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Pope Criticizes Western Intervention in Afghanistan

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“Whenever a pope is ill,” he said, “there is always a breeze or a hurricane of conclave.”

Francis also commented on some of the latest turmoil within the church.

He defended the church’s handling of clerical abuse of minors, saying “there have been very clear steps taken on this,” including establishing a commission for the protection of minors and a global meeting at the Vatican to better confront an issue that is wearing away trust in the institution.

He addressed a more current scandal, a corruption trial that began in July involving a real estate venture in London. Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, once one of the Vatican’s highest-ranking prelates, is among those charged. He has denied the accusations.

Corruption must be battled, the pope said, “but it is an old story.” He added that the recent restructuring of the Vatican’s justice system would help root out wrongdoing, as had happened in the London real estate case, which began with an in-house complaint.

“In addition to the presumption of innocence,” Francis said of Cardinal Becciu, “I want everything to turn out well.”

Francis also touched on some of the cornerstones of his papacy, among them the need to better integrate the hundreds of thousands of migrants who have been forced to leave their countries because of war, poverty and, increasingly, climate change.

“With regard to migrants, four attitudes: welcome, protect, promote and integrate,” he said, adding that the migration crisis had to be addressed as a global issue and not by individual countries.

Emma Bubola contributed reporting.

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