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9/20/15

CUBA-Vatican: Under the white robe a shrewed politician with objectives that have little to do with Christianity

Astrid Prange writes in the German DW - "Can praying be sin? In Cuba, one definitely does not need to respond to this question with a 'no.' Pope Francis, the third leader of the Catholic Church to travel to Cuba, prays politically.

His calls for help from heaven could help re-shape the foundations of the one-party system established by the old revolutionaries.

During his visit to Cuba, the Pope has urged Cubans to freely practice their religion, a right that is included in the Cuban constitution, but often disregarded in practice. He aims to push for the renovation of existing churches and the construction of new ones and for Internet access for parishes so they can establish their own media. He has been hinting that the Catholic Church could, once again, run schools, universities and hospitals.

Pope Francis' demands are more than just a "mediation prize" for the Vatican's successful diplomacy, which has encouraged the rapprochement between Havana and Washington. They are also telling us that religious freedom means more than just holding church services, worshiping saints and taking part in processions without worrying about the secret police.

Religious freedom is a human right that touches the innermost selves of people and is one the pillars of an open-minded, democratic society. In Cuba, the growing political influence of the Vatican can become a catalyst for reforms. Years ago, when the Soviet Union was falling apart, the Catholic Church was striving for this role. Now it seems like the Church's time has come.

And if that were not enough: once again, the Catholic Church is going down in Latin American history. In the 1960s and 1970s, revolutionary liberation theology, a religious movement in the New World, startled the cardinals in Rome. Now, liberation theology - personified in Pope Francis - has arrived in the Vatican and has put the old socialist revolutionaries in Havana in an uneasy state.


Read moreA holy revolution: Pope Francis in Cuba | Opinion | DW.COM | 20.09.2015

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