Pope condemns sexual violence against women

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March 21, 2009 03:09

 
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Pope Benedict XVI, welcomed to this sweltering capital by the biggest crowds of his African pilgrimage, has condemned sexual violence against women in Africa and chided those countries on the continent that have approved abortion. Benedict arrived in Luanda on Friday on the second leg of his African tour, with tens of thousands pouring into the streets along his motorcade route, honking car horns and slowing traffic to a crawl. Many of the faithful wore white T-shirts emblazoned with the pope's picture and "Welcome to our land" written in Portuguese. "Particularly disturbing is the crushing yoke of discrimination that women and girls so often endure, not to mention the unspeakable practice of sexual violence and exploitation which causes such humiliation and trauma," Benedict told an audience of government leaders and foreign diplomats in the late afternoon. He also criticized what he called the "irony of those who promote abortion as a form of 'maternal' health care." The pope was referring to an African Union agreement signed by Angola and 44 other countries that abortion should be legal in cases of rape, incest or when the mother's life is endangered.

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