Pope Benedict to Africans: Shun Destructive Market Forces

Posted November 18th, 2011 at 3:10 pm (UTC-5)
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Pope Benedict has urged Africans to shun what he called destructive market forces as the continent races toward modernization.

The pontiff arrived in Benin's commercial capital of Cotonou on Friday, where he was warmly greeted by thousands of people. Many displayed photos of the 84-year-old Roman Catholic Church leader and wept as he drove past in his “pope-mobile.”

During an address, Pope Benedict said transitioning from a traditional to modern society can be a very delicate process. He said there must not be an “unconditional surrender” to laws governing markets and finance.

He called for an end to tribalism and religious tension, and urged Africans to value the dignity of every person, family and life.

During the three-day trip, Pope Benedict is expected to outline the Catholic church's plans for Africa, home to the world's fastest-growing Roman Catholic population.

Despite Benin's strong voodoo tradition, the Catholic population in the small West African country 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.

This is the pontiff's second trip to Africa.

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