George Conger reports stories in the Italian press that Fidel Castro, the communist dictator of Cuba, may have “rediscovered Jesus” and will be reconciled with the church from which he was excommunicated:
Fidel Castro will be received back into the communion of the Roman Catholic Church during Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the island in March, the Italian press is reporting. If true, this is a remarkable story — and one that has yet to catch the attention of editors this side of the Atlantic.
On 1 Feb 2012, La Republicca — [Italy’s second largest circulation daily newspaper, La Republicca follows a center-left political line and is strongly anti-clerical; not anti-Catholic per se but a critic of the institutional church] — reported that as death approaches, the octogenarian communist has turned to God for solace.
ABC’s Global Note news blog is the only U.S. general interest publication I have found that has reported this story. It referenced the La Republicca story and said that Castro’s daughter Alina is quoted as saying “During this last period, Fidel has come closer to religion: he has rediscovered Jesus at the end of his life. It doesn’t surprise me because dad was raised by Jesuits.” The article quotes an unidentified high prelate in the Vatican who is working on the Pope’s Cuba trip: “Fidel is at the end of his strength. Nearly at the end of his life. His exhortations in the party paper Granma, are increasingly less frequent. We know that in this last period he has come closer to religion and God.”
If this turns out to be true, it would be arguably a greater miracle than the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union: the collapse of communism in the heart of one of its most bloodthirsty adherents. It would also be one of the most dramatic conversions of an atheist in recent memory. The man put untold numbers of Christians in front of firing squads. How amazing is a grace that would accept him, forgive him, and accept him as one of those Christians as he faced his own death.