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Pope Benedict XVI greets children after his arrival at Tegel airport in Berlin (AP)

Pope Benedict XVI greets children after his arrival at Tegel airport in Berlin (AP)

Pope Benedict XVI greets children after his arrival at Tegel airport in Berlin (AP)

Pope Benedict yesterday urged people to remain in the Catholic Church as he began a state visit to Germany, where record numbers of worshippers have quit in protest over child sex abuse by priests.

A record 181,000 German Catholics officially left the Church last year.

The German-born pontiff said he understood why some people, especially abuse victims and their loved ones, felt “scandalised by these crimes”, but said the Church was working to right the wrongs.

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