Cubans mark Good Friday as official holiday

Published April 6, 2012 5:45PM (EDT)

HAVANA (AP) — Good Friday is an official holiday in Cuba for the first time in a half century, but few Catholics on the island seem to be using the day off to attend Mass.

Cuba's Communist government declared the holiday to honor a request that Pope Benedict XVI made during last week's visit. But only a few more worshippers than usual were noted inside Havana's Catholic churches on Friday.

Authorities are also allowing Cardinal Jaime Ortega's to transmit a Good Friday message on state television.

Cuba is considered among the least Catholic countries in the Western Hemisphere, with practicing Catholics accounting for less than 10 percent of the population. The country has large numbers of adherents to Santeria and evangelical Christianity.

By Salon Staff

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