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  Friday, April 10, 2020
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Pope Benedict XVI has returned to Rome after a six-day visit
Pope Benedict XVI has returned to Rome after a six-day visit to the United States during which he addressed thousands of Catholics at a stadium Mass and led prayers at Ground Zero in New York.

While praying at the site of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks at a ceremony attended by relatives of the victims, he blessed the ground with holy water and said: "God of peace, bring your peace to our violent world... Turn to your way of love those whose hearts and minds are consumed with hatred."

Last Wednesday, Benedict, 81, became the first pope to be admitted to the White House since 1979. After meeting with President George W. Bush, a joint statement was issued on humane treatment for immigrants, family values, and opposition to abortions.

Around 57,000 people attended his Mass at the Yankee Stadium in New York on Sunday, at which Benedict again voiced opposition to abortions, calling for "respect for the inalienable dignity and rights of each man, woman and child in our world - including the most defenseless of all human beings, the unborn child in the mother's womb"

Another major theme of Benedict's visit was the Roman Catholic Church's child sex abuse scandal in the United States. A report released in 2002, commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, found accusations of child sex abuse against 4,392 Catholic priests from 1950 onwards.

The pope had told journalists on board the papal plane on April 15 that he was unable to understand how priests could "betray their mission... to give the love of God to these children," and said the church will "absolutely exclude pedophiles from the sacred ministry."


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