Richard Gott—The Pope has work to do selling Catholicism in Cuba’s busy marketplace

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Cuba remains an island where the Roman Catholic church has a weak and insubstantial hold. Afro-Cuban religions – Santería, Palo Monte and Abakuá – come top of the popularity contest among the great mass of the people, followed almost certainly by a variety of Protestants sects imported from the United States over a century ago.

The Roman Catholic church, an almost exclusively urban phenomenon run by Spanish priests over most of its existence, comes a poor third, although the pope will certainly be welcomed by large crowds, always happy to witness a great state-spectacle. He will visit the ugly shrine at El Cobre, outside Santiago de Cuba, of the Virgin of Charity, a saintly national heroine variously endorsed over time by Indians, blacks and whites, and celebrated by both Catholics and Afro-Cuban enthusiasts.

The real challenge facing the Roman Catholic church, both in Cuba and in the rest of Latin America, is the tremendous growth in recent decades of evangelical Protestantism.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryCaribbeanCuba* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

Posted March 26, 2012 at 6:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Terry Tee wrote:

Ooh let’s see, the Catholic Church is weak and insubtantial, its clergy are foreign, its shrine ugly, evangelicals are growing in number etc ... goodness surely this writer could not be biased?  And surely this writer could not have a Marxist past?  And even been known to lunch with the KGB and take money from them?  (funny how he sees the Catholic Church in decline but did not seem to see the Soviets going south ... hmm ... )

March 27, 7:58 am | [comment link]
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