DAILY CATHOLIC     THURSDAY     December 3, 1998     vol. 9, no. 235

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO

HOLY SEE WELCOMES CUBAN RECOGNITION OF CHRISTMAS

          VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- The Vatican welcomed the news that Christmas will once again be celebrated as a holiday in Cuba on a permanent basis.

          The Cuban government yesterday announced the re-establishment of the Christmas holiday. Last year the Christmas holiday was observed as a goodwill gesture, just prior to the January 1998 visit by Pope John Paul II. Before that, no Christmas celebrations had been allowed in Cuba since 1969.

          In an official response to the Cuban decision, papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said that the Holy See had received the news "with satisfaction." He added that the official recognition of Christmas was "a response to a precise desire of the people and the Cuban Church, and I think it will not pass unnoticed by the international community."

          The Cuban government, for its part, issued a statement claiming that the suspension of Christmas observances in 1970 "was not motivated by anti-religious sentiments, but solely by the economic necessities" of the island, which made it essential to keep businesses open in order to maintain adequate productivity.

          In another positive gesture, the Cuban government yesterday announced the release of Jesus Chamber Ramirez, a political dissident who had spent the last six years in prison, often in solitary confinement. His name was on a list of prisoners for whom Pope John Paul had sought clemency last year.


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December 3, 1998       volume 9, no. 235
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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