Pope to Angolans: Convert Witchcraft Believers

By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 21, 2009 8:47 AM CDT
Pope Benedict XVI in his vehicle waves to the crowd as he drives through the streets of Luanda after conducting a Holy mass at the Sao Paulo Church in Luanda, Angola, Saturday March 21, 2009.   (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
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(Newser) – The Pope urged Catholics in Angola to reach out and convert witchcraft believers frightened by “evil powers,” the AP reports. “In today's Angola, Catholics should offer the message of Christ to the many who live in the fear of spirits,” a fear that can lead them to “condemn street children and even the most elderly because—they say—they are sorcerers.”

Benedict XVI said Catholics, who make up 65% of the population in Angola, should “live peacefully” alongside animists and other nonbelievers. The pope received an enthusiastic reception in the country, as throngs chanted and swayed to hymns, young girls prostrated themselves before him in a sea of pink veils, and many women wore cloth printed with his photograph. Earlier, he made a televised call for an end to corruption in Africa, the BBC reports. “The time of hope has arrived" for the continent, and every "decent, hopeful human behavior” counts, he said.