, VATICAN CITY, Apr 29 – Pope Benedict XVI urged African bishops in a meeting at the Vatican Thursday to preach against polygamy and divorce, as the Catholic Church remains mired in paedophile priest scandals.
"In an environment affected by divorce and polygamy, you should promote the unity and well-being of the Christian family, founded on the sacrament of marriage", Benedict said to bishops from Liberia, Gambia and Sierra Leone.
"The initiatives and associations dedicated to the sanctification of this fundamental community deserve your full support", he said in his address, released in a statement by the Vatican.
The pope, who remains under fire for the child sexual abuse revelations rocking the Church, also asked African bishops to be "attentive to the training of priests, who are bishops\’ closest collaborators".
The number of Catholics in Africa has increased by 33 percent between 2000 and 2008, according to statistics released by the Vatican Tuesday.
The 173 million Catholics in Africa account for some 17.77 percent of the continent\’s population.