14ymedio, Havana, 5 May 2017 — “Cuba is waiting for changes,” said Archbishop Dionisio García Ibáñez Friday on Radio Vatican; he has also said that “the Cuban people can live in better spiritual and material conditions.”
The statements of García Ibáñez, collected in Spanish by ACI Prensa, came after Pope Francisco received a delegation of Cuban prelates in the Apostolic Palace of the Vatican, a meeting that was part of a broader visit to the Holy See Headquarters that began on April 25 and ends Friday.
According to ACI Prensa, “the presence of the Cuban prelates in the Vatican aroused great expectations, bearing in mind the importance that different pontiffs have contributed to relations with the Caribbean island.”
The press agency recalls that John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis have traveled to Cuba in 1998, 2012 and 2015, respectively.
Regarding religious freedom on the island, García Ibáñez stated that “there is an opening in the sense that there is a greater understanding of religion, and the people can express their faith.”
“We are working with the state because after 50 years in which the population has grown we can have the spaces for worship that we need,” said the archbishop, who also expressed his hope that the process will continue.
However, he has pointed out that “there are no parish houses with their pastoral structures, but nevertheless the Church lives.”
The meeting this Thursday was also attended by the archbishop emeritus of Havana, Jaime Ortega Alamino, the current archbishop of the island’s capital, Juan de la Caridad García Rodríguez and the president of the Cuban Episcopal Conference and archbishop of Camagüey, Wilfredo Pino Estévez.
The trip of the Cuban ecclesiastics had as itsm ain objective the Ad Límina Apostolorum (‘to the threshold of the Apostles’) visit to the tomb of the apostles Peter and Paul.
During their visit to the Vatican, the prelates wrote an epistle addressed to the faithful of the island, in which they explained that the visit “is a clear and public manifestation of the communion between all the bishops of the world and the bishop of Rome, and an effective means to reaffirm that communion.”