Santeria priests unimpressed with papal visit.
The Afro-Cuban Santeria religion may owe much to Roman Catholicism, but many Santeros are decidedly unenthusiastic about Pope Benedict XVI's tour of Cuba, Fox News reported Mar. 5.
Santero priests still remember the last time a pontiff came to town--and flatly refused to meet with them. They are expecting no better treatment this time, and some are openly disappointed.
Their religion is by far the most popular in Cuba, with adherents outnumbering practicing Catholics 8-1. Yet as far as the Catholic Church is concerned, "we live in the basement, where nobody sees us," said Lazaro Cuesta, a Santero high priest with a strong grip and a penetrating gaze.
"We have already seen one pope visit," he said, "and at no moment did he see fit to talk to us."
Cuesta's bitterness stems from what many Santeria leaders see as an unforgivable snub by Pope John Paul II during his historic 1998 tour.