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Fr Vincent Twomey I was a Sixties radical until I met the Pope


Tim Stanley How the US Right wooed Catholics


Melanie McDonagh Kids need more than feel-good catechesis


No. 6551

March 30 2012 £1.50 (Republic of Ireland €1.80)

Pope: faith can build a just society

Benedict XVI says Marxism is not the answer during historic six-day trip to Cuba and Mexico


POPE BENEDICT XVI has appealed to Cuba’s Catholics to deepen their faith so that they “may strive to build a renewed and open society, a better society, one more worthy of humanity”.

The Pope called for the reform of Cuban society during the first day of his visit to the Communist country as he celebrated Mass in Revolution Square, Santiago, in front of 200,000 people.

The Pope first spoke of the need for political change as he flew to Latin America last Friday, saying that it was now evident that Marxist ideology “no longer corresponds to reality”.

During Sunday morning Mass, with Cuban President Raúl Castro seated on the front row, Pope Benedict XVI paid tribute to the “effort, daring and selfsacrifice” of Cuban Catholics “in the concrete circumstances of your country and at this moment in history”.

Addressing the Communistic vision of a society without faith, Pope Benedict said: “When God is set aside, the world becomes an inhospitable place for man. Apart from God, we are alienated from ourselves and are hurled into the void.

“Obedience to God is what opens the doors of the world to the truth, to salvation. Redemption is always this process of the lifting up of the human will to full communion with the divine will.”

Speaking on the feast of the Assumption, Pope Benedict XVI spoke of the importance of human freedom demonstrated through Mary’s readiness to do God’s will.

He said: “Our God, coming into the world, wished to depend on the free consent of one of his creatures. It is touching to see how God not only respects human freedom. He almost seems to require it.”

Opposition movements in Cuba which are opposed to the Castro regime had hoped to use the Holy Father’s visit to draw attention to their plight.

Cuban authorities temporarily detained 70 members of the Ladies in White dissident group the weekend before Pope Benedict’s arrival in Latin America.

Apart from God, we are alienated from ourselves and hurled into

”the void

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The Damas de Blanco, formed nine years ago, usually attend Mass together every week before staging a protest march calling for the release of all political prisoners.

Despite several reports, Pope Benedict XVI did not meet dissident leaders.

The focus of the Pope’s visit to Cuba is the 400th anniversary of the El Cobre sanctuary of Our Lady of Charity, who is the patroness of Cuba.

Our Lady of Charity, also known as the Virgen Mambisa, was declared the patroness of Cuba by Pope Benedict XV in 1916 at the request of veterans of the Cuban War of Independence.

As he arrived in Cuba the Pope said: “Devotion to the Virgen Mambisa has sustained the faith and inspired the defence and promotion of all that gives dignity to the human condition and fundamental rights.”

He continued: “I carry in my heart the just aspirations and legitimate desires of all Cubans, wherever they may be, their sufferings and their joys, their concerns and their noblest desires,” he said.

Prior to his arrival in Cuba the Pope also spent four very successful days in Mexico during which he said he had “never been welcomed with such enthusiasm” on a foreign trip.

During his challenging visit the Pope also encouraged Mexican Catholics to reform their troubled country. Drug trafficking is a major concern for Mexico and according to recent statistics 15 per cent of Mexicans reported having been a victim of crime in 2012.

During Mass in Silao, in the state of Guanajuato in Mexico, the Pope told Mexican Catholics to ask Mary to intercede for them, in bringing about a “more just and fraternal society”.

“When addressing the deeper dimension of personal and community life, human strategies will not suffice to save us,” the Pope said in his homily during the outdoor Mass at Guanajuato Bicentennial Park on Sunday.

“We must have recourse to the one who alone can give life in its fullness, because he is the essence of life and its author.” Reports: Page 4-5 Editorial comment: Page 13

The Popemobile passes a billboard picture of Fidel Castro in the city of Santiago de Cuba AP

‘I carry your aspirations in my heart’


I COME to Cuba as a pilgrim of charity, to confirm my brothers and sisters in the faith and strengthen them in the hope which is born of the presence of God’s love in our lives. I carry in my heart the just aspirations and legitimate desires of all Cubans, wherever they may be, their sufferings and their joys, their concerns and their noblest desires, those of the young and the elderly, of adolescents and children, of the sick and workers, of prisoners and their families, and of the poor and those in need.

Many parts of the world today are experiencing a time of particular economic difficulty, that not a few people regard as part of a profound spiritual and moral crisis which has left humanity devoid of values and defenceless before the ambition and selfishness of certain powers which take little account of the true good of individuals and families. We can no longer continue in the same cultural and moral direction which has caused the painful situation that many suffer. On the other hand, real progress calls for an ethics which focuses on the human person and takes account of the most profound human needs, especially man’s spiritual and religious dimension. In the hearts and minds of many, the way is thus opening to an ever greater certainty that the rebirth of society demands upright men and women of firm moral convictions, with noble and strong values who will not be manipulated by dubious interests and who are respectful of the unchanging and transcendent nature of the human person. From the Pope’s address at the welcoming ceremony at Antonio Maceo International Airport, Santiago de Cuba

Student union backs down over attempt to stifle abortion debate BY SIMON CALDWELL

A STUDENT rebellion has crushed an attempt to ban free discussion of abortion at a leading British university.

The student union at the University College London abandoned its plans to impose pro-abortion speakers on students’ groups if they ever tried to arrange a talk by a speaker critical of terminations.

The climbdown was forced by a coalition of students who objected to what they considered to be an attack on free speech.

Union trustees accepted advice from their own lawyers that the students were right to claim that the move to curtail free speech was “completely illegal”.

The students had claimed that the resolution had breached Section 43 of the 1986 Education Act which protects freedom of expression in universities and had threatened the union with a legal challenge. Trustees were also told that proposals to affiliate and donate to the political Abortion Rights campaign were also against the charity laws that govern students’ unions.

Their decision to drop the pro-abortion resolutions could have repercussions in students’ unions across Britain that already give money to Abortion Rights, including those of Oxford, Leeds and Goldsmith College, which is part of the University of

London. The row erupted after the UCL Catholic Society invited Lord Alton of Liverpool, the former Lib Dem MP, to give a talk about the right to life last October.

The student union passed a motion stating: “Any future open events focusing on the issue of termination invite an anti-choice speaker and a prochoice speaker as well as an independent chair, to ensure there is a balance to the argument.”

Continued on Page 2

Westminster clergy given new vestments BY MADELEINE TEAHAN

PRIESTS in Westminster will receive new vestments for the first time in 30 years next week.

The design of the new vestments has been uniquely created for the diocese and reflects key colours and geometrical patterns of Westminster Cathedral.

The new garments will be debuted at the annual Chrism Mass where 350 priests and deacons of the diocese will gather in Westminster Cathedral to renew their priestly promises.

Fr Slawomir Witon, one of the leaders of the design project,said patterns used reflected the first five books of the Old Testament, the unity of the archbishop and the clergy and the wounds of Christ.

Ex-diary columnist elected Oratory head BY ED WEST

FR JULIAN LARGE has been elected provost of the London Oratory.

The traditionalist priest replaces Fr Ignatius Harrison in the role, with Fr George Bowen elected vice-provost.

Elections at the London church, which was built in the 1870s and run by the Oratory of St Philip Neri community, take place every three years and the results are announced on the feast of the Annunciation.

Fr Large, 42, is a former diary columnist for the Daily Telegraph, and a convert from Anglicanism.

Raised in Merseyside, Fr Large studied at Mansfield College, Oxford, where he ran the university architectural society.


John Hinton The most hard-working people in Europe PAGE 12

Mgr Phelim Rowland The Falklands priest who chased away a bishop PAGE 7

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