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Monday, December 19, 2005

French riots expression of exclusion, Pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – While the violence that struck France in November must be condemned, the riots were an expression of the frustration felt by young people who feel excluded economically and socially, Pope Benedict XVI said.

Welcoming Bernard Kessedjian, France's new ambassador to the Vatican, Pope Benedict said the influx of immigrants to France after World War II helped fuel the country's economic and social development.

"It is important today to thank them and their descendants for the economic, cultural and social riches they helped create," the pope said in his Dec. 19 talk to the ambassador.

The riots that struck the outskirts of Paris and other French cities in November were carried out mainly by poor youths who are the children of immigrants.

Pope Benedict told the ambassador that "the challenge today consists in living the values of equality and fraternity" espoused by the country, ensuring that all citizens feel they are accepted members of society and enjoy equal opportunities.

  • Copyright (c) 2005 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

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