Africa can win the challenges – Pope
Vatican City - Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday urged Africans to "take the future in their hands" after returning from a visit to Benin, saying humanity as a whole would benefit from the "vitality" of Africa.
"My trip has left me with strong positive impressions. I have come back with my heart filled with grace," the pope said during an audience at the Vatican, adding that it was "an emotional experience of faith and coming together".
"With God's help, Africa can win the challenge of reconciliation, justice and peace," he said, addressing about 7 000 pilgrims.
Africans should "be sowers of hope in every human and ecclesiastical situation, and should take the future in their hands".
"Let us appreciate and support the richness of life and the reserves of vitality of this continent on which the Church and humanity can rely," he said.
The pope returned to the Vatican on Sunday after a three-day visit to Benin during which he presented the continent's Catholic Church as a source of hope at a time of waning faith in parts of the West.