Rome, Feb. 4, 2008 - Cuba's ambassador to the Holy See has said that relations between the island nation and the Vatican are now healthy and normal.
In an interview for the Italian Bishops Conference’s SIR news agency, Raul Roa Kouri, said: “John Paul II’s visit to the island corrected relations between the state of Cuba and the Catholic Church.”
Kouri remarked that positive effects of the visit include regular dialogue between the government and the Cuban bishops' conference and an increased number of consecrated religious working on the island. He made his comments just prior to a visit by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone (bio - news), the Vatican Secretary of State.
The Cuban bishops, who have been critical of government restraints on freedom of religion, have taken a different view of church-state affairs. The secretary of the Cuban bishops' conference, Msgr. José Felix Perez, alluded to one aspects of the government's restrictive policy by saying: "Cuban Catholics still feel the painful effects of exclusion from the media".