Pope urges ‘freedom’ for church on Cuba visit

Havana: Pope Francis, on his first visit to Cuba, has called for church in the island nation to have “the freedom and the means” to pursue its mission.

He also hailed improving ties between the US and Cuba – former Cold War foes – as “an example of reconciliation for the whole world”, BBC reported.

Pope Francis – the first pontiff to hail from Latin America – is credited with helping the recent thaw in diplomatic relations between Cuba and the US.

Pope Francis urged support for Cuba’s Catholics “so that the church can continue to support and encourage the Cuban people in its hopes and concerns with the freedom, the means and the space needed to bring the proclamation of the kingdom to the existential peripheries of society”.

He also called on Cuba and the US to “persevere on the path” of detente.

He will spend four days in Cuba before flying to the US. He will be visiting the US for the first time since his election to the papacy.