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Pope condemns torture and calls it a mortal sin

As crowds welcome Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square he highlights the issue of torture -- calling for its abolition. (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) POPE FRANCIS SAYING: "Dear Brothers and Sisters, the 26th of June is designated as the United Nations Day for the Victims of Torture. In this circumstance, I reiterate the firm condemnation of all forms of torture and call for Christians to commit themselves to cooperate towards its abolition and support victims and their families. To torture a person is a mortal sin; it is a very serious sin." Earlier this week the Vatican said the Pope would hold no general audiences during the month of July. It noted he had also cut back on such audiences in both July and August last summer in order to rest, The pope is due to visit South Korea from Aug. 13-18 to take part in a gathering of Catholic Youth from all of Asia and hold a mass for peace and reconciliation on the divided Korean peninsula.

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