DAILY CATHOLIC     WEDNESDAY     June 3, 1998     vol. 9, no. 107

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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CUBAN BISHOPS DECRY CAPITALISM, SOCIALISM, EMBARGO AND MIAMI ARCHBISHOP SAYS CUBANS RETURNING TO CHURCH

          MIAMI (CWNews.com) - The Archbishop of Miami said on Friday that Cubans are flocking back to the Church following Pope John Paul II's historic visit to the Communist country in January.

          "The bishops tell me that every Sunday they are noting more and more people coming back to church," Archbishop John Favalora said after returning from a pastoral visit to Cuba. He said the papal visit filled Cubans with optimism and enthusiasm, and continuing good relations between the Church and the officially atheist government increases that enthusiasm. "From what I could tell there was a very cordial relationship between church and state which continues to build," he said.

          "The Church already has a great deal of space and it is growing," he added. "It is preaching the gospel, spreading the message, and helping the people. I got no impression from anyone there was any intimidation not to go to church." Archbishop Favalora visited Cuba last week to show support for the Church in that country. A charter plane loaded with medical supplies was also expected to fly from Fort Lauderdale to Havana on Tuesday after being held up by various delays, said Bishop Thomas Wenski, head of Miami's Catholic Charities.

          On the subject of Cuba, in a new pastoral letter, the bishops of Cuba strongly uphold Catholic social doctrine as an alternative to both capitalism and collectivism. The bishops also call for an end to the isolation imposed upon their country by the US embargo.

          On the eve of a trip to Rome, during which they visit with Pope John Paul to discuss the progress that has been made in Cuba since his January visit there, the bishops released a pastoral letter, dated on Pentecost Sunday. The letter emphasizes that Catholic social teaching is different from both collectivism (which the bishops classify as "virtually obsolete") and "neo-liberal capitalism." In contrast to the ideologies of "domination of some by others" the bishops propose a social and economic system built on solidarity.

          The bishops also echo the Pope's call for the world to open itself to Cuba, ending the embargo which has been imposed by the United States. That embargo is "ethically unacceptable," the bishops say.


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June 3, 1998       volume 9, no. 107
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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