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Pope sends personal condolences to Cuba

VATICAN (SE): Pope Francis stepped outside of the usual protocol in expressing his condolences to the people and government of Cuba upon the death of its revolutionary leader, Fidel Castro, in a telegramme to the current president on November 26.

The usual protocol at the Vatican when expressing condolences at the death of a national leader or past leader is a telegramme from the secretary of state on behalf of the pope.

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A death mourned in Cuba celebrated in Miami

HONG KONG (SE): “It is true that the rock of St. Peter, on which the Catholic Church was built, is solid and lasting. Throughout history, that institution has demonstrated its experience, its wisdom and its capacity to adapt to reality,” Brazilian Dominican, Father Carlos Alberto Libânio Christo, quotes Fidel Castro, the late president of Cuba who took power in a violent revolution in 1959, as saying in his book, Fidel and Religion.

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Obama meets cardinal in Havana

HAVANA (SE): The president of the United States of America (US), Barack Obama, met with Jaime Lucas Cardinal Ortega y Alamino in Havana, during his three-day visit to Cuba on March 20.

The meeting took place at the Cathedral of the Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception in the nation’s capital city on the first day of the US president’s visit.

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A long-awaited embrace

HAVANA (SE): The embrace that Christianity has waited over 1,000 years to see became a reality on February 12 in a hangar at José Marti Airport in Havana, Cuba, as Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow put their arms around each other in a reconciliatory gesture.

The two described their historic greeting as an end to a millennium of division due to human weakness and sin, contradicting  Christ’s prayer that they may be one.

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Pope gives Castro cross to refugees’ parish church

VATICAN (SE): Pope Francis is donating a crucifix that was given to him by the president of Cuba, Raul Castro, during the recent papal visit to the Caribbean nation to the parish church of Lampedusa, an island haven for refugees in the Mediterranean.

Vatican Radio reported on November 12 that the crucifix measures over three metres high and is crafted from wooden oars tied with ropes to symbolise the reality of migrants who have crossed the sea in flimsy boats.

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Supporters of Cuban dissidents arrested

HAVANA (Agencies): While all may have seemed calm as pope Francis sat peacefully with the Cuban revolutionary leader, Fidel Castro, those who represent the people who suffered under his rule were being prevented by Cuban police from attending public events, even though some of them had been invited by Vatican diplomats to attend a papal function.

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Pope takes a swipe at state ideology in Cuba

HAVANA (SE): Pope Francis took a swipe at the ideology of the revolutionary Cuban government when he addressed an estimated crowd of half a million people gathered for a papal Mass in Havana’s Plaza de la Revolucion on September 20.

In addressing the congregation, he pointed out that serving the people is the cornerstone of the Code of Ethics for the leaders of the Cuban state.

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United States and Cuba sign historic agreement at the Vatican

ROME (SE): On September 18, the day before Pope Francis departed from Rome on a visit to Cuba and the United States of America (US), the Vatican secretary of state, Pietro Cardinal Parolin, presided over the signing of an historic agreement between the two nations at the Vatican.

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