March 27 - In his first general audience at the Vatican, the Pope called for an end to violence in the Central African Republic. Malini Wilkes reports.
Thousands cheered for the new pope as he arrived in St. Peter's square for his first general audience. The 76-year-old pontiff rode through crowd in his open-air Popemobile Wednesday-- smiling, waving and stopping several times to kiss babies held up for his blessing. When he addressed the crowd, Pope Francis appealed for peace in the Central African Republic, where rebels ousted the president this week killing at least 13 South African soldiers. (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) POPE FRANCIS, SAYING: "I call for an immediate end to the violence and the looting and I make an appeal that a political solution to the crisis may be found as soon as possible so that peace and harmony can return to that dear country, which has been marked by conflict and division." He also had words of encouragement for Arab and Middle Eastern Catholics who are sometimes persecuted for their faith. (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) POPE FRANCIS, SAYING: "Dear Arab-speaking pilgrims and pilgrims from the Middle East. Don't be afraid to follow Jesus, crucified and resurrected, with courage, bringing to everyone the joy and light of your faith." With Easter approaching, Pope Francis urged all Catholics to reach out to those in need of comfort or a sympathetic ear.