Hallelujah, it''s a miracle!
Actually, it is not.
Raul Castro, despite being a slightly comic octogenarian, is still a dictator like his surprisingly resilient brother was.
For dictators, the old maxim about dictatos trying to stay alive and in power holds. Raul Castro is no exception.
Cuba, or THE Cuba of Fidel Castro is disappearing. Not as fast as everyone predicted in the early 1990ies but disappearing nevertheless. It started with the inflow of non-US capital and development of mass tourism catering primarily to Europeans, and the recent thaw in the US-Cuba relations is the final nail in the coffin.
Trade restrictions and bans are removed on a daily basis, while even the government propaganda acknowledges the need for an economic change. This is the same talk Gorbachev tried in the USSR - conceding that economic change is necessary, while political structures should stay in place. Didn't work then, won't work now.
This means that the crumbling regime will collapse no later than Raul or Fidel's death. They are not stupid and are every aware of that.
So that's why Raul has started his final PR campaign (Obama handshake, Pope meeting) - he is trying to salvage something for the future, by exploiting the traditional strong left stance of the Catholic Church lower ranks in Latin America from which the Pope hails.
By suddenly reimbracing religion, he is trying to create a new, separate socialist-catholic Cuban identity, more aligned with other South American populist movements. You know, the "Jesus was the first revolutionary" talk.
He hopes that vestiges of this new identity, fused with the la revolucion mythology will survive the US-exiled Cuban economic tsumami that is/will completely overhaul(ing) the country.
Nothing new here, this strategy was employed by Roman landlords more that 1500 years ago - change the domain to the spiritual to save what can be saved, in the Roman case lands and wealth of the equestrian classes reinvented as the clergy of the new barbaric states.