Vatican Official Meets With Cuban President Castro

Emphasizes Cooperation of Church and State

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HAVANA, Cuba, JUNE 21, 2010 ( A top official from the Vatican Secretariat of State ended his six-day visit to Cuba Sunday in a meeting with President Raúl Castro.

Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for relations with states, began his visit on June 15, marking the 75th anniversary of the establishment of relations between the Holy See and Cuba.
During the Sunday afternoon meeting with Castro, the officials highlighted the celebration of this anniversary.

The prelate and the president also spoke about other topics of the international scene, which were not specified to the public, reported the Cuban agency Prensa Latina.

Also present at the meeting was the apostolic nuncio in Cuba, Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu, and the Cuban foreign relations minister, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla.
During the meeting, Archbishop Mamberti thanked the government and Catholic Church in Cuba for their warm welcome, reported the National Information Agency.
Afterward, the prelate went to José Martí International Airport, outside Havana, where he was seen off by Rodríguez.

Social commitment
During the archbishop’s visit, he took part in the Church’s 10th Social Week, which focused on “The Laicism of the State: Some Considerations.”

He presided over a Eucharistic celebration in the cathedral of Havana on Thursday, during which he encouraged the Church’s commitment in the Cuban social field, in particular, “support of the most underprivileged, care of the elderly and spiritual and medical care.”
The prelate also evaluated the 75 uninterrupted years of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Cuba, recalling that “the political community and the Church are independent and autonomous, each in its own terrain.”

“Both, however, though by different titles, are at the service of man’s personal and social vocation,” he added.
“This service will be carried out with that much more efficacy, for the good of all, the more healthy and better the cooperation is between them, taking into account the circumstances of place and time,” the archbishop pointed out.
“Hence,” he said, “it is obvious that diplomatic relations between the Holy See and a state are a privileged instrument so that this cooperation is possible in an orderly and fluid way, is maintained to the highest possible level, progresses and is able to address the manifold problems that, always new, arise every day in our societies.”
Archbishop Mamberti affirmed that “with the ups and downs proper to history, after 75 years, today we are here to celebrate the good that we have been able to attain together, convinced that we have yet much more to do.”
His visit was preceded by a particular project of mediation by the Church in Cuba, involving Cardinal Jaime Ortega, archbishop of Havana, who has attempted to improve the conditions of political prisoners.
During his stay in Cuba, Archbishop Mamberti said to journalists that he hopes his visit would strengthen the dialogue between the Church and Cuba, and added that the fruits of stronger relations “are already evident.”

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