... since the beginning she has been very much present in the personal lives of Cubans as well as in the great events of the nation ... for she is honoured by all as the true mother of the Cuban people. Devotion to the "Virgen Mambisa" has sustained the faith and inspired the defence and promotion of all that gives dignity to the human condition and fundamental rights, and it continues to do so today with ever greater strength, giving visible witness to the fruitfulness of the preaching of the Gospel in these lands, and to the profound Christian roots which shape the deepest identity of the Cuban soul. Following in the footsteps of countless pilgrims down the centuries, I too wish to go to El Cobre to kneel at the feet of the Mother of God, to thank her for her concern for all her Cuban children, and to ask her to guide the future of this beloved nation in the ways of justice, peace, freedom and reconciliation ...Note that Benedict XVI confesses to the desire not only to go to the idol at El Cobre, but also to assume a posture of worship, namely that of kneeling. He advocates religious devotion to the idol. Moreover, he also, again, confesses to a desire to attempt to communicate with her including not just a request for guidance, but also thanks - something that cannot reasonably be interpreted as a request for her to pray.