Pope Benedict pens prayer for Chinese Catholics

Pope Benedict XVI has written a special prayer for Chinese Catholics who face "daily trials" in the officially atheistic country, the Vatican said Friday. The prayer will be uttered across the world on May 24, a day the pope has dedicated to praying for the Chinese church, which has long had a difficult relationship with the country's communist authorities. The prayer - released in Chinese and six other languages - invokes the protection of the Virgin Mary and prominently mentions a shrine dedicated to her at Sheshan, in suburban Shanghai. Chinese authorities have tried to restrict access to the shrine during this year's annual May pilgrimages, apparently out of anxiety over large religious gatherings.