Pope praises Australia’s ‘courage’ for apologizing to Aborigines

SYDNEY, Australia — Pope Benedict XVI has praised the Australian government for its apology to the country’s indigenous Aborigines for past injustices.

Benedict made the remarks in a short speech Thursday in his first public appearance as part of the Roman Catholic Church’s youth festival in Australia, after meeting Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

He lauded the government’s “courageous decision to acknowledge the injustices committed against the indigenous peoples in the past,” which he said offered hope for people all over the world seeking justice and opportunity.

Rudd in February formally apologized to Aborigines as one of his first official acts as prime minister, and has made closing a huge gap in economic and health status between indigenous people and other Australians a priority of his government.(AP)(SunStar)

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