Pope Benedict Calls For ‘Open Society’ During Mass in Cuba
Pope Benedict told the Cuban nation “firm moral convictions” are needed to overcome economic crisis.
Benedict called for an “open society” during his sermon at an open-air mass
Pope Benedict XVI urged tens of thousands of Cubans gathered for an open-air mass to “build a renewed and open society,” at the start of his visit to the Communist-ruled country.
The pontiff — making the first papal visit to Cuba in 14 years — is seeking to bolster close church-state ties here while also urging authorities in the Americas’ only one-party Communist state to embrace change.
Benedict, who arrived on Monday after a visit to predominantly Roman Catholic Mexico, also hopes to encourage new and renewed faith in the mainly secular island nation.
“I appeal to you to reinvigorate your faith … and armed with peace, forgiveness and understanding, that you may strive to build a renewed and open society, a better society, one more worthy of humanity,” the pontiff said at the mass in Santiago on Monday, beneath soaring white metal church arches.
The 84-year-old Benedict was helped up to his seat and smiled as the crowd sang and chanted to welcome him.
President Raul Castro — who had earlier greeted the pope at the airport in Santiago, Cuba’s second largest city — was seated in the front row, sporting a white guayabera tropical shirt.
The crowd of an estimated 200,000 sang hymns, some raising their arms and joining hands. Others folded their hands in prayer, listening intently to the pope’s sermon.
Babalu added this on Pope Benedict’s sermon today.
At the end of his homily Pope John Paul II added some extemporaneous words: This wind today is very significant because wind symbolizes the Holy Spirit. “Spiritus spirat ubi vult; Spiritus vult spirare in Cuba”. My last words are in Latin, because Cuba also has a Latin tradition: Latin America, Latin Cuba, Latin language! “Spiritus spirat ubi vult et vult Cubam”! Goodbye. The Latin, roughly, means: The spirit spreads wherever it wants; it wants to spread in Cuba… The spirit spreads wherever it wants and to Cuba.