Cuba Permits Construction of New Catholic Church for First Time Since 1959

Cuba Permits Construction of New Catholic Church for First Time Since 1959

The Republic of Cuba will allow a Catholic church to be built in the Communist state reports The Christian Post. This is the first time since 1959 that Cuba has allowed a church to be built.

The Catholic church building will be built in Santiago de Cuba and will be funded privately partly be a parish in Tampa, Florida. Hurricane Sandy had wiped out an older church building where Cuban Catholics were meeting.

"Catholics have been hearing Mass in the street since Hurricane Sandy destroyed their previous church, a termite-eaten wooden structure with a leaking tin roof," said Katherine Backler, of The Tablet. "Part of the new church will be built from the steel beams of the stage on which Pope Benedict XVI said Mass when he visited Havana in 2012,” she added.

But critics are saying that the permit to build the new church is “a public relations scam” to help Raul Castro’s image.

"The Cuban government, it's mainly interested in attracting investors and [giving] the impression that the Cuban government, it's evolving into a less totalitarian experiment," said Pedro L. Rodriguez, executive director of the Miami Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba.

The Christian, particularly the Catholic population, is growing in Cuba.

"Over the last two decades, the Catholic Church has come to occupy a unique space within Cuban society and has developed a growing dialogue with the Cuban state," read an event description for “The Role of the Catholic Church in Cuba Today."

Publication date: August 12, 2014