Cuban cardinal: Pope's visit aims to revive religious passion
Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican in February.
March 14th, 2012
08:04 AM ET

Cuban cardinal: Pope's visit aims to revive religious passion

By Patrick Oppmann, CNN

Havana (CNN) - In a rare speech on state-controlled television, Cuba's Catholic cardinal said an upcoming visit by the pope would reignite the religious fervor in the island.

Cardinal Jaime Ortega y Alamino, the Archbishop of Havana, told viewers that Pope Benedict was visiting the island to "revive a sleeping faith, a somewhat erased faith."

"The pope is determined to revive the faith of Christian countries that need to be re-evangelized," Ortega said.

Pope Benedict is scheduled to arrive in Cuba on March 26 for a three-day visit that includes celebrating Mass in Havana's Revolution Square.

The trip follows Pope John Paul II's landmark visit to the island in 1998 that improved relations between the Catholic Church and Cuba's communist government.

Following Fidel Castro's 1959 Revolution, the Catholic church suffered property seizures and the expulsion of priests by a government that was officially atheist.

In the 30 minute speech, Ortega explained the pope's role as leader of the church and said Benedict had discussed his desire to visit Cuba since his rise to the papacy in 2005.

"He is the guardian of the truth," Ortega said. "Humans need to seek the truth and he defends seekers of the truth."

"We can arrive at absolutism or a truly totalitarian or tyrannical regime," Ortega said, "When someone believes they possess the one and only truth. That's not what the pope proposes regarding the truth. Those excesses can't be accepted."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Church and state • Pope Benedict XVI

soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer really changes things

    March 16, 2012 at 6:48 am |
    • Jesus

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!!! .........

      March 16, 2012 at 10:27 am |
  2. Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
    Prayer has been shown to have no discernible effect towards what was prayed for.
    Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
    Prayer makes you fat.
    Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
    Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
    Prayer fucks up your knees and your neck and your back.
    Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
    Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
    Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
    Prayer makes you think doilies are exciting.
    Prayer makes you secretively flatulent and embarrassed about it.
    Prayer makes your kids avoid spending time with you.
    Prayer gives you knobbly knees.
    Prayer makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just google him to find out.
    Prayer dulls your senses.
    Prayer makes you post really stupid shit.
    Prayer makes you hoard cats.
    Prayer makes you smell like shitty kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
    Prayer wastes time.

    March 15, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • John

      I pray that you will be able to see one day

      March 23, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
  3. Bootyfunk

    how many people have popes killed in 3rd world countries by telling them not to wear condoms? that condoms are sinful, evil and against God? how many impoverished people have contracted HIV/AIDs because of christian dogma? the pope a force for good? i'd say he's killed more people with his dangerous advice on contraception than many despots. ignorance is not bliss. but religion is ignorance.

    March 15, 2012 at 7:08 am |
  4. Bootyfunk

    "Luke, give in to your hatred..."

    March 15, 2012 at 7:02 am |
  5. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    March 14, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      better to actually go out and make a difference in the world than imagine it happening.

      March 15, 2012 at 7:03 am |
    • Jesus

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!!!~ .....

      March 15, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things

      March 15, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Jesus

      "Prayer changes things,
      Proven ."

      You've been proven a LIAR over and over again on this blog.

      March 15, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • just sayin

      when you post prayer changes things, proven in your response you have said it all. The rest of your post is useless.

      March 16, 2012 at 6:50 am |
    • Jesus

      "when you post prayer changes things, proven in your response you have said it all. The rest of your post is useless."

      More lies on top of more lies.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:26 am |
  6. Raoul Duke

    Religion won't help Cuba at all. It was religious before, and all that resulted was corrupt dictatorships that the Church supported, with extreme divides between rich and poor which religion did not alleviate, and extreme injustice which religion did not fight.

    What will help Cuba? Getting rid of the Communists and replacing it with a freer and more just government. Economic development and fair wages. Religion plays no role in the things that really help.

    The Pope is just another form of Castro – someone telling you what to do and what to think, and giving you nothing of substance while he takes your money.

    March 14, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • William Demuth


      So you believe communisim caused their economic malaise?

      I guess the 50 year US boycott, and the sanctions had nothing to do with it?

      If Cuba stays communist, but embraces tourisim, gambiling, prost1tution and drugs, I am confident they shall do VERY well.

