Follow usTwitterFacebook


18 May 2016 Vatican No comments

Italian cardinal who worked with six popes dies aged 90

Globe-trotting Cardinal Coppa was a Latin expert at the Second Vatican Council Cardinal Giovanni Coppa, an expert Latinist and former nuncio, has died aged 90.…

Read more

07 Jun 2016 Americas Asia-Pacific Australia News USA Vatican No comments

Resist pressure to ignore human trafficking, Pope tells judges

Pope Francis has urged prosecutors and judges to step up the fight against human trafficking and resist threats and pressures to close their eyes to injustice. …

Read more

29 Jul 2016 Americas Asia-Pacific Europe News United Kingdom USA Vatican No comments

Pope Francis to pray at John Paul II's tomb with kids who have cancer

Before taking off for WYD in Krakow, Pope Francis will pray at the tomb of St. John Paul II alongside children who have cancer, and will bring their prayers to …

Read more

18 Sep 2015 Americas News No comments

Pope Francis will arrive to Cuba as a 'missionary of mercy'

On the eve of his arrival to Cuba Pope Francis sent a video message to the small island nation, expressing his desire to be a witness of God’s mercy in the coun…

Read more

02 Mar 2016 Europe News No comments

Archbishop of Westminster officially announces new shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary

Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, Cardinal Vincent Nichols has officially announced a new dioces…

Read more

21 Feb 2015 Articles Comments (1)

The Care and Feeding of Poor Souls

A man died on the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, this past Sunday. He was a priest, theologian, and author, well-known in Catholic circles for writi…

Read more

26 Apr 2016 Articles No comments

Did Peter Have a Wife?

Apparently so, since he had a mother-in-law. Customarily the two go together. Sometimes they even remain together, both staying in a fellow’s home. This h…

Read more

03 Jun 2015 Articles Q&A No comments

What is the Church’s teaching on capital punishment?

Response: The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human…

Read more

08 Oct 2014 Articles Comments (10)

How NOT to receive Jesus in the Eucharist

This was originally written for our Facebook followers a day to Christmas (2013), hence the " receiving Jesus tomorrow" I am sure you have prepared yourself to…

Read more
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Cuba releasing 3,522 prisoners before pope’s visit

Cuba announced Friday that it is releasing 3,522 prisoners ahead of next week’s visit by Pope Francis, the third time Cuba has granted inmates freedom before a papal trip.

The Council of State announced in state media Friday that the prisoners to be freed include a mix of women, people younger than 20, inmates suffering from illnesses, and people whose terms were coming to an end next year.

The government won’t release people convicted of serious crimes like murder, child sexual abuse, or violations of state security. The final category is often applied to people considered political prisoners by Cuban and international human rights groups.

Also excluded from pardon were those convicted of illegally killing government cattle, a crime that often bears heavy punishment in Cuba, which suffers from widespread shortages of milk and meat, particularly beef.

The government says the group includes some foreigners whose home countries have agreed to repatriate them.

A Vatican spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment but Cuba’s Conference of Catholic Bishops expressed “profound satisfaction” with the decision.

Cardinal Jaime Ortega, the archbishop of Havana, said in an interview on Cuban television last week that he had given the government a list of prisoners for possible pardon ahead of the pope’s Sept. 19-22 visit ahead of a trip to the United States. He said many were being held for economic crimes such as corruption or stealing resources from the state, both widespread problems in a country where most workers hold state jobs bringing in between $20 and $30 a month.

The names of the prisoners were published in an order signed by President Raul Castro in the country’s government gazette. The order described the pardons as a “humane and sovereign act.” State media said Friday morning that the prisoners would be released over the following 72 hours.

Former President Fidel Castro released more than 3,000 prisoners described as “counterrevolutionaries” in 1978 and 1979. His brother and successor released 53 this year as part of the declaration of detente with the United States. Rights groups say about 70 political prisoners remain in the country.

Despite the apparent exclusion of political prisoners from Friday’s pardon, the non-governmental Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, a moderate opposition group that monitors the treatment of dissidents in Cuba, expressed satisfaction with the announcement.

“We’re happy because of what it means for the families and because conditions in Cuban prisons are not good,” said commission member Gerardo Sanchez.

State media said in 2012 that Cuba had 57,337 prisoners, although more than 25,000 enjoy some freedoms such as house arrest.

Raul Castro released more than 2,900 prisoners in March 2012 before the visit of Pope Benedict. Fidel Castro released about 300 when Pope John Paul II visited in 1998.


Leave a Reply

  1. most read post
  2. Most Commented
  3. Choose Categories