Chad Pecknold , associate professor of theology, was interviewed by Aleteia on the Pope's role in normalizing US-Cuba relations. See below.He was also interviewed by WCBS radio in New York on the topic.

The Church's Long-Standing Interest in Normalizing US-Cuba Relations

From: Aleteia Date: Dec. 18, 2014 Author: John Burger

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This has been a long-term concern of the Holy See, pursued both by Popes St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI," Pecknold said. "When JP2 visited Cuba in 1998 people expected him to denounce Communism. But he was friendly with [Fidel] Castro, and the result was that Castro restored Christmas as a national holiday. Similarly, when B16 visited in 2012, he went out of his way to be supportive of Castro, and some even speculated that Benedict was receiving Castro back into the Catholic (after Castro had been excommunicated in 1962). So it's no surprise that Francis would continue the conversation."

Pecknold added that Pope Francis wrote to Obama and Raul Castro over the summer in an attempt to open up a direct dialogue. "Secret meetings were held in Canada, and the Holy See also received delegations from both countries at the Vatican this past fall. We also know that Archbishop Kurtz met with Obama privately yesterday, and now it seems likely that their meeting was connected to the announcement today of a reset on Cuban-American relations."

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