- Washington state
Pope Francis talks with Cuban President Raul Castro during a private audience at the Vatican on Sunday.
Cuban leader Raul Castro, on a visit to the Vatican, where he thanked the pope for helping broker a thaw in relations between Havana and Washington, said he was so impressed with the pontiff that he might return to Catholicism, the faith he grew up in.
"I will resume praying and turn to the Church again if the Pope continues in this vein," Castro, the 83-year-old younger brother of Fidel, told reporters, adding, "I mean what I say."
"The pontiff is a Jesuit, and I, in some way, am too. I studied at Jesuit schools," he said.
Reuters says Castro and Francis met privately for nearly an hour – "unusually long for a papal meeting." It also said that papal audiences on Sundays "are extremely rare."
Reuters reports: "Francis made an exception when Castro asked if he could stop in Rome on his way back from Moscow to thank Francis for the Vatican mediation between the United States and Cuba, Cuban officials said." Raul Castro Says Pope Inspiring Him To Return To Church : The Two-Way : NPR
I hope Castro is sincere with the Pope on his commitment to going back to the Catholic faith and opening up Cuba to religious freedom again. With all the friction we have had between America and Cuba for the last 50 years , it seems a simple gesture by the Pope could open up Cuba for better relations with America. Early missionaries in American history prevented wars at times by finding common ground in religion.