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Catholics demonstrate against the Vatican

More than 1,000 Catholics have demonstrated in the central Swiss city of Lucerne against the pope's conservative policies.

The protest was prompted in part by Benedict XVI's rehabilitation of four traditionalist bishops, including a British prelate who is a Holocaust denier.

Also criticised were the Catholic Church's attitudes towards sexuality and women.

However, protestors said that people should not leave the Church out of frustration. According to recent media reports, enquiries about this have increased.

The pope lifted the excommunication of the four members of the dissident Society of Saint Pius X at the end of January.

It was then revealed that one of them, Richard Williamson, had made statements denying the full extent of the Nazi holocaust. The Vatican responded that it had not known about Williamson's views beforehand.

The issue was also discussed at the two-day assembly of the Swiss Bishops Conference in Chur last week. Bishops said that the attempts at reconciliation had been "badly handled" by the Vatican.

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