      March 14, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • Lew

      Getting in early means they have a better chance of recovering their properties. You know what the Catholic Church is like when it comes to property and revenue! Ever see a Priest, Bishop or Cardinal live in a humble house?

      March 14, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  7. J.W

    We should all sing praise to the greatest president ever Barack Obama. We should also praise the greatest god ever, God, and the greatest messiah ever, Jesus.

    March 14, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • turkey

      If God is the greatest god of all, who came in second?

      March 14, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • J.W


      March 14, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • William Demuth

      Zoroastor is the greatest God ever.

      I believe he is the oldest God that is stll currently worshiped. plus he had that CRANKING theme song from 2001.

      Anyone know of one who is still worshiped that is oldeer (and I don't care about some weird dude in your college, I mean with a significant following)

      March 14, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • Bob

      J.W, why is your god, your purportedly omnipotent creature, so vain and demanding of praise and adulation? (and that on top of demanding animal sacrifice and providing guidance to do torture and rape...)

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Be free of religion in 2012.

      March 14, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • hippypoet

      william – many of the hindu gods are far older and have a greater following. zoro dates to (at the very earliest – 1200 b.c. even thou i know its from 500 b.c.) 500-1200 b.c. while the main gods in the hindu myths are from 1500 – 5000 b.c. and those dates are supported by archaeological evidence.

      March 14, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • Charge Nurse Betty of the Paranoia Nut Ward

      There were lots of messiahs, not sure that one did any good.

      March 14, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
  8. Bob

    One thing the world needs much less of is religious fervour. Furthermore, the evil man in the expensive dress in the picture should be put in jail for his crimes of promoting the fraud and Ponzi scheme known as Catholicism, and for actively hiding child abusers.

    Ask the questions. Break the chains. Be free of religion in 2012.

    March 14, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • William Demuth


      I agree with most of your stuff, but I am curious about the amputee thing (Perhaps that hits home for you, but I shall ask anyhow)

      I don't get it. Shouldn't the question really be why does god permit amputations to happen rather tha why dosen't he cure them?

      If he didn't permit them he wouldn't have to cure them.

      March 14, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • Observer

      Bob was all about animal sacrifice a while back. Now it's amputees. I don't know if he takes requests.

      March 14, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Charge Nurse Betty of the Paranoia Nut Ward

      There's a special on goats this week.

      March 14, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  9. Boo-yah

    The problem with most religious people is that they feel theirs is the "ONE, true religion"... Catholics, Muslims, Jewish, Protestant, etc. Each believe faithfully and vehemently. So who is right? The answer is no one. Religion is a personal thing and right for each individual. Therefore, it should be kept as an individual thing and not a basis to make a government or laws.

    March 14, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • sam stone

      i agree. it seems to me that top down faith is false.

      March 14, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • Rheinlander

      A personal thing? You sound like an evangelical without the hallelujahs

      March 14, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  10. guest

    To Brad: I’ve tried, but can’t seem to make a post, I hope this works. Google ‘a prelude by martin luther page 536 chapter 3

    March 14, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • Brad


      I believe you are looking at The Babylonian Captivity of the Church :

      "Unless they will abolish their laws and ordinances, and restore to Christ’s churches their liberty and have it taught among them, they are guilty of all the souls that perish under this miserable captivity, and the papacy is truly the kingdom of Babylon and of the very Antichrist. For who is “the man of sin” and “the son of perdition” [II Thess. 2:3] but he who with his doctrines and his laws increases the sins and perdition of souls in the church, while sitting in the church as if he were God? [II Thess. 2:4]."

      I would like to say it more strongly than I did earlier: Luther's writings are not canon and much of what he said is not even current Lutheran doctrine.

      March 14, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • guest

      To Brad: How much have you studied what Paul was saying? Paul was saying that the “man of sin”, was the “anti-Christ”; it is really simple to understand. Pual may not have said the "pope" or "papacy", which did not exist at that time, was the anti-Christ, but that is what Martin Luther was saying, and he, I believe, was referring to II Thessalonians 2:3 – 4 and equating what Paul had written to the Pope. And consider this: has the papacy “abolished their laws a ordinances”, NO! I do not intend to be irate, but I believe there is a lot about the Papacy that fits the beast of Revelation 13 and the harlot of chapter 17.

      March 14, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • Charge Nurse Betty of the Paranoia Nut Ward

      There was a really interesting PBS special on Front Line last night, (actually a repeat..called Jesus to Christ, available on line), about the string of events, leading to the formation of the new religion, (Christianity). Seems James and Paul had quite the struggle for quite a long time, and for a long time Paul was loosing, and Peter was a nobody. James was the boss. Funny how history got re-written.

      March 14, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
  11. William Demuth

    Fidel Castro could earn an important place in history by arresting and trying the Pope for complicity in the abuse scandals.

    Just imagine Rick Santorum SCREAMING for war!!

    March 14, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • hippypoet

      i would back his move to arrest! that would be an awe inspiring sight to see the pope burn!

      March 14, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • Four Jumps to Insanity

      Ratzinger is in very poor health Did you see him at the recent consistory. They had to shorten it, and he can barely walk, any more. They "roll" him down the isle at St. Pete's. Someone, but probably not him, will end up in the ICC.

      March 14, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • JohnR

      Yeah, Castro is just the sort of guy you want as a buddy. Meanwhile, he's not in charge anymore.

      March 14, 2012 at 10:52 am |
  12. Doc Vestibule

    The Pope came around to my city around 10 years ago and it was a fustercluck of Catholics!
    They were all easily identified by their red "World Youth Day" backpacks and could be spotted in the bars, strip clubs, bathouses and massage parlours downtown where I lived.
    I must've been approached for drugs a dozen times by these Catholic kids.
    I don't think the Pope's visit revived any religious passion, but it sure gave the city's red light district a shot in the arm!

    March 14, 2012 at 9:35 am |
  13. sam stone

    Hide the little boys

    March 14, 2012 at 9:28 am |
  14. hippypoet

    cuban cardinal: pope's visit aims to revive religious p@ssion – gee...i wonder why one would need to be revived in the first place? perhaps its outdated and breeds racism and hatred thru the creation of a superiority complex! after that all you seem to be able to preform is projecting upon others your own failures acting as if they are accomplishments in you but failures in others! tisk tisk.... give up the religious ties and let go of you fears – its life, you only get one – enjoy it, don't live it for the next life that you don't even know exists! as the saying goes – life is short, the quicker you wake up from this fantasy the more life you have to live delusion free!

    March 14, 2012 at 9:24 am |
  15. JR

    Religious Fanatics all of them! Once we get rid of them the better; for the future of the Planet and its innocent people. Hatred is the thing that comes out of religion. Clearly, anyone who has study history and understands current societies around the world (right here in USA, also); if you do not understand – you must be living in a small hole in the ground.

    March 14, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • JohnR

      Anti-religious fanatics kinda suck too.

      March 14, 2012 at 9:32 am |
  16. jimtanker

    "Cuban cardinal: Pope's visit aims to revive religious passion"

    He needs to keep his "religious passion" in his pants and leave the little boys alone.

    March 14, 2012 at 9:05 am |
  17. Reality

    Only for the newbies:

    JC's family and friends had it right 2000 years ago ( Mark 3: 21 "And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.")

    Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic by most contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann's conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694.

    Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

    Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Most contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospel being mostly fiction.

    Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European popes/Utah white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

    So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher/magic man or pope would do or say?

    March 14, 2012 at 9:01 am |
  18. guest

    Guardian of the truth: whose truth? The lies of the papacy that mock the truth! Since Martin Luther, the Papacy has been taged as the anti-Christ.

    March 14, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • Brad

      I'm Lutheran and, though we believe the Papacy itself to be an error, we do not feel that individual Catholics, including the Pope, are anti-Christ. Luther himself did believe that the Papacy is the Antichrist. This belief was not elevated to doctrinal status.

      March 14, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • Four Jumps to Insanity

      The christ, the anti-christ, the Omen, Omen Two, are all myths, and mediocre movies. Why can't 21st Century humans write some new mythology, for their own day ?

      March 14, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • SPA Knight

      Four Jumps – Here's a new myth for our time...Obama – the new savior will bring Hope, Change, Peace around the world, turn the economy around, respect of America from terrorist states. Not sure this movie would play very well either.

      March 14, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And who authored that "myth", you dimwitted dweeb? Anybody with a working brain cell knows that a president has little if any control over the economy. And nowhere do I recall seeing anyone claim Obama would bring "peace around the world".

      Maybe you should join Keith on the stupid bench.

      March 15, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.