Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Mass for the largest gathering of his African pilgrimage Sunday, telling a crowd on the outskirts of this seaside capital that reconciliation on the war-ravaged continent would come only with a "change of heart, a new way of thinking."
The Vatican said as many as 1 million people turned out on the dusty field near a cement factory to hear the pope at the last major event of his seven-day trip, which began Tuesday in Cameroon.
Speaking from a tented pink altar, the pope said evils in Africa had "reduced the poor to slavery and deprived future generations of the resources needed to create a more solid and just society."
"How true it is that war can destroy everything of value," said Benedict, wearing a pink cape and mopping his sweaty brow with a white handkerchief kept inside his sleeve.
Later he was scheduled to meet with representatives of women's rights groups to praise the role of women in African society.