Two Previous Papal Visits
Pope Francis arrives in Cuba at a time of renewed hopes because of the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and United States. That the Pope played a key role in helping make this happen will not be lost on anyone in Cuba.
In 1998, Saint John Paul II said that Cuba should open itself to the world and that the world should open itself to Cuba.
Now, Pope Francis is flying to the U.S. – not directly from Rome but from Cuba. The Pope likes to make symbolic gestures – he carries his own bag, for example. His flight into Washington, D.C. from Havana is also very symbolic. As he told priests at an ordination a couple of years ago, priests are to build bridges not walls. He is building a bridge. And this bridge not only spans the distance between Cuba and the US, but – I think – is meant also to span the distance between the U.S. and Latin America. This is the distance between the most developed part of the world with those parts, in many cases, that are the least developed. Continue reading