(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday met with former Cuban president Fidel Castro, shortly after celebrating Mass in Havana's Plaza de la Revolución. The 30-40 minute meeting took place in Fidel Castro's home, with his wife, children, and grandchildren also present at the encounter.
Pope Francis gave Castro several books, including one by Italian priest Alessandro Pronzato and another by Spanish Jesuit Segundo Llorentea. The Holy Father also gave him a book and two CDs of his homilies, as well as his two encyclical letters, Lumen Fidei and Laudato si'.
In return, Castro gave Pope Francis an interview book entitled, "Fidel and Religion," written in 1985 by Brazilian priest Frei Betto. The dedication reads: "For Pope Francis, on occasion of his visit to Cuba, with the admiration and respect of the Cuban people."
The head of the Vatican Press Office, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, said the meeting was "familiar and informal," and the two men spoke about "protecting the environment and the great problems of the contemporary world."
Father Lombardi compared the private encounter to that which took place with Pope Benedict XVI in 2012, saying Fidel Castro asked Pope Benedict many questions, while Sunday's meeting with Pope Francis was "more of a conversation."
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