Pope repeats antiabortion stance

But he says nothing of excommunicating politicians who support abortion rights.

Published May 11, 2007

SAO PAULO, Brazil - Pope Benedict XVI reaffirmed the Roman Catholic Church's opposition to abortion in his first speech in Brazil but avoided further suggestion that politicians who support abortion rights should be considered excommunicated.

Benedict is on his first papal trip to Latin America, where women's rights groups have been pushing to expand access to abortion. With few exceptions, the procedure is illegal in Brazil and most other countries in the region, home to more than half the world's 1.1-billion Catholics.

The pope, who will inaugurate an important regional bishops' conference during his trip, said he's certain that the bishops will reinforce "the promotion of respect for life from the moment of conception until natural death as an integral requirement of human nature."

Benedict, who visited Brazil once before in 1990, will celebrate several open-air Masses beyond the one Thursday where he urged a crowd of about 40, 000 to resist the temptations of wealth, power and other "snares of evil."