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Resist seduction of individualism, pope urges Uganda's Catholics

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI urged all Catholics, including priests, 'to resist the seduction of a materialistic culture of individualism, which has taken root in so many countries.' Meeting the bishops of Uganda March 5 at the end of their 'ad limina' visits to the Vatican, the pope also underlined how important it was for bishops to encourage the country's Catholics 'to appreciate fully the sacrament of marriage in its unity and indissolubility, and the sacred right to life.' The pope supported the bishops in calling for lasting peace in the country which for decades has suffered from violence and terror waged by the rebel Lord's Resistance Army in the northern part of the country. 'Continue to sustain all who with generous hearts assist displaced persons and orphans from war-torn areas,' said the pope. 'Encourage those who care for people afflicted by poverty, AIDS and other diseases, teaching them to see in those whom they serve the suffering face of Jesus.' Bishops need 'to be especially close to those who are more vulnerable to the advance of sects,' he said, and to helping them and their families stay faithful to the Catholic Church. Lay Catholics, especially those who are active in politics, media and culture, should deepen their faith and knowledge of church teaching, he said.