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Last Updated: Saturday, 23 April, 2005, 11:37 GMT 12:37 UK
Pope thanks media for coverage
A giant screen installed in St Peter's Square in the Vatican shows Pope Benedict XVI"s audience with international press and pilgrims
Pope Benedict says he will maintain a fruitful dialogue with the media
Pope Benedict XVI has thanked journalists for their coverage of the "historic" papal transition.

Speaking to a large gathering of journalists and pilgrims, the Pope said media coverage had allowed Catholics worldwide to experience the events.

Modern communication methods, he said, could reach out to all humanity and act as an instrument of peace.

The hundreds-strong audience at the Vatican broke into applause during his address and some chanted his name.

Addressing the journalists he said that humanity had witnessed an extraordinary change in the reach of the media which could not be ignored.

He said his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, had recognised the value and potential of the media and that he hoped to continue the dialogue and seek its collaboration.


"I hope to follow this dialogue with you and I share, as Pope John Paul II observed concerning the faith, the development of social communications," the pontiff told the audience of more than 1,000 people.

His message was watched from vast screens that have been erected in St Peter's Square in preparation for his inaugural Mass on Sunday.

During the mass, Pope Benedict will receive the insignia of his office including the Fisherman's Ring made with the image of Saint Peter, the Church's first Pope.

The Vatican is expecting at least 500,000 pilgrims and authorities are bringing German-speaking volunteers from northern Italy to help control the crowds, likely to include many from the Pope's homeland.

Some 140 international leaders and 36 heads of state, including German President Horst Koehler and Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, are among those who have been invited to the mass.

Religious leaders - including the Anglican Dr Rowan Williams, only the second Archbishop of Canterbury to attend such a ceremony - will also be present.

Watch Pope Benedict XVI hold an audience with the media


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