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Pope welcomes Merkel, other world leaders

Tuesday, Mar 19, 2013 - 01:47

March 19 - Pope Francis' call for the church to defend the disadvantaged wins high praise from cardinals and was heard by world leaders, royalty and an audience of over 200,000 people. Deborah Gembara reports.

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His inaugural mass drew royalty from all over Europe Afterward, world leaders waited patiently in line to greet Pope Francis. They included Germany's Angela Merkel. Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and who's who of Latin America including Brazil's Dilma Roussef. Chile's Sebastian Pinera and of course Argentina's Cristina Fernandez. Addressing an audience of 200,000 people including some of the world's most powerful leaders, Pope Francis underscored the need to defend the poor and disadvantaged His homily was simple and straightforward -- a whole hour shorter than his predecessor. The man elected by his peers to lead the church's 1.2 billion members, earned high praise from many of the cardinals. (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) ITALIAN CARDINAL, GIUSEPPE VERSALDI, SAYING: "The serenity and simplicity of the pope's wise words gave us a lot of encouragement." SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. CARDINAL, EDWIN O'BRIEN, SAYING: "Well I think he's convinced us all of his love for the poor and for all of creation. It's a very pastoral approach to life and to the faith." In the six days since his election, the new pontiff has referred to himself only as Bishop of Rome. He's also hinted at plans to reduce the central focus on the Vatican and govern in consultation with other bishops.

Pope welcomes Merkel, other world leaders

Tuesday, Mar 19, 2013 - 01:47

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