Pontiff urges youths to resist 'snares of evil'



SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) -- Pope Benedict XVI urged tens of thousands of young Catholics packing a soccer stadium Thursday to resist the temptations of wealth, power and other "snares of evil," and told them to promote life from "its beginning to natural end."
The references to church prohibitions against abortion and euthanasia came in Benedict's first major speech since arriving in Brazil, the world's largest Catholic country, on his first pilgrimage to Latin America.
While he made no mention of the church's battle against Brazil's free distribution on condoms to combat AIDS, he touched on sexual themes with a call for fidelity between spouses and chastity "both within and outside marriage" -- church language for responsible sex.
"Seek to resist forcefully the snares of evil that are found in many contexts," Benedict told the crowd of some 40,000, with thousands more camped outside the stadium.
Important message
His warnings against drug use, violence, corruption and the temptations of wealth and power were sure to sound across the region, while his condemnation of the "devastation of the environment of the Amazon Basin" was particularly important in Brazil, where Catholic activists have been working with the landless -- at times at odds with the Vatican.
Before the pope arrived at the stadium, a man clad in a white robe took the stage and asked people in the crowd to stand and raise their right hands. "Yes to life!" the man shouted, and the crowd repeated, "No to abortion!"
Traditional Brazilian dancers entertained the 80-year-old pope, who was wearing a red cape against the evening chill. At one point, five young people came up to the stage and hugged the pontiff.
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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