Fidel Castro will soon be on his knees. At least that’s the chatter in Rome, where the Italian press is reporting that Castro is preparing to be readmitted to the Roman Catholic Church when Pope Benedict XVI visits Cuba next month. Speculation over Fidel’s return to the fold went viral after La Repubblica and La Stampa, two of Italy’s most respected dailies, reported that after a career as a committed revolutionary atheist, the ailing octogenerian strongman had seen the light. Castro has lately “come closer to religion and to God,” his daughter, Alina Fernández, told La Repubblica.
The word swept the Christian media. Could the largest living icon of communism really be on the verge of penitence? Though long estranged from her revolutionary dad, Alina Fernández is a devout Catholic and frequent visitor to Rome where she enjoys close contact with the church hierarchy. A well placed source in the Vatican tells The Daily Beast that a private encounter between Castro and Benedict XVI is indeed in the works in which Fidel could receive the Pope’s blessing, although there was no guarantee of absolution or a confession. But the rest may be little more than holy smoke.