Such a climate also would raise Cuba's profile internationally, allowing the world "to open to Cuba and Cuba to the world," John Paul said, echoing his remarks in Havana at the start of his historic visit to the communist island in January 1998.
A major Roman Catholic conference opened in Cuba this week, with the Vatican's foreign minister, Archbishop Jean Louis Tauran, speaking of the attraction of democracy.
John Paul also is scheduled to meet with Cuba's foreign minister at the Vatican next week.
After nearly 40 years of tense church-state relations since Cuba's 1959 revolution, ties have improved significantly in recent years, especially since John Paul's visit to the island.
But the church continues to press for greater access to mass media, less government pressure on political dissidents and a tougher policy on abortion, which is common in Cuba.
In his remarks to Ambassador Isidro Gomez Santos, John Paul said Cuban society can benefit from "a climate of detente and trust in which fundamental human rights are safeguarded for believers and nonbelievers."
© Copyright 1999 The Associated Press