Page last updated at 07:15 GMT, Friday, 18 July 2008 08:15 UK

Pope urges unity against terror

Pope Benedict XVI calls for all religions to unite against terror

Pope Benedict XVI has called for all religions to unite against terrorism and resolve conflicts peacefully.

The Pope was speaking after meeting leaders from other religions, including rabbis and Muslim clerics, in Australia for the Catholic World Youth Day.

He has not yet made a public apology, as he is expected to, to victims of sexual abuse by priests.

After he spoke, there were recreations around the city of the last days of Christ, including his crucifixion.

"In a world threatened by sinister and indiscriminate forms of violence, the unified voice of religious people urges nations and communities to resolve conflict through peaceful means and with full regard for human dignity," the Pope told the inter-religious gathering.

He also said the Catholic Church was ready to learn from other religions.

"The Church eagerly seeks opportunities to listen to the spiritual experience of other religions."

Relations with Muslims took a turn for the worse in 2006 when Pope Benedict quoted a 14th-Century Byzantine emperor in remarks that were taken by some Muslims to imply that Islam was a violent religion.

Abuse scandal

The Pope earlier met with leaders of other Christian denominations, where he called on them to fight for unity within the Christian faith.

"I think you would agree that the ecumenical movement has reached a critical juncture," he said at the meeting in Sydney's St Mary's Cathedral.

The boat carrying the Pope passes under the Sydney Harbour bridge

"We must guard against the temptation to view doctrine as divisive and hence an impediment to the seemingly more pressing and immediate task of improving the world in which we live."

He spoke as bishops from the worldwide Anglican communion gathered in England amid splits between liberal and conservative elements over the role of gays and women in the Church.

After the two meetings, there was public spectacle as the last days of Christ, including his crucifixion, were re-enacted in the stations of the cross in various locations around Sydney.

But there has not been any public apology - as has been expected - for victims of the paedophile sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the church.

In Australia there have been 107 convictions against priests for sexual abuse of children and other members of the Church, says the BBC's Nick Bryant in Sydney.

Pope Benedict XVI criticises the world's "insatiable consumption"

The Pope received a rapturous welcome from about 200,000 young Catholic pilgrims on Thursday as he arrived in Sydney for the beginning of the six-day youth festival.

Addressing tens of thousands of young Catholics, he attacked popular culture and consumerism.

The pontiff also warned that natural resources were being squandered and called for greater protection of the environment for future generations.

He will stay in Australia until Sunday, when he is to preside over an open-air Mass at Sydney's Randwick Racecourse before hundreds of thousands of pilgrims.

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