April 23, 2012

Pope Benedict called for continued efforts to rid the world of land mines so that people could be free to walk the earth without fear of injury or death.

"I encourage all those who are working to free humanity from these terrible and insidious devices," the pope said, as he expressed his closeness to all victims and their families.

The pope made his appeal at the end of his general audience talk April 4 as he recalled the UN International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, celebrated the same day.

Pope Benedict said land mines keep people from "being able to walk together on the paths of life without fearing the threat of destruction and death."

About 72 countries in the world are thought to be riddled with land mines.