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Pope leads pep rally at Vatican, meets with Merkel



VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis lamented that investment losses by banks trigger more alarm in the economic crisis than the struggle of people to feed their families, as he led a huge rally Saturday to invigorate the church's moral conscience, hours after he held talks at the Vatican about the economic crisis with Germany's leader.

Some 200,000 people, from Europe, Asia and the pope's native South America, filled St. Peter's Square and nearby streets to join Francis in hours of prayer, music and speeches aimed at encouraging Catholics to strengthen their faith and making morality play a greater role in everyday life.

"If investments, the banks plunge, this is a tragedy, if families are hurting, if they have nothing to eat, well, this is nothing, this is our crisis today," Francis told the crowd, insisting that the true crisis is one of morale values.

Francis said his church "opposes this mentality" and pledged that it will be dedicated to "the poor people." ...more



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