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Rome Reports

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Pope: Large families don't cause poverty

A wave of cheers welcomed Pope Francis as he walked into the Vatican's Paul VI Hall to lead his weekly general audience.  He reflected on his recent trip to Sri Lanka and the Philippines, once again highlighting the importance of family. Following his controversial remarks about Catholics and large families, he had this to say to follow up.  POPE FRANCIS "I've been hearing some people say that large families and high birth rates are among the causes of poverty. I think that's a very simplistic view. The root cause of poverty, is an economic system that has removed people from its focal point. A system that idolizes money instead.â? He then added that corruption was one of the main themes he talked about when he addressed different leaders in his trip.  POPE FRANCIS "Caring for the poor is essential. It involves the rejection of all corruption, because corruption ultimately  steals from the needy. We need a culture of honesty.â?  One of the things that struck him most, he said, is that in the Philippines, a child is described as a 'gift from God.'  The Pope condemned using religion as a tool for violence. He then asked pilgrims to pray for victims of violent attacks that have taken place in the African country of Niger. The country's violent protests erupted on Friday,  triggered over cartoons of Mohammad, published by French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. POPE FRANCIS "You can't wage war in the name of God. I hope a wave of mutual and peaceful respect can be established, for the good of all.â?  At least 10 people have been killed and 45 parishes destroyed in these violent protests in Niger.  JRB/KLH  CTV SV -BN up:JRB #Pope