Stephen Schneck , associate professor of politics and director of the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies, was quoted in a USA Today story on the role Pope Francis played in opening relations between the U.S. and Cuba. See below.

Pope Francis played key role in U.S.-Cuba deal

From: USA Today Date: Dec. 17, 2014 Author: Oren Dorrell and Gregory Korte

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Before he was Pope Francis, the Argentinian served as Bishop of Buenos Aires, where he was a prominent member of the Episcopal Conferences of Latin America. That group, along with the Vatican and U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has long advocated for normalized relations between the United States and Cuba.

Their rationale "stems from the Vatican's long-standing desire to overcome conflictual divisions between nations," said Stephen Schneck, who works at the Catholic University of America. "It's very much part of the pope's own understanding of proper foreign relations."

In addition, the Latin American bishops believe residents in the hemisphere should be doing business with each other and getting along, Schneck said.

"(They've) seen this split between the United States and Cuba as a kind of split among American brothers," he said.

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