Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI: Is willing to meet Fidel Castro if Invited???

The Holy See has formally shown caution but behind the scenes there is a silent diplomacy at work.

“It is possible the Pope may meet Fidel Castro but it is officially part of the schedule. If there an opportunity does arise for the two to meet, this will be duly communicated. In any case, if Fidel Castro expresses a wish to meet the Holy Father, the Pope will be willing to.”

In the customary pre-trip briefing with journalists, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi was rather ambiguous in his comments regarding the rumours surrounding the Pope's potential meeting with “maximum leader” Fidel Castro.

For some time now, there has been talk of a possible unscheduled meeting between the two leaders, on the occasion of the Pope’s upcoming visit to Mexico and Cuba.

The rumour have been going round Mexico too, the second most Catholic Country in the world and the birthplace of the Legion of Christ, the religious congregation commissioned by Benedict XVI in light of the sex abuse scandal.

The Pope will arrive in Mexico on the afternoon of Friday 23 March and will land at the León - Guanajuato Airport in the State of Guanajuato.

On Saturday, following his courtesy visit to President Felipe Calderon, the Pope will bless a gathering of children in the Plaza de la Paz in Guanajuato.

On Sunday he will celebrate mass in León’s Bicentennial Park and, in the evening, in the Cathedral of Our Most Holy Mother of Light, where he will recite the Vespers alongside bishops.

The following morning he will travel to Santiago de Cuba, where he will celebrate mass in Antonio Maceo square, on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of the image of Our Lady of Charity.

In the morning of 27 March, after his visit to the Marian shrine, Benedict XVI will fly to Havana, where he will hold a meeting, in the afternoon, with Raúl Castro, in the Palacio de la Revolución.

On 28 March, the Pope will celebrate mass in José Marti square, in Havana and will depart for Rome in the afternoon. Joseph Ratzinger had been invited to the island four years ago, when Raúl Castro took over the Country’s leadership.

The meetings which are most hotly anticipated are the ones which are not in fact in the schedule: the meeting with Fidel Castro and (though this is even more uncertain) with victims of the paedophile Marcial Maciel, the founder for the Legion of Christ.

The Holy See’s Latin diplomacy is hard at work on the Mexico and Cuba fronts.

The Vatican will adopt the “dialogue with everyone” strategy during this Latin American trip. Spanish is the language that is most widely spoken by Catholics around the world and during this week of faith and politics, the Pope, as theologian and pastor, will build a bridge for the Church of the future.

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