Pope gives first Sunday sermon since wrist mishap


June 18, 2010 Updated Jul 19, 2009 at 10:11 AM EDT

Pope Benedict XVI urged the unemployed not to lose hope in the midst of the global economic downturn, in his first Sunday sermon since breaking a wrist.

The leader of the Roman Catholic Church smiled and looked at ease as he acknowledged worshippers near his holiday home in the north of Italy with raised arms, then blessed them with his cast-enclosed right hand.

"I know that here, too, in the Ivera region, many families are facing economic hard times due to a lack of work," he said, alluding to the now-defunct Olivetti typewriter manufacturer that was founded in the area.

"Dear friend, do not be discouraged," he added.

"Providence always helps those who do the right thing and seek justice; it also helps those who think not only of themselves, but also think of those in worse situations than their own."

The German-born pope had two metal pins inserted into his broken wrist in what doctors called a "routine" operation under local anaesthetic in hospital on Friday, after he slipped and fell in his bedroom during the night.

One of his close aides, Federico Lombardi, told AFP on Saturday that, due to the cast, the pontiff is bemoaning the inability to write and to clasp his hands in prayer.

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