Cuba Special Report: Cardinal O'Malley's visit to Cuba builds on long connection to country
By Donis TracyPilot Correspondent
Last week, when he travelled to Cuba, he found the Church in Cuba stronger than ever.
"I found the Church even more flourishing and on the road to recovery than I had hoped," he said, noting that the social services provided by organizations such as Caritas Cubana are helping to rebuild the Cuban people.
He pointed to an event in 2010, where Havana Cardinal Jaime Ortega was involved in the release of 52 political prisoners in Cuba, as an indicator that the Church has earned the respect of the Cuban government as well.
But the situation is far from perfect, he said.
"The government doesn't give the Church much space in order to expand their ministry," Cardinal O'Malley said.
"Hopefully the Church will be allowed a greater presence in the media -- in Catholic radio, Catholic newspapers, and the like... and will be allowed to have a Church presence in schools and hospitals, something that today they are not allowed to do," he said.
Paraphrasing Pope Benedict XVI's homily in Havana, where the pontiff implored the government to give the Church more freedom, the cardinal said that what the Church is asking for is not "privileges," but the ability to "minister to the people of Cuba."
"I'm presuming the situation [of the Church] will continue to evolve," the cardinal said. "It's not going to remain the way it is."
"I think the Holy Father's presence brought the world's attention to Cuba, which is a good thing because it helps to put pressure on the government to continue to change and to allow greater freedom to the people of Cuba," he said, "which is something we would all like to see."
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