Vatican calls for more access to Cuban mass media

Havana, Cuba - The Vatican on Saturday called on the government of Cuba to allow the Catholic Church greater access to mass media in the communist country. "Our wish is for the Cuban church to have a more normal access to mass communication media," Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, who heads the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Social Communications said on a visit to Havana.

"I believe the Cuban people are Christian and Catholic in the majority and I believe they would like to see and hear on the radio and on television their pastors," Celli said.

The mass media in Cuba is state controlled.

Celli, who earlier met with Deputy Communication Minister Ramon Luis Linares for talks, which he said had been of a "cordial and respectful" nature, said he hoped for a positive outcome.

Until now, the question of faith and the church in media has not been raised. Celli said he had been received by Pope Benedict XVI before his trip. Benedict, the archbishop said, was following closely the interests of the church in Cuba. He also said he hoped the pontiff could in future take up the invitation of President Raul Castro to visit Cuba.