- A Serene Benedict XVI Prepares Mexico-Cuba Trip "With just over a week left before Benedict XVI begins his March 23-29 apostolic journey to Cuba and Mexico, the Holy Father is preparing in serenity with prayer and study." (Zenit 3/15/12)
- In Mexico and Cuba, papal trip to highlight local and regional issues, by Francis M. Rocca. (Catholic News Service, 3/9/12).
- Pope will visit violence-wracked Mexico for public Mass; Benedict expected to draw a million, by Dudley Althaus, and Kate Shellnutt. "Pope Benedict XVI arrives in Mexico's Catholic heartland Friday before heading on to Cuba for nearly a week of religious celebration and messaging that, for some, also will be fraught with political significance." (Houston Chronicle 3/18/12)
- Inside Mexico's Preparations for the Pope, Millions of Visitors (Fox News Latino, 3/16/12)
- Benedict XVI's Message for Mexico and Her Priests - ZENIT spoke with three of the priests: Father Armando Flores Navarro of the dioceses of Zamora in Michoacán and present rector of the College; as well as with Father Javier Yael Cebada of the diocese of Orizaba in Veracruz, and Father Emmanuel Leal Montes of the diocese of La Paz in Baja California.
- Over 5,000 Police to Be Deployed During Pope’s Visit to Mexico (Latin American Herald Tribune 3/14/12)
- Catholic Church has a score to settle with Mexico over cardinal's murder, by Andrés Beltramo Álvarez (La Stampa "Vatican Insider" 3/14/12):
The Catholic Church has a score to settle with Mexico: the country must explain the violent death of Archbishop of Guadalajara Juan Jesus Posadas Ocampo, killed by a group of assassins on 24 May 1993 in the Guadalajara airport. A cardinal himself, Robles Ortega has asked for clarification on the murder, but has been very careful not to become too involved.
- Artists Record Song for Pope’s Visit to Mexico (Latin American Herald Tribune 3/12/12)
- The Land the Pope Will Visit: a Peek at Mexico (Zenit, 3/12/12).
- Cuba offers paid time off for workers to see pope (Associated Press 3/17/12)
- The deadly diplomat: Pope gifts Cuba his favourite crocodile ahead of visit, by Nick Pisa (Daily Mail 3/16/12):
Animal lover Pope Benedict XVI has sent a special gift to the people of Cuba ahead of his visit there later this month - one of their missing crocodiles.
The rare 60cm creature was seized by wildlife experts in Italy after it was smuggled out of the Communist island by a tourist and was being kept in a plastic bath in his kitchen.
Benedictus, as the crocodile was christened, was then presented to cat-lover Pope Benedict - who decided it would be an ideal gift for Cuba ahead of his three-day trip.
- Ahead of pope’s trip, the Vatican says U.S. Cuba embargo is useless, by Philip Pullella (Reuters' "Faithworld" 3/16/12)
- Pope Might Recognize Cuban Priest's Heroic Virtue During Trip (Zenit 3/14/12):
Father Felix Varela, a Cuban priest and patriot has been recognized as fulfilling the conditions for receiving the title "venerable" and there's a possibility Benedict XVI will bestow the honor while he visit Cuba from March 26 to 29.
- Cuba: Is it time for faith after Fidel?, by Giacomo Galeazzi (La Stampa "Vatican Insider" 3/12/12):
Jesus after Fidel. As it awaits the fruits of Benedict XVI’s visit to the island, the Cuban Episcopate (led by papal diplomats) is busy preparing for the scenario of a “post-Castro” Cuba, with programme based on “faith and reconstruction.” The Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu, Substitute for General Affairs to the Secretary of State, is personally supervising diplomatic and pastoral work being carried out on the Caribbean island.
- Cuban-born bishop leads US Catholics on pilgrimage to see pope , by Tom Tracy. (Catholic News Service, 3/7/12)>
- Santeria vs The Pope, by Marco Tosatti, Rome (La Stampa "Vatican Insider" 3/6/12):
Leaders of the Santeria sect, a syncretic religion of African and Caribbean origin influenced by Roman Catholicism are not particularly hot on the idea of Benedict XVI’s visit to Cuba, because as John Paul II said on the first ever papal visit made to the island, the Pope will not receive them. According to some, Santeria is the most widespread religious practice in Cuba.
- Cuban Bishops Preparing Warm Papal Welcome, Propose Three Days of Prayer and Mission In a message to all Cubans, the bishops of Cuba invite them "to receive the Holy Father Benedict XVI with affection and enthusiasm as one who comes in the name of the Lord." (Zenit 3/1/12)
- Cuban church has become more public in a rapidly changing culture, by Patricia Zapor (Catholic News Service 2/29/12):
Since Pope John Paul II's visit in 1998, the church is more unified, more public, more likely to work with the government in accomplishing specific goals, more involved in providing assistance to the Cuban people, more comfortable in its place in society. Its bishops, priests and laypeople, while still wary of pushing official tolerance too far, are more confident in teaching the faith in a way they believe can help shape the future of all of Cuba.
Above all, it is more hopeful.