DAILY CATHOLIC for December 16
NEWS & VIEWS
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vol, 8
no. 53

VATICAN PLEASED CUBAN WILL REVIVE CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY
     VATICAN (CWN) -- The Vatican today is anticipating a welcome change in policy by the Cuban government: a decision to make Christmas a legal holiday, for the first time since 1969. While no official announcement to that effect has been made in Havana, sources at the Vatican have already proclaimed their "satisfaction and recognition" over the coming announcement.

      The December 13 edition of Juvendud Rebelde, a Communist Party publication in Cuba, reported that Fidel Castro had made the decision to reinstate the Christmas holiday in response to a request from Pope John Paul II. The publication said that Castro was making the gesture-- for one year only-- as a sign of welcome to the Pope, who will visit Cuba in January.

      According to Cardinal Jaime Ortega y Alamino of Havana, the Holy Father had asked Castro to restore the holiday during a private conversation in Rome last year.

      Christmas is widely celebrated in Cuba, but the government-- which still embraces an official ideology of atheism-- has made December 25 a normal day of work.

Acknowledgment:

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December 16, 1997       volume 8, no. 53
NEWS & VIEWS



December 1997