Pope Benedict in Benin for 2nd Africa Visit

Posted November 18th, 2011 at 11:10 am (UTC-5)
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Pope Benedict is in Benin to outline the Catholic church's plans for Africa, home to the world's fastest-growing Roman Catholic population.

The 84-year-old pontiff arrived in the economic capital of Cotonou on Friday for his second visit to the continent. After greeting citizens in his “pope-mobile,” Benedict will meet with church leaders at the city's cathedral.

In a country widely known as the center of the voodoo tradition, Benin's Catholic population has surged to 30 percent in recent years.

During his trip, Pope Benedict is expected to sign a document urging peace, justice and reconciliation throughout Africa. Officials say the document will be based on recommendations by African church leaders who studied the continent's challenges — including conflict, poverty and corruption.

The pontiff's 2009 trip to Cameroon and Angola, his first to the continent, was overshadowed by his controversial remarks about condoms.

Pope Benedict said he was opposed to the use of condoms as a way of preventing AIDS, saying it will only make the problem worse. The pope said teaching abstinence and fidelity is the only way to combat the disease.

Health officials and activists blasted the remarks as unrealistic and unscientific.