Reuters reports on Pope Benedict's upcoming trip to Cuba, and says that the Pope is offering Cuba the church's assistance should it move away from communism, which he claims no longer works. From the article:
Pope Benedict said on Friday communism no longer works in Cuba and that the Roman Catholic was ready to help the island find new ways of moving forward without "trauma".
Speaking on the plane taking him from Rome for a trip to Mexico and Cuba, the pope told reporters: "Today it is evident that Marxist ideology in the way it was conceived no longer corresponds to reality."
Responding to a question about his visit to the island, a communist bastion 90 miles off the coast of the United States for more than 50 years, Benedict added: "In this way we can no longer respond and build a society. New models must be found with patience and in a constructive way.
Benedict offered the help of the Church in achieving a peaceful transition on the island saying the process required patience but also "much decisiveness."
"We want to help in a spirit of dialogue to avoid traumas and to help move forward a society which is fraternal and just, which is what we desire for the whole world."
For more on the papal visit to Cuba and Mexico, check out this panel discussion from Al Jazeera's "Inside Story Americas" featuring Fr. Tom Reese, SJ. Fr. Reese highlights the rise of Evangelicalism in Latin America and the threat that it poses to Catholic hegemony in the region. He said:
"The Catholic church in Latin America is what I call an old, lazy monopoly, like the old IBM…The Evangelicals are like the Silicon start-ups of Christianity, they're entrepreneurial, creative, aggressive."
Michael J. O'Loughlin