Pope Benedict appeals for an end to child abuse in all its forms

By Phil Stewart

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict said on Thursday he hoped Christmas would bring hope to those suffering from war, terrorism, injustice and poverty and appealed for peace in the Holy Land.

Pope Benedict led the world's 1.1 billion Roman Catholics into Christmas at a midnight mass in which he appealed for an end to child abuse in all its forms.

"Let us think of those street children who do not have the blessing of a family home," he said.

"Let us think of those children who are victims of the industry of pornography and every other appalling form of abuse, and thus are traumatized to the depths of their soul."

Benedict said Catholics had to "do everything in our power to put an end to the suffering of these children."

In the past year the Pope has repeatedly addressed the issue of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy, but did not raise it in his Christmas homily.

Benedict apologized for sexual abuse of minors by clergy and met victims during a July trip to Australia. He also met victims in the United States in April.

Source: The Times
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