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Some information on religion and state policy on religion in Cuba

Cuba is a country in Central America with a population of about 11 million people. There are various forms of religion in Cuba, including Catholicism, Protestant Sects, Orthodox, Islam, Anglicanism, Judaism, Buddhism, Baha’i African religious beliefs. 

There is no authoritative statistic number of religious groups. There’s an estimate that 60 to 70 percent of the population is Catholic. Currently, the Cuban Catholic Church has three archdioceses, 11 dioceses, 01 Cardinal, 15 Bishops with one Bishop coming from Spain.

Followers of Protestant sects account for about 5% of the population. Baptist denomination is said to be the largest Protestant group in the country. Other Protestant denominations include Quaker, Pentecostal, and Jehovah’ Witnesses, Assemblies of God, Methodist, Seventh-day Adventists, Presbyterians… Amongst Protestant sects practiced in Cuba, 55 denominations have registered with the State. Christian denominations formed an alliance, called the Council of Churches, for collaboration in religious and social activities, including humanitarian activities. Currently, Cuba’s Council of Churches has 44 denomination members. The Council has developed strong relations with overseas counterparts and taken part in the leadership board of the World Council of Churches.

The Communist Party and State of Cuba respect and guarantee citizen’s right to freedom of belief or religion: The constitution revised in 1992 prescribes the country as a secular state and provides for the separation of church and state. All religions in Cuba are equal before the law and the government does not officially favor any particular religion or church.

The IV Congress of the Cuban Communist Party in 1991 approved a resolution allowing religious people to be come members of the Communist Party. Many religious dignitaries have joint in the general election and a number of religious clergymen have been nominated for positions in the state administrative system.

Up to now, there’s no specific law on belief or religion. However, religion-related issues are prescribed in religion-related laws, such as building of religious facilities has to be complied with religion-related provisions of the law on construction; registration of a religious organization has to be in accordance with the association law…

According to policies of the State, religious groups are required to apply to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) for official recognition. The application procedure requires religious groups to identify the location of their activities and the source of their funding. The ministry must certify that the group is not duplicating the activities of another recognized group; if so, recognition is denied. Once the ministry grants official recognition, the religious group must request approval from the Office for Religious Affairs under the Communist Party Central Committee of Cuba in order to conduct religion-related activities, such as organization of religious festivals or events; receiving foreign visitors; importing religious literature; conduct religious services in public, and constructing, repairing, or expanding churches and temples.

The Office for Religious Affairs under the Communist Party Central Committee of Cuba was established in 1985. The Office has functions to carry out resolutions of the Communist Party Central Committee on religion; to institutionalize Party’s resolutions into laws; to supervise the implementation of laws on religion; to serve as a bridge between Cuban State and religious organizations…

Cuban State regards the conferment, ordaiment and training of religious dignitaries (including Vatican’s appointment of Bishops in the Cuban Catholic Church) as internal affairs of religious organizations. Religious clergymen overseas are allowed to stay in Cuba for religious purposes for a period of up to two years.

On education and health service, as Cuban State provides education and health care free of charge for all people, religious organizations are only allowed to operate education and health service within the religious organizations, and to participate in vocational training schools and community centers for taking care of the poor, elderly or disabled…

For Catholic Church specifically, the relation between Cuban State and the Vatican was established in 1935. After the revolution in 1959, the Vatican withdrew its ambassador from Cuba but kept its representative in Cuba until 1983 (Cuba maintained its ambassadors in the Vatican throughout the period). Currently, the Vatican has its embassy in La Havana and Cuban State attaches its importance to the relation with the Vatican. The establishment of relation between the Holy See and Cuban State brought advantages for both sides, contributing to handle Catholic-relation issues and coordinate in promotion of humanitarian activities. The State of Cuba highly appreciates Vatican’s support in urging the U.S. to end trade embargo against Cuba. Practically, Pope John Paul II made a historic visit to the country in January 1998 and Pope Benedict XVI attended holy mass in Cuban cities in Match 2012. 

  Currently, the Cuban Government recognizes the need to consolidate and strengthen the national unity based on religious diversity, encourages religions to accompany and stay closely attached to the nation, and make active contributions to the development of the country./.

Phương Hoa-Tri An

Some information on religion and state policy on religion in CubaThere is no authoritative statistic number of religious groups. There’s an estimate that 60 to 70 percent of the population is Catholic. Currently, the Cuban Catholic Church has three archdioceses, 11 dioceses, 01 Cardinal, 15 Bishops with one Bishop coming
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