Pope Francis makes an impact in communist country, Cuba

HAVANA, Cuba – If the hearty cheers were any indication, the so-called “Pope Francis Effect” is alive in Havana from kids offering flowers, to an estimated 200,000 who heard the pope’s mass in Revolution Square.

But Pope Francis did not only charm Cuba’s people, he also made an impact on its political leaders.

The Holy Father sat down for a meeting with former Cuban leader Fidel Castro and visited his brother, current president Raul Castro at the palace.  The president and his communist leaders also attended the pope’s Sunday mass.  Castro said the Holy Father’s presence has inspired him to join the Catholic church.

But the pope did not comment on the issue of political freedom in Cuba. Instead, he told the people not to worship ideologies, but follow a path of service.

Theologian Bill Ditewig pointed out, “Who will want to be great will serve the others, not to serve himself from the others.”

Pope Francis has played a role in restoring diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States, a road to ending global conflicts that was paved by previous pontiffs.

“Pope John 23rd mediated between President Kennedy and Premier Kruschev during the Cuban missile crisis. Ever since then, people have been trying to makes things better then. Fifty years ago almost to the day, Pope Paul 6th spoke to the UN about peace and that we should never again have war. A very dramatic moment at the height of the cold war,” said Ditewig.

It will be no surprise if Pope Francis brings up his talk with the Cuban leaders when he comes to visit U.S. President Barack Obama this week.

But Ditewig said the Holy Father’s smaller, more intimate events are just as significant — is not more.

“He’s also visiting hospitals, prison, slum areas and people in need, not just politician and big name folks. And his message is clear that our task is to take care of everyone,” said Ditewig.

Theologians observed it in the Philippines – “The Pope Francis Effect” – where more people reached out to the poor, after the pope’s visit.

Ditewig explained, “Just talking to parishioners. I feel such positive reaction to him I love this man. I’ve had family members who’ve been away from church and now they’re back – his smile his positive attitude it’s having an effect.”

They’re hoping that the “Pope Francis Effect” will also move Americans towards a spirit of service when comes to visit.

You may contact Paul Henson at paul_henson@abs-cbn.com for more information.

3 Comments on this post.

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  • Mario
    22 September 2015 at 3:59 pm - Reply

    Islam hates radical Muslim, Catholics hates radical Catholics, we have a radical Pope,some of the Vatican conservative Cardinals are uprising against this Pope. Google “JORGE MARIO BERGOLIO” the real name of Pope Francis, he was born NOT A DIVINER, he was a bouncer before he became a Priest.The first none European Pope from Argentina, elected by the One world Order computer, in order to continue preaching Global Warming, re-distibution of Wealth and all of the leftist ideas. He will convince Obama to get more refugees from Central America and Syria.

    • Enigma
      24 September 2015 at 10:46 am - Reply

      It seems this one has strayed from religion to get the Catholic church involved with total scams and radical POS. To me,I was raised Catholic, this Pope and I respect the position, seems to have brought that position down to the point of NO respect the same as obozo has done to the Presidency of the United States of America.

      This pope, any pope, has no moral position to instruct anybody. Presiding over a vast cadre of pedophile priesthood, homosexual and adulterous clergy much of which is caused by the doctrine of celibacy. This cult second only in size to Islam has a history of Apostate behavior.

      I see no value in anything these men have to say.

  • filam
    25 September 2015 at 8:11 pm - Reply

    Cuba and Fidel Castro are the worst human rights abusers