While visiting Mexico, Pope Benedict called on Cuba to seek "new models" since Marxism "no longer corresponds to reality." Cuba is the pontiff's second stop on his trip and his comments may cause some irritation among the island's communist leaders who have been in power for more than 50 years. Still, relations between the worldwide church and the Cuban government have appeared to be warming up after decades of repression of faith on the island.

Speaking on the jetliner on his way over the Atlantic to Mexico, the Pope said "Today it is evident that Marxist ideology in the way it was conceived no longer corresponds to reality." Speaking to some of the 70 reporters on his Alitalia flight, the Pope added "In this way we can no longer respond and build a society. New models must be found with patience and in a constructive way." He averred that he and the Church desire "to help in the spirit of dialogue to avoid trauma and to help bring about a just and fraternal society".

By 'trauma', the Pope may have been referring to the eventual transition in power when long-time national leader Fidel Castro passes into history. Currently, the octogenarian revolutionary has turned the reins of power to his brother Raul Castro who himself is now aged. No successor to the revolutionary brothers appears to be clearly designated.

The Pope himself, who completes his 85 year in April, shows unmistakable signs of aging. At the airport in Rome, the pontiff used a cane to steady himself forwalking 300 feet from a helicopter to his plane: the first time this has been observed. In 2011, he began using a wheeled platform during ceremonies in St Peter's Square.



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