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HAVANA, Cuba — For years, the Catholic Church has been a quiet presence in Cuban affairs, working carefully to regain a place in a communist-run system that formerly persecuted religious believers. Church leaders have succeeded largely by attending to Cubans’ spiritual needs, not their earthly politics.
But that role has changed abruptly in recent weeks. A new dialogue has opened up between Catholic officials and the Castro government, elevating the church’s role in Cuban society and...