Pope Benedict in unprecedented question and answer session

CNS photo

Pope Benedict took questions from a child in Japan, a Muslim woman in Ivory Coast and a mother caring for a son in a permanent coma in his first televised dialogue with the public, broadcast on Good Friday.

The German-born pontiff, like his Polish predecessor John Paul, has allowed rare televised interviews with journalists but his direct contact with the general public marked a new step for the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.

While the interaction was heavily controlled by Vatican officials, the broadcast represented an attempt to freshen the image of the Church by the pope, who Thursday lamented the decline of Christian faith in the western world.

NCR Senior Correspondent John Allen comments on the broadcast

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