It is one of those things that just make you scratch your head: The Vatican continues its refusal to commit to a meeting with Cuban dissidents due to the Pope’s incredibly busy schedule and time constraints. However, the very busy Vatican, which cannot seem to find the time to meet with the Ladies in White who are attacked and repressed every week when they try to attend mass, does have time to bid an official farewell to the pet crocodile given to the pope as a gift by the Castro dictatorship.
‘Pope’s crocodile’ gets papal send-off to Cuba
ROME—Pope Benedict XVI only knew him for a short time, but the brief encounter was enough to earn a special papal farewell as the esteemed guest prepared to return home — to a swamp in Cuba.
Which would be odd, if the guest in question weren’t a baby crocodile that had a special audience with the pope in January.
A top Vatican cleric presided over a ceremony in Rome’s zoo Wednesday to bid farewell to the baby crocodile, dubbed Il Coccodrillo del Papa (“The Pope’s Crocodile”).
The reptile is being returned to its natural habitat in Cuba later this month —a journey coinciding with the pontiff’s own visit to the island nation scheduled for March 26.
The initiative symbolizes “respect for nature and friendship between nations,” Vatican Substitute for General Affairs Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu said during the ceremony, which was also attended by Cuba’s ambassador to the Holy See, Eduardo Delgado.
Before taking up his current post of Vatican chief of staff, Becciu served as the Vatican’s ambassador to Havana.