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Pope urges anti-austerity protesters during weekly blessing to seek dialogue, not violence

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    Pope Francis, framed by a Christmas tree, delivers his message to the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square for the Angelus prayer, at the Vatican, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013. Francis urged anti-austerity protesters who attended his weekly Angelus blessing to use dialogue and not violence to press their demands. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)The Associated Press

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    Pope Francis, framed by a Christmas tree, delivers his message to faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square during the Angelus prayer, at the Vatican, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)The Associated Press

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    In this picture provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis is framed by a Christmas tree as he visits a ward at the Bambino Gesu' pediatric hospital, in Rome, Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013. Francis spent three hours visiting patients and their families and is the fifth pontiff to visit the hospital, which is controlled by the Vatican's secretary of state. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, ho)The Associated Press

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    Pope Francis delivers his blessing to the faithful from his studio window overlooking St. Peter's Square during the Angelus prayer, at the Vatican, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)The Associated Press

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    Pope Francis delivers his blessing to the faithful from his studio window overlooking St. Peter's Square during the Angelus prayer, at the Vatican, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)The Associated Press

Pope Francis urged anti-austerity protesters who attended his weekly Angelus blessing to use dialogue and not violence to press their demands.

Addressing a group of protesters among the pilgrims gathered Sunday in St. Peter's Square, the pope appealed for "a constructive contribution, rejecting the temptation for conflict and violence and following always the path of dialogue."

The pope read aloud one of their banners: "The poor cannot wait." He urged everyone from charities to Italian authorities "to do everything possible so that every family can have a house" this holiday season.

Protests aimed at impressing upon Italian leaders the pain inflicted on ordinary people by the country's economic crisis have been under way across the country for two weeks. Some of them have erupted into violence.