The Vatican has confirmed that Pope Francis is considering a visit to Cuba during his trip to the United States in September, but a final decision is yet to be made. Francis reportedly had written to leaders of the U.S. and Cuba, in a bit to restore relations between the two countries.
The Vatican also hosted delegations from both the countries for the final negotiations, the Associated Press (AP) reported. Francis “is considering the idea of a Cuba leg,” but discussions with the Cuban government are still at an early stage, a Vatican spokesman told AP, adding that it is too early to announce a final decision on the pontiff's Cuba visit.
According to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the possibility of the pope traveling to Cuba, the Holy See could visit Cuba either before or after his visit to the States, where he is expected to address a joint session of Congress and the United Nations. President Barack Obama is likely to host the pontiff at the White House, the Journal reported.
If the pope visits the island nation, he would be the third head of the Roman Catholic Church to travel to the country. Pope Benedict XVI visited Cuba in 2012 while Pope John Paul II travelled there in 1998.
“Cuban people needs to conquer its isolation and so John Paul II exhorts the Christian soul of Cuba…to open itself to the world and, at the same time, calls the world to draw near to Cuba,” the pope, then-Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio, had said, after the first papal visit to Cuba.