09/23/2015, 00.00
VATICAN -CUBA
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Pope: "Am I a communist? ... If you need me to recite the Creed, I will ...".

Francis responds to some questions from journalists during the flight from Cuba. Regarding the embargo he expresses the hope "that an agreement is reached that satisfies both parties." "The Cuban Church has been working to compile lists of prisoners to be granted pardon, and more than three thousand has been granted". Fidel Castro "We spoke about the encyclical, Laudato sì. He is very concerned about the environment."

Washington (AsiaNews) - What Pope Francis wrote and said regarding economic imperialism and generally on economic issues "is the social doctrine of the Church", as Francis himself said during a conversation with reporters on the flight from Cuba to Washington.

"The reason for thinking if one is communist or isn’t communist - he responded to a question - I’m sure that I haven't said anything more than what’s written in the social doctrine of the Church. On another flight, a colleague asked me if I had reached out a hand to the popular movements and asked me, “But is the Church going to follow you?” I told him, “I’m the one following the Church.” And in this it seems that I’m not wrong. I believe that I never said a thing that wasn’t the social doctrine of the Church. Things can be explained, possibly an explanation gave an impression of being a little “to the left”, but it would be an error of explanation. No, my doctrine on this, in Laudato si', on economic imperialism, all of this, is the social doctrine of the Church. And it if you need me to recite the Creed I will…"

The Pope, who said he was "happy to have visited Cuba" and explained that his decision to go to the Caribbean island came after the thaw between Washington and Havana announced December 17 last year. And, regarding an end to the US embargo on Cuba, Francis expressed the hope" that there will an agreement that satisfies both parties. With respect to the position of the Holy See regarding embargoes: previous Popes have spoken about this. Not just this one. There are other cases of embargoes. There is the social doctrine of the Church on embargoes. I’m speaking about that. It’s very precise, very just. And, about the Congress of the United States, the speech is finished so I can’t say; or better put, I’m thinking well about what I might say about it. Specifically on that theme, the theme of bilateral or multi-national agreements as signs of progress in co-existence".

Then the problem of Cuban dissidents. Responding to a question about why he did not meet the dissidents, the Pope said: "I did not hold any private audience, and also I was there as a head of state. The Cuban Church has been working to compile lists of prisoners to be granted pardon, and it was granted to more than three thousand. There are still other cases being studied, the president of the Bishops Conference told me. Someone told me it would be great to eliminate a life sentence! It's almost a hidden death penalty, you stand there dying every day without the hope of release. Another hypothesis is that you do general pardons every one or two years. But the Church is working and has worked ... I'm not saying that all of these three thousand were on the lists presented by the Church, no. But the Church has compiled lists, called for pardons and continues to do so. "

"In speeches I made in Cuba - he continued - In the speeches that I made in Cuba, I always put the accent on the social doctrine of the Church. But the things that must be corrected I said clearly, not “perfumed,” or soft". "Here in Cuba, the trip was very pastoral, with the Catholic community, with Christians and also with people of good will. My interventions were homilies. Even with young people, who were young believers and non-believers and believers of different religions were there, it was a speech of hope, encouragement of dialogue to seek those things that unite us. It was a more pastoral language. "

Finally with regards the meeting with Fidel Castro and the suffering of the Church in Cuba during the Castro regime, the Pope said that "repentance is a very intimate thing, a thing of conscience. We talked a lot on the encyclical, Laudato sì. He is very concerned about the environment. As for the past, we talked about the Jesuit college and how much they made one work".

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