Cuban Communists seeking to erase traces of papal visit
The Communist Party in Havana has given the order to cleanse Cuba of all traces of John Paul II's historic visit to the island three years ago, according to an Italian bishop just returned from Cuba.
Verona Bishop Flavio Roberto Carraro, president of the Italian bishops' Commission for the Evangelisation of Peoples and Cooperation among Churches, visited the missionaries of his diocese.
He reported: "The Central Committee of the Communist Party in Havana recently published a document, which includes an expression that has worried the Cuban Church greatly: It is time to 'de-papalise' Cuba."
"The Pope has left a mark on the Cuban people, which continues to affect their religious practice; his visit increased charity," explained Bishop Flavio. "The Havana Party (Fidel Castro's position is not yet known) is determined to make Cubans forget and erase the Pope's visit. This causes fear in the Cuban Church."
He added that be believes the Communist Party's endeavour may not succeed, because "the people are still 'impressed' by the visit; the sense of response to the Pope's visit, [reflected] in participation in the life of the Christian community, is still very alive."