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VATICAN CITY (RNS) Closing a week-long visit to Africa on Monday (Mar. 23), Pope Benedict XVI urged citizens of war-ravaged Angola to work for “national reconciliation,” and reminded the country’s longstanding president of government’s duty to serve the “common good.”
“Never tire of promoting peace, making gestures of forgiveness and working for national reconciliation, so that violence may never prevail over dialogue,” Benedict told a gathering at the airport in Angola’s capital of Luanda, just before his departure for Rome.
Angola is still recovering from a 27-year civil war that ended in 2002.
Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who has held office since 1979, bid the pope farewell at the airport, saying that Angolans were grateful “for the love that they always receive from the Vatican that
gives us strength and helps us to promote democracy and justice.”
In his subsequent remarks, Benedict stressed that the “just realization of the fundamental aspirations of the most needy peoples should be the principal concern of those in public office, since their intention — I am sure — is to carry out the mission they have received not for themselves but for the sake of the common good.”
Despite vast natural wealth in petroleum and minerals, Angola has a reputation for high levels of public-sector corruption. According to the Germany-based Transparency International, Angola ranks 158 out of 180 countries in terms of its own people’s confidence in the honesty of public officials.
Corruption and reconciliation were major themes of Benedict’s Africa visit, which also took him to Cameroon, where he met with an international gathering of the continent’s Catholic bishops and a delegation of local Muslims.
By Francis X. Rocca
Religion News Service
Copyright 2009 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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