Pope decries African wars at Mass for 1 million

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March 22, 2009 19:46

 
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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.

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