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Pope denounces abuses of Christians

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI urged Christians to remain strong in the face of intolerance and violence in a New Year's appeal that came several hours after a bomb blast outside an Egyptian church that killed at least 21 people as worshippers left Mass.
The pope condemned a widening campaign against Christians in the Middle East in his homily at St. Peter's Basilica, echoing comments last month in which he called a lack of religious freedom a threat to world security."In the face of the threatening tensions of the moment, especially in the face of discrimination, of abuse of power and religious intolerance that today particularly strikes Christians, I again direct a pressing invitation not to yield to discouragement and resignation," he said.
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