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Pope condemns sexual exploitation, organ trafficking

Catholic World News - April 23, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI strongly condemned sexual exploitation and the trafficking in human organs, in a message to the 7th world congress on pastoral care for tourists.

The papal message affirmed the value of tourism as a “privilege occasion for physical and spiritual renewal.” He said that travel opens horizons, and “admiring the beauty of peoples, cultures and nature, can lead to God and be the occasion of an experience of faith.” The Pope underlined the value of the “way of beauty” as a path to intimacy with God, and said that tourism at its best can promote a healthy spiritual life.

However, the Pope cautioned that “tourism, like every human reality, is not exempt from dangers or negative dimensions.” He singled out a few obvious dangers that “must be dealt with urgently since they trample upon the rights of millions of men and women, especially among the poor, minors, and handicapped.”

First the Pontiff denounced sexual tourism as “one of the most abject of these deviations,” noting how the practice is ruinous “morally, psychologically, and physically” not only for the individuals involved but sometimes for entire communities.

Next the Pope condemned “trafficking of human beings for sexual exploitation or organ harvesting as well as the exploitation of minors.” Too often, he said, these gross abuses are associated with tourist activity. Anyone involved in pastoral care for tourists should be alert for these abuses and ready to oppose them, the Pope said.

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