Fight witchcraft, Pope urges bishops
Vatican City - Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday urged African bishops to fight the influence of witchcraft, followed by some, but incompatible with the teachings of Christ, a Vatican statement said.
"The heart of the baptised is sometimes shared between Christianity and traditional African religions," the pope said in a meeting with visiting bishops from Angola.
"Afflicted by existential problems, we don't hesitate to resort to practices that are incompatible with the path of Christ," he added.
"The abominable effects are the marginalisation and even the murder of children and the elderly [who are] condemned by the false precepts of witchcraft," he said.
Speaking in Portuguese, he urged the visiting bishops to "raise their voices in favour of the victims" of witchcraft.
Roughly 55% of Angolans are Catholics, while 25% adhere to traditional beliefs. Local media have reported numerous cases of human sacrifice, sometimes involving children, linked to witchdoctors.
The pope met the Angolan bishops ahead of his second trip to Africa, set for November 18 to visit in Benin.