The Catholic News Agency (CNA), in an online news story article posted by Alejandro Bermudez on Saturday, March 31, 2012, stated that, in response to a specific request made personally to Cuban President Raul Castro by Pope Benedict XVI, during his Apostolic Visitation of Leon, Mexico and the island in March of 2012, following the pattern of small advances in Church-Cuban relations, it was decreed by the Communist Party and Castro and his advisers that in 2012, Good Friday would be made a holiday, with a possibility that the move could perhaps be made permanent (following the move of the late Pope John Paul II, who got Fidel Castro to declare Christmas Day a holiday—which is still the case—due to a personal request during his landmark trip in 1998).
My two cents
Hooray for Cuba; historically atheist, yet more Christian than the US when it comes to recognising Good Friday as a holy day throughout the land. I guess the next step is for militant atheists to beseech Raul Castro to stop it.
I suppose this is one time when Catholics trump Protestants in Christianising the world; Catholics can send the Pope, but divided Protestants couldn’t agree on who to send, and Castro probably wouldn’t listen to him either.
The Pope seems to have some success in making requests to authorities of other countries when he visits them; I remember that time he came to America, and he succeeded in having a death row inmate pardoned. I wonder if an (pre-infallible?) Pope from 500 years ago would have done the same thing though.
Anyway, the more important point is this quote by Bart Simpson: “Christmas is a time when people of all religions come together to worship Jesus Christ”. Slowly, Good Friday can be added to the list as well.
Wikimedia Foundation. (2012). Good Friday. Available: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Friday. Last accessed 5th Apr 2012.