Cuban Healing

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Was the pope trying to incite another overthrow of communism? "I wish for our brothers and sisters on that beautiful island that the fruits of this pilgrimage will be similar to the fruits of that pilgrimage in Poland," John Paul II said Wednesday, referring to his historic 1979 visit.

The pope made his remarks after returning to the Vatican Wednesday, and they were reported far and wide. But, says TIME religion correspondent Richard Ostling, "he wasn't giving marching orders to the flock to storm the palace gates. He was serving notice that the Church is determined to see more individual freedoms in Cuba, under Castro or, if necessary, under another government."

That said, the papal visit has already encouraged others to speak up. Ostling recalls a recent incident outside Havana in which a Cuban archbishop "unleashed this fiery, impassioned speech on political freedoms." With the pope behind him on the rostrum, the archbishop "really seemed emboldened to say what was on his heart," Ostling notes. "And when enough people stand up and do that, the political changes inevitably follow